The Latest Google Bomb

“Idiot” – Merriam Webster defines it as a foolish or stupid person, but if you do a Google image search for the word these days, you may (or may not) be surprised to see a page of Donald Trump photos staring back at you. 

Why? It’s likely the result of an effort by folks to game Google’s search engine through a process called “Google Bombing”.  Basically, because Google’s algorithms associate the popularity of search results to their relevancy, the more positive response that pages associated with specific search terms get, the higher they get ranked. So with lots of users and the right combination of content & response – Google search results can be manipulated in crazy ways.

It’s definitely not the first time Google has become a tool for social commentary like this (read about the history and other examples here), but ultimately it is a temporary phenomenon. As people stop trying to intentionally force results, the search algorithms will recalibrate and normalize. So at some point in the future we probably won’t see the same results we’re seeing now (whenever Donald Trump stops being associated with “idiot” as much as he is today).