Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected] Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected]
If you were to mozy on over Google Trends this morning you may have noticed that something was amiss. Not only were the terms listed as hot trends and searches off from their normal pop-fluff fair, but there was a rather unkind term in the number one spot.
“Lol n******” it read, leaving the Google team red faced and under scrutiny as to how, yet again, Google Trends was hacked. Either that of course, or coarse racial commentary become wildly popular overnight among Google’s users.
The last time that this happened, a swastika and “elgoog ouy kcuf” (F*** you Google) were the terms that someone tricked Google Trends into displaying. Prank from Microsoft? Eastern European hackers? Who knows, but Google needs to get a handle on their algorithms. Isn’t that what they are famous for?
Google reached out to us and wanted to make sure that the situation was fully understood. No Google servers were in any way compromised in the gentle hack to bend the top search terms. Instead, the algorithm was abused by spamming certain results into Google to artificially inflate certain words and thus break the normal Google Trends term flow. Google does have censorship tools in place to control this sort of abuse, but on the occasion they miss something. If you were confused, now you are not.
Get the TNW newsletter
Get the most important tech news in your inbox each week.