As the Justice Department and Google continue to butt heads, the search engine is going to lengths to show it’s not politically biased in any way. But not everyone agrees with Google.
When you go to google.com, do a search for “miserable failure.” The top page that comes up is the official White House biography of President George W. Bush. That result has prompted complaints against Google by conservative users. They assume it reflects a political bias by the search engine.
Truth is, though, that it’s a result of something called “Googlebombing.” Here’s how it works: Google’s search results are generated by computer programs that rank Web pages in large part by examining the number and relative popularity of the sites that link to them.
In this case, a number of webmasters are using the phrase “miserable failure” to describe and then link to President Bush’s Web site. Thus, the leader of the free world has been “Googlebombed.”
It’s by no means the first time this has happened in some form or fashion, either as a political statement or just a prank. But in this case, the search engine has taken the unusual step of responding to a Googlebomb.
In a statement, they say, “We don't condone the practice of googlebombing, but we're also reluctant to alter our results by hand in order to prevent such items from showing up. Pranks like this may be distracting to some, but they don't affect the overall quality of our search service, whose objectivity, as always, remains the core of our mission.”
Given that, it probably won’t be long before conservative webmasters and bloggers respond with a Googlebomb of their own.
In case you’re wondering, the same thing happens when you search for “miserable failure” on Yahoo! Some are also now referring to Googlebombing as cyber-graffiti.