When hungry British office workers searched on Google today to find the nearest branch of Greggs — a stolid bakery chain that serves basic but delicious British lunchtime fare like pies and cheese sandwiches — they instead found Google calling them “scum.”
Instead of displaying Greggs’ company tagline, “Ready when you are,” the search listing instead showed a modified version of the logo that read “Providing s— to scum for over 70 years.” (Greggs’ critics believe it serves fattening foods at locations in working class areas.)
Google had been fooled by satirical encyclopedia “Uncyclopedia,” which creates parody Wikipedia pages for well-known brands and celebrities. As Google crawls the web for up-to-date information, its algorithm can sometimes accidentally show false results in listings:
After Twitter users informed the company of the search engine mishap, Greggs — which has £762 million in revenue per year — offered Google a deal: Fix our search listing and we’ll give you some doughnuts.
Sure enough, after the offer of baked goods, Google leapt into action and removed the offending image.
Google comes under fire for listings errors caused by search saboteurs frequently. Last week the search engine displayed a photograph of a semi-naked man to users who searched for the Yorkshire village of Skellow. Several years ago, U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum’s presidential ambitions were partially derailed by sex writer Dan Savage’s successful attempt to persuade his fans to change the definition of “santorum” in web searches.
For the record, this is the real Greggs logo:
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