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Google and “Miserable failure”

By Michelle Malkin  •  January 29, 2007 01:26 PM

I still get a dozen e-mails a week expressing outrage about the sophomoric Google bomb linking President Bush with the phrase “miserable failure.” In case you haven’t heard, you’ll all be happy to know that Google has now addressed the issue (via NYT):

Google announced on Thursday on its official blog that “by improving our analysis of the link structure of the Web” such mischief would instead “typically return commentary, discussions, and articles” about the tactic itself.

Indeed, a search on Saturday of “miserable failure” on Google leads to a now-outdated BBC News article from 2003 about the “miserable failure” search, rather than the previous first result, President Bush’s portal at whitehouse.gov/president.

Such gamesmanship has been termed “Google bombing,” and is not unique to President Bush, or even politics. John F. Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate in 2004, was linked to the search “waffles,” while other Google bombs have been elaborate jokes or personal vendettas.

Writing on the Google blog, Matt Cutts, the head of the Google’s Webspam team, said that Google bombs had not “been a very high priority for us.” But he added: “Over time, we’ve seen more people assume that they are Google’s opinion, or that Google has hand-coded the results for these Google-bombed queries. That’s not true, and it seemed like it was worth trying to correct that misperception.”

Some Google bombs haven’t been fixed yet:

Despite the changes by Google, some other Google bombs are still operative. A search for “French military victories” still produces a first result that says, “Your search — French military victories — did not match any documents.” Click there and your find a mockup of a Google search page asking the question “Did you mean: French military defeats.”

Posted in: Google