If you thought Google is the be all and end all of web search, well at least on the security side, Google is second only to AOL, according to a study by McAfee Site Advisor Group entitled “The State of Search Engine Safety”. The McAfee study was first conducted sometime a year ago examining the automated web site ratings of the top five search engines, AOL, Ask, Google, Yahoo and MSN.
Based on the results of the study wherein the first five pages of search results of the five search engines were examined against McAfee’s web safety devices to determine the percentages of safe search results as against those results which pose risks to users. The findings show that AOL gives out the safest search result, followed by Google, AOL and MSN. Yahoo was found to give out the highest risk search results.
Among the key findings of the McAfee study are:
- Overall, 4.0% of search results link to risky Web sites, which marks an improvement from 5.0% in May 2006. Dangerous sites are found in search results of all 5 of the top US search engines (representing 93% of all search engine use),
- The improvement in search engine safety is primarily due to safer sponsored results. The percentage of risky sites dropped from 8.5% in May 2006 to 6.9% in May 2007. However, sponsored results still contain 2.4 times as many risky sites as organic results,
- AOL returns the safest results: 2.9 % of results rated red1 or yellow2 by McAfee SiteAdvisor. At 5.4%, Yahoo! returns the most results rated red or yellow,
- Google, AOL, and Ask have become safer since May 2006, with Ask exhibiting the greatest improvement. The safety of search results on Yahoo! and MSN has declined.
So, would you entrust your web safety to Google and continue using its search engine despite being not too safe? Will you trade realibility over security?