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Google and Dell engaging in spyware-like practices

May 23rd, 2007
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Is Google and Dell engaging in deceptive, spyware-like practices?  OpenDNS think so .

The screenshot below shows what the Dell-branded Google search results page  looks like when you make a typo in your address bar. You can’t even see the search results in the picture (800×600 resolution) because the entire top of the page and right side are plastered with ads.


This page isn’t being shown to Dell owners just because they have the Google Toolbar. In fact, uninstalling the Google Toolbar won’t get rid of it. Dell and Google are now installing a second program on computers that intercepts all sorts of queries that the browser would normally try to resolve. This program has no clear name and is very hard to uninstall. In some circles, people would call this spyware .

Buried in the article is a description of how to remove this “feature”:

  • Go to the Windows Control Panel in XP or Programs and Features in Vista.
  • Find and remove a program called Browser Address Error Redirector (older versions are called GoogleAFE.
  • Job done!

I wouldn’t call doing this deceptive, but it certainly classifies as dodgy.

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