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Friday, May 30, 2008

Vanity Hacking: Get Your Own Google Definition

TomHTML of the French Google watch blog Zorgloob conducted an interesting experiment, and the results are in now. What Tom did was to put up a couple of fake definitions in order to fool Google’s “define” operator.

To explain, when you enter something like define hula-hoop into Google web search, you may get an instant result on top... in this case, the explanation that Hula-Hoop is a “plaything consisting of a tubular plastic hoop for swinging around the hips.” (You can also bring up these definitions when you enter e.g. what is hula-hoop, and the query define:hula-hoop yields a page with nothing but definitions, if available.)

But the definitions Tom put up were along the following lines (auto-translated from French)...

“TOMHTML: Webmaster french, known for trying to hijack the definitions of a famous search engine ...”
“Google Local: Directory of local information”
“AdSense: allows webmasters to sell advertising space on their web sites”
“Zorgloob: best blog news on Google”
“Google: Google was a lifestyle of the XXIst century”
(and so on ...)

As you can see, there’s a couple of serious ones in there, and a couple of prank ones. That was back in 2005. Now, the prank worked... and searching Google France for Définition Zorgloob shows Tom’s result as a Google onebox, as the screenshot from the auto-translation shows:

Oh, and Google, here are some more definitions...

[Thanks Tom!]


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