Google Says You're Dead When You Are Alive

Aug 24, 2012 • 8:35 am | comments (13) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine

Imagine you are searching your name and up comes the Google knowledge graph with your box at the top right. Then you read what Google has to say about you and it says you have died several years ago. How is that possible, you are not dead.

That is the case for Madhav Prasad Ghimire, a well respected poet in Nepali. He is actually around 94 years of old and just was interviewed by a local newspaper in the area.

But when you Google Madhav Prasad Ghimire, Google will tell you he is dead.

Madhav Prasad Ghimire Google Dead

See, according to Google, he died on September 14, 1959, almost 53 years ago. In fact, it seems Google also has the wrong birth date. He was born on October 22, 1919 not November 12, 1909.

What is going on here? Two possible cases:

(1) Google is referencing a different Madhav Prasad Ghimire but I have no idea which one.

(2) Google has buggy factual data for Madhav Prasad Ghimire and possibly others.

Google responded to the complaint in the Google Web Search Help forums saying:

Thanks for reporting, Manjeet Dhakal and Shannon for the investigative work! I am looking into this for you.

Manjeet, we really appreciate this feedback as it helps make our information as accurate and up to date as possible. If you see anything like this in the future, please don't hesitate to click on the gray 'Feedback' link at the bottom of the box. This allows you to report exactly which piece of information is incorrect so we can take a look!

Update: As pointed out on Google+ by Pe lagic, Wikipedia had his death on an older version of the page.

Forum discussion at Google Web Search Help.

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08/24/2012 12:54 pm

And what i found for barry schwartz , checkout here

Barry Schwartz

08/24/2012 12:56 pm

Yep, not dead


08/24/2012 01:02 pm

May God bless you Barry. you are inspiration for many of us.

Brijesh Bhalodia

08/24/2012 01:33 pm

You are too young Barry or your birth year is wrong :)

Jeff Downer Indianapolis IN

08/24/2012 02:56 pm

Sounds like it's time to file some amended tax returns referencing Google.

Michael Cropper

08/24/2012 03:52 pm

Maybe Wikipedia placed this in their articles as a honeypot for Google to fall into, in a similar way to what Google did with their search results when Bing was scraping them :-)


08/24/2012 04:24 pm

Um, so unsurprisingly Google had it wrong as wikipedia had it wrong. The 'knowledge graph' is just wikipedia in the serps. If I was wikipedia, I'd seriously consider banning Googlebot. I mean do the volunteer writers on wikipedia do it for Google to make money out of what they write?

Jared Guyde

08/25/2012 02:51 am

google pays for all hosting for wikipedia, so that isnt happening

Jared Guyde

08/25/2012 02:52 am


Yomari Prasad Ghimire

08/26/2012 02:10 pm

My grandfather is alive and well but we no money to correct informcion he dead.

SEO First

08/28/2012 06:36 am

haha...the algorithm goes wrong here.


08/28/2012 11:05 am

My point still stands though. It's not made clear to contributors that they are contributing to Google as well. Didn't know that Google pays all their server costs though, that's an interesting one. Explains why Wiki are happy for them to use their data so much


08/29/2012 04:02 pm

Not sure that is true. Google "offered" to pay something towards hosting. That is all, as far as I can tell from research. Wikipedia take donations to pay for hosting costs, hence their yearly annoyance campaign.

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