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article imageBizarre bug leaves Google stumped by UK political leaders

By James Walker     Nov 24, 2015 in Technology
Google has been found to be clueless regarding UK politics. An odd quirk in its search engine sees it presenting a jumbled-up assortment of past figures when entering terms like "Labour leader."
The bug was found today and has been circulating online since. Typing "Labour leader" into Google sees a muddled and confused list of details in the place of the usually accurate fact box. More often than not, it isn't Jeremy Corbyn listed as the leader of the Labour party.
Instead, Google typically shows something like "Ed Miliband," who left the position in May, typically with a photo of a different leader. When Digital Journal replicated the tests, the header of the card said Ed Miliband is the Leader of the Labour Party but the accompanying photo was an image of Gordon Brown. He left the role in 2010. In small text underneath the header lies the correct information, "Leader of the Labour Party: Incumbent Jeremy Corbyn MP since 12 September 2015."
Repeating the test later gave a different result. Ed Miliband retained the headline name but was accompanied by an image of actual leader Jeremy Corbyn. Moving over to Google Images returned an assortment of photos that are also largely of Ed Miliband and brother David Miliband.
Typing  Labour leader  into Google can yield some interesting results due to a bug in the company s ...
Typing "Labour leader" into Google can yield some interesting results due to a bug in the company's search engine
It isn't just Labour that Google is getting confused by. Searching for "tory leader" has yielded images of Conservative Prime Minister Sir John Major for some users. He was PM from 1990 to 1997.
The strange results are turning up on every platform. They can be replicated in desktop and mobile browsers and using the official Google app on smartphones.
Google's search algorithms are usually capable of making sense of contextually-rich queries and intelligently displaying the appropriate data at the top of search results. Recently, Google has begun deploying machine learning across its data centres so it can process even richer natural language phrases. In this case, something seems to be confusing it though, causing it to create some wildly inaccurate cards.
The cause of the bug isn't known. All the data seems to be sourced from Wikipedia, suggesting Google is struggling to correctly interpret it and display it in the correct format. Responding to the Huffington Post UK, a Google spokesperson acknowledged the odd glitch and said it will be fixed "asap." As of press time, the quirky effects of the bug can still be observed by typing various phrases into Google.
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