Search engine defuses 'Google bombs'

by Paul Jay, CBC News Online

It wasn't too long ago that typing in the search words "miserable failure" in Google would lead you to a biography of George W. Bush as the top entry. The trick, known as Google bombing, took advantage of Google's search algorithms which count how often a site is linked to and with what words. Google bombers would link to the U.S. President's page from a multitude of sites containing the terms "miserable failure" to skew the results in one site's favour.

Evidently, Google has finally put a stop to these pranks, changing their algorithms to produce different results. A search today under miserable failure now links to a BBC story on Google bombing.

Google bombing pranks had been used in the past to target Michael Moore, former U.S. Presidential candidate John Kerry and even the founders of Google.

But interestingly, one of the oldest Google bomb pranks is still operational: typing in "French military victories" still produces a Google-style site which says the terms "did not match any documents" and asks the inquirer "Did you mean French military defeats?"

If Napolean Bonaparte were still around, I'm sure he would not be amused.