Google has regretted on how racist searches bring up White House in search result with a promise to prevent Google bomb in Google Maps. The company has apologized for this situation to users and finding a fix to this problem quickly stated in its blog post.
The problems that attracted attention from users or Google team after it was discovered that searching for “n-ga house”brings up a result of White House in Google Maps. Earlier, similar problems hit Howard University, historically and predominantly a black college. But, this problem isn’t restricted to a place or against any race.
Crowdsourcing web Is Not Good
The main reason for such weird, strange, and offensive search result in Google is due to crowdsourcing of web content to understand the relevant places or people better. All the contents in the web are being checked before delivering most relevant results related to queries. This practice began in last Pigeon Update last year to deliver a most relevant result to users.
Suppose there is a local sports store. The business has to provide a description of items sold in store to deliver relevant result in Google Maps during a search query. If products of the store are not listed there won’t be any relevant result regarding those items. But, Pigeon Update is trying to correct this problem. It is collecting data from blog posts, comments and even online forum of users adding additional information in a business listing to deliver a suitable result. In short, there is no need of business listing in Google as a business name alone can bring such a result in Maps.
This is why racist terms are getting prominence in the Google Maps result. People might have used derogatory words or languages against place during the online discussion; it is showing up in Google Maps. This problem might be there for a long time but noticed recently.
Google bomb Fix
This embarrassing situation has come for Google not due to overt hacking attempts as done with Android peeing on Apple logo in Google Maps last month. But, this is an unexpected ill-effect of using entire web contents to determine relevant places without filtering out sensitive terms.
Google bomb is a reference used by people to link pages with embarrassing words in the links to rank higher in a search result. This is because Google considers links similar to favourable votes to pages of the relevant pages to rank them. Earlier, for a period of time, people searching for “miserable failure” showed the official page of former US president George W. Bush on Google search result. Even the people are trying to rank their campaigns in this way and it worked before.
Google has finally fixed this problem in January 2007. The fix was done to see words of a link pointing to a page actually appear on the page itself. Since there was no “miserable failure” word in an official page of George W. Bush and it failed to rank for that phrase.
With Google Maps there is no evidence that it is an orchestrated campaign to rank higher in the search result of these terms as occurred with Google bombs. But, it is a total unfortunate incident of using entire web for a local search result.
Google bombs fix likely to work the same in this problem also. As long as the places don’t use such derogatory words or phrases, the businesses are unlikely to be relevant for them. Google is likely to create a filter of such derogatory words not to be relevant for any site.