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'Failure' reaps some unlikely results on Google.com

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Posted: Wednesday, October 26, 2005 12:00 pm | Updated: 3:15 pm, Wed Aug 15, 2012.

By Erin Steele

Killeen Daily Herald

Failure means a lot of things to a lot of people.

To Google.com, it means that googlebombers have struck again.

Type failure into the popular online search engine, hit the I feel lucky button, and President George W. Bushs White House biography (http://www.whitehouse.gov/president/gwbbio.html) is displayed. Type in miserable failure and the same page appears.

Google insists something far less sinister than political motivations are behind the results; its simply objectively generated machine algorithms, according to officials with the search engine.

This is not a political statement from Google, but rather a reflection of a recent Web phenomenon, said Megan Quinn, a publicist with the online powerhouse. In this case, a select group of webmasters used the word (failure) to describe and link to George W. Bushs Web site.

Marissa Mayer, director of consumer Web products, called the failure faux pas googlebombing, in which determined pranksters or, as Quinn stated, a number of webmasters can occasionally produce odd results.

We dont condone the practice of googlebombing, or any other action that seeks to affect the integrity of our search results, but were also reluctant to alter our results by hand in order to prevent such items from showing up, Mayer stated on her google blog. Pranks like this may be distracting to some, but they dont affect the overall quality of our search service, whose objectivity, as always, remains the core of our mission.

But protests from the Google didnt stop the Bush bio link from becoming the talk of the Internet just google Google failure and 14,100 results emerge. The search engine scandal became the topic of the day for thousands of bloggers across the country, some smelling political foul play while others simply found the failure factoid amusing.

I think Google employees deliberately left it as is, said one poster on forums.rojakpot.com.

Thank you for that. It made my day, and I was feeling pretty down, said another poster on portland.indymedia.org.

Still, Google clings steadfastly to its innocence.

From time to time, we discover focused campaigns that attempt to use links to influence Google search results, Quinn said. Ultimately, those efforts do not affect the overall quality of Google search results.

Contact Erin Steele at esteele@kdhnews.com

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