A recent PC World article, “Google’s Binary Search Helps Identify Malware“, shed light on a little known feature of Google’s search engine the ability to search binary files. Google is enabling security vendors like Forcepoint to detect websites that deliver malware to Internet users. In particular, they’re looking for websites that are hosting malware in the form of .EXE files that exploit Internet Explorer and Windows security holes.
Websense researchers Googled for strings that were used in known malware like the Bagel and Mytob worms and have uncovered about 2,000 malicious Web sites over the past month
Websense is currently developing products that take advantage of Google’s binary search capability and they hope to supply better virus protection to their customers through piggybacking on Google’s index of binaries.
The article also points to potential plans of how Google might use their binary search. It suggests that they may be prepping for a new software search engine. Software search engines and repositories aren’t new, but having the ability to easily search for useful software code from any binary that Google has spidered and indexed would be both massive and new. I also see a few other places where Google’s binary search might be used Copyright and SEO.
Copyright & Binary Search
The ability to search binaries seems like an excellent tool to search for code that’s been illegally copied and used in software. I could easily see a company like Copyscape integrating Google’s binary search into their copyright search engine and alert service. It also seems like a perfect fit since Copyscape and Google already have a working relationship.
SEO & Binary Search
Being an Internet strategist, I can’t help but ponder the possible SEO implications that binary search might have. Here’s my list of wild guesses on how it might be used (and abused) depending on how Google integrates it into their overall search engine algorithm:
- Creating and linking to dummy binaries that are stuffed with keywords. Thus improving SERPs and falsely driving traffic to websites.
- Similar to the first idea, recompiling legitimate software to include meta information (title, description, keywords) that Google can read. I sense a new standard approaching.
- If providing binaries does have a positive impact on SERPs, expect to see a rush to create or distribute applications. Similar to free article websites like ArticleCity.com, we could see the proliferation of free software websites that go way beyond traditional software distribution sites like VersionTracker and Download.com.