According to an article by Alistair Barr and Brian R. Fitzgerald from The Wall Street Journal, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s search results were disrupted for approximately eight hours early Tuesday, before Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) apologized for the problem and said it fixed it. The search results of the search giant displayed numerous images of a bad car crash near a sign that says “stop” in Russian. Moreover, the crash image appeared to have endlessly repeated itself after a few appropriate results, after the filter got switched to “images”.
The results prompted reactions on social media websites, where people speculated about the causes of the problem, with a thesis that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) may have been hacked by someone who wanted to spread propaganda related to the fighting in Ukraine between Ukraine’s government forces and pro-Russian rebels being the most dominant one. Experts, however, say there are very strong indications that a hack attack was not behind the issue.
Several of them offered their explanations, cited by WSJ. Gabriel Weinberg, CEO and founder of search engine DuckDuckGo, said that updates to search algorithms can in certain cases cause the same result to be produced repeatedly, which happened once during a DuckDuckGo update in the past and took a couple of hours to fix, a very similar time it took Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) to fix the issue. A. J. Ghergich, founder of Ghergich & Co., a search engine marketing agency, explained that it is very unlikely a hack attack was behind the problem. Searches were disrupted in so many countries at the same time and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s search queries are handled by data centers in different parts of the world, he explained. He was shocked however that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) did not notice that 90% of the image search results showed a car crash in Russia after an update.