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Google: Digital Music, No; Site Safety, Yes

Attendees at this year’s National Association of Recording Merchandizers convention ins Kissimmee, Florida, breathed a sigh of relief has Google’s head of business development Chris Sacca said the Internet seach giant has no plans to enter the digital music marketplace, saying flatly “We are not going to be selling music.” Rumors have been circulating since 2004 that Google might open up its own music download store to compete with Apple’s market-leading iTunes Music Store, and talk intensified when Google began selling video content via Google Video—perhaps the company’s less-than-stellar results with online video have lead it to conclude entering the online music business wouldn’t be a good move. So if you were waiting for “gTunes” or a “gPod” music player, don’t hold your breath.

In other GoogleNews, the company plans to start displaying warninga when users click on search results which may lead to potentially dangerous Web sites. Stopbaadware.org maintains a database of sites reported to be carrying malware such as keyloggers, spyware, adware, viruses, stealth dialers, and more: when users use Google search results listings to navigate to a site in the Stopbadware.org database, Google will display a warning that the site may not be safe; eventually, the warnings will contain specific information about problems and dangers reported about a site.

Search engine results are a common way attackers, spammers, and online criminals attempt to distribute malware: they analyze search behavior using data from sites like Google Trends then craft pages and sites designed to rank highly in popular searches. These pages don’t offer legitimate content, but instead carrying their malicious software as a “payload.” According to McAfee, U.S. Internet users land on potentially malicious Web sites almost 300 million times a month from search engine results alone.

Stopbadware.org is a nonprofit founded by Harvard University and the University of Oxford, and supported by Lenovo, Sun Microsystems, and (naturally) Google.