Web users may have noticed this week that if you search the phrase “completely wrong” in Google Images, photos of presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney come up.
A “Google Bomb” is defined by Wikipedia as a practice of “creating large numbers of links, that cause a web page to have a high ranking for searches on unrelated or off topic keyword phrases, often for comical or satirical purposes.” “Googlebombing” dates back to 2001 when blogger Adam Mathews used the method to link the phrase “talentless hack” to a friend’s website, BBC reported in 2003.
However, the Romney Google Bomb instance was unintentional. The phrase directly comes from comments made by Romney himself when he apologized for off-the-record remarks about the “47 percent.”
"Clearly in a campaign with hundreds if not thousands of speeches and question-and-answer sessions, now and then you're going to say something that doesn't come out right," Romney said, "In this case, I said something that's just completely wrong."
His apology stemmed from comments made during a private fundraiser in May, which were released last month.
"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what," Romney said in the video obtained by Mother Jones. "There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent on government, who believe that, that they are victims, who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them. Who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing. [My] job is not to worry about those people. "I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to do is convince the 5 percent to 10 percent in the center that are independents, that are thoughtful."
But now, searching his “completely wrong” quote from the apology yields photos of Romney. A spokesman for Google told CNN that the gallery of photos that is presented when searching the phrase “is the unintentional result of normal Google analytics, which produce images associated with popular phrases in news headlines and search terms, and not the result of any effort to skew the results.”
The “completely wrong” Google gaffe brings to mind many of the other Google Bombs throughout history, namely those inflicted upon politicians.
1. Bill O’Reilley
In 2005, according to the DailyKos, Bill O’Reilly became associated with the phrase “terrorist sympathizer” on Google after he made remarks about Al Qaeda. He said,
2. Murder and Abortion
In 2011, CBS News reported a group of activists linked the words murder and abortion on Google. By searching the term “murder,” the second result after the Wikipedia Murder page was the Wikipedia Abortion page.
3. George W. Bush
When Bush was running for a second term in office as the President, hackers manipulated search results so that “miserable failure” would yield the top link as a biography of Bush on the White House’s home page. According to BBC, though, it was since removed.
4. Chuck Norris
In the height of the Chuck Norris fandom of 2008, web developer Arran Schlosberg manipulated the Google search for “find Chuck Norris” to a page which read, According to his website, it received over 4,800,000 unique visitors.
5. French Militia
In 2003, Steve Lerner created a bomb that when users type “French military victories,” users were re-directed to a correction page from Google that said, “Did you mean French military defeats?”