Google blames algorithm for adding porn titles to train station search results

Insert your own pun here.

Graham Cluley
@gcluley

If you don’t live in the state of New York, you may never have thought of Googling for the city’s metro stations, run by the Metropolitan Transport Authority (MTA).

But as the Queens Daily Eagle reports, you might get more than you bargained for as you’re looking up the train times…

According to media reports, the same X-rated description was attached to 13 train stations along the Hudson Line.

The MTA blamed Google for the unexpected appearance of “Flirtatious An*l D*ldo For C*ck Hungry Blonde Sl*t” alongside its train station search results.

Sign up to our newsletter
Security news, advice, and tips.

Not being a Google SEO kungfu expert I found that explanation a little hard to get my head around. I could well believe that Google’s search results might sometimes choose other words from your webpage for your search engine entry, but I found it hard to believe that they’re scooping up suggestions from the likes of PornHub.

And yet, the New York Post reports that Google has uh… put its hand up, and admitted to being a very naughty boy:

“This is an error in our systems that we are working to diagnose and fix,” the rep said in a statement. “We apologize for any concern or offense this may have caused.”

One possible explanation is that Google sometimes chooses what to title a search engine result based upon what links to it, although normally it tries to censor anything too fruity.

And yes, that means someone might be linking to train stations with titles like “Flirtatious An*l D*ldo For C*ck Hungry Blonde Sl*t.”

I don’t know if that’s part of a marketing campaign to encourage people to use the train more, or if it’s to make them give it a wide berth. The mind boggles.

Found this article interesting? Follow Graham Cluley on Twitter to read more of the exclusive content we post.


Graham Cluley is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of computer security, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley, or drop him an email.

One comment on “Google blames algorithm for adding porn titles to train station search results”

  1. And here I just **Deleted** google from my browser's search sites ;) :(
    Oh well, for a bit of T & A, I guess I can just go to googledotcom (NOT).

What do you think? Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.