It has been going around for a couple of years now, and it seems to be popping up again and again. I’m talking about that e-mail we regularly receive from friends and contacts along the lines of:
“Those funny guys at Google are at it again! Go to Google, search on the phrase ‘miserable failure’ and hit the ‘I feel lucky’ button.”
If you don’t already know this one then I suggest you try it and see for yourself.
Having done that, do you think Google have weighed-in to political opinion? I’m afraid not.
This trick is the result of a Google Bomb, or multiple web page links to the White House page that are linked by the text “miserable failure”. Google’s search program (Googlebot) crawls through millions and millions of pages and indexes what it finds, and in this case it found many sites linked to George W’s page using this term. In fact the (deliberate) linking was so common that it drove the page to the #1 Google Page Rank for that search term.
Back in 2003 when this was “new news” BBC News reported on it, while urban legends site Snopes.com further explained how this came to be. A Google Bomb simply takes advantage of Google’s indexing and page rank algorithms, and could be manipulated by any of us in this way if we tried.
So the next time you receive this funny little e-mail from one of your friends or contacts, you’ll know what to tell them (while perhaps raining on their parade).