The danger of Google Trends: A 'trend-bomb'

Thu 27 August 2009 09:37, Bas van den Beld

The danger of Google Trends: A 'trend-bomb'

The case of George Bush being a miserable failure in Google is a well known example in the search market. It's the most famous example of a "Google bomb". Google has prevented thi kind of 'bombing' but now faces another battle: defend against Google Trends-bombing.

Getting your topic 'hot' on Twitter is something everybody is interested in. At conferences its often a way of telling the conference is doing allright. It means that you're talked about a lot and most of the time that is regarded to be a good thing.

This week for the first time we could see a case of Google - Trends bombing. Though this one didn't seem te be a directed bombing, more of an accident, caused by another Google-feature: the "Did you mean"-feature.
 And not a pretty one.

In Google trends searches which are searched for a lot in the last period are placed on the front page of Google Trends. That way you can easily see what searchers are looking for. For several days one of the most searched terms on Google was “White people stole my car”. Not a trend you'd expect to be there.

Apparently a lot of people were looking for this sentence. But why? Rumour is its about the "Did you mean" option Google offers. The search term was said to be 'trended' because it was reported that if you look for that specific sentence Google would return with: "Did You Mean: black people stole my car?". People probably wanted to see if that was true... It is said that a viral e-mail went around in the US and Canada claiming this is happening. So far however there has been no evidence that Google actually returned that specific sentence.

It does show how 'dangerous' Google Trends can be and that getting a topic trended does probably give you a lot of exposure.

Somehow we didn't think this daily search pic(k) would be so right on the spot...

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