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January 29, 2007

Google Ends 'miserable failure" Link to George Bush

One of the fun aspects of the web, and specifically web searching, is the juxtaposition of inappropriate search results that show up with good hits in Google, Yahoo!, and other search engines.  Or when Ads by Google sometimes come up with related adverts to a page that are technically correct but relationally not, as when a story about a political candidate generates ads for an opponent.  Sometimes they are funny as was the link to the White House when someone typed in the words "miserable failure" in Google and clicked the "I'm feeling lucky" button.  That led to a link to the President's page on the White House web site.

The fact that this result showed up was due to manipulation of the Google search engine by people entering searches that linked George Bush and failure, along with web sites that, analytically, did the same.  The search engine learned how to link the two from the volume of searches.  This practice was named "Google-bombing."  One side note as a cultural reference, there is no comparable Yahoo!-bombing or MSN-bombing, or at least anything so named.  It just shows again how far these two have to go to beat the search engine leader.

According to the New York Times, the George Bush-failure Google bomb is no more.  Google has altered the results to bring up stories and links about the practice rather than the resulting link itself.  As far as Google is concerned, history can deal with the President without contributing editorial content. Some on the political spectrum may find this disappointing.  On the other hand, there's always something awkward about manipulating search results as an elaborate practical joke, even if it involves a powerful person.

January 29, 2007 | Permalink

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