Google is looking into rude 'English person' search result

Google seems to be aware of an unfortunate search quirk that brings up an insulting word when surfers enter the term 'define an English person'.

Google has acknowledged an unfortunate search issue that brings up an insulting word when surfers enter the term 'define an English person'.

Running that search term on brings up the Wikipedia article for the swear word 'c***'. The issue has been raised on a Google support forum, where a user listed as a Google Employee has responded saying, "This looks like a bad case of ranking that shouldn't be happening."

In a separate post, the employee says they are "looking into" the problem.

The search flaw could have been caused by Google bombing, where people tactically create huge numbers of hyperlinks to a particular article that are tied to a certain phrase.

The result is that Google's algorithm thinks the two unrelated topics are connected, and starts publishing the wrong search results.

Google has been fighting back against the practice for some time now. We expect it will break out its toolbox and do a bit of tinkering behind the scenes to fix the meddlesome results.

In some past instances the Big G has refrained from tailoring search results to avoid offensive sites or images, adding a banner that explains why those things might be showing up in your search results, and emphasising that it's not anything to do with Google's own views. 

Have you spotted a search engine quirk? Tell us about it in the comments, or on our Facebook wall.

About the author

Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.


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