But Google was on the job; Google Desktop Search popped up a warning that informed me that a newly installed program had screwed with GoogleSearch's registry settings, and here were the registry settings and the program that did it. And this was the glorious thing: to fix this, you can just run the GDS install again with the flag /restorelastwinsock or /restorefirstwinsock, and the install would return the network settings to how they were at the last install of GDS or the first install of GDS.
So I did that, and voila! Glorious internet again. I'm sure I could have eventually managed to unfuck it by hand, with much swearing, but that is not what I wanted to do at 8:30 in the morning. And the amusing thing is, this isn't even part of, in bureaucracy-speak, their 'core competency'. It's just a little sidelight, because if you can't get to the net, you can't Google. It will be so sad when Google eventually turns evil.
Now I have to find a reliable and preferably free for home use antivirus program. I had been using eTrust for the last year, but I just fundamentally object to paying $30 every year for a program, at least as a home user. I can see why they use the subscription model; it's a lot more justifiable for an antivirus than most programs, as they really do have to do constant work to maintain it, but I'm poor!