Fri, 30 Jan 2009 18:47:48 +0000 – By Noel SheppardAssociate Editor, Media Research Center's Newsbusters.org
Unlike the four years it took for Internet behemoth Google to address a "bomb" created in 2003 directing searches with the words "miserable failure" to George W. Bush's biography at the official White House Web site, this feat was accomplished just days after Barack Obama was inaugurated.
As FOX News reportedmoments ago:
In 2003, President Bush's detractors successfully gamed the Google search engine by arranging to have countless Web sites link the words "miserable failure" to Bush's official biography on the White House Web site.
The result was that when someone typed the search term "miserable failure" into the Google search box, Bush's bio rose to the top of the search results.
And that's how it stayed until 2007, when Google developed an algorithm to detect what became known as "Google bombs" and re-directed the term "miserable failure" to non-political pages.
Yet, when Obama took the oath of office and this "bomb" somehow got re-engaged and started directing searches for "miserable failure" to his biography at White House.gov, Google was Johnny on the Spot correcting the problem in just a few days.
Despite the innocence being claimed by Google concerning the speed in which this new flare-up was resolved, the outspoken support given to presidential candidate Obama by CEO Eric Schmidt last year, as well as his presence at a White House meeting Wednesday raises eyebrows.
Google representatives claim there's nothing political here, and that this time it was easy to address the responsible algorithm.
However, shortly after the existence of this bomb was first revealed by New York's Newsday on December 6, 2003, the New York Times reportedGoogle not being concerned about the matter:
Craig Silverstein, Google's director for technology, says the company sees nothing wrong with the public using its search engine this way. No user is hurt, he said, because there is no clearly legitimate site for "miserable failure" being pushed aside.
Moreover, he said, Google's results were taking stock of the range of opinions that are expressed online. "We just reflect the opinion on the Web,'' he said, "for better or worse."
Google eventually changed its mind about this, and corrected the problem.
Yet, irrespective of the innocence being claimed by Google concerning the speed in which this new flare-up was resolved, the outspoken supportgiven to presidential candidate Obama by CEO Eric Schmidt last year, as well as his presenceat a White House meeting Wednesday, certainly raises some eyebrows.
Noel Sheppard is associate editor of the Media Research Center's NewsBusters.org. He welcomes feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.