Google Language Detection Bug Confused As Chinese Hack

Mar 25, 2010 • 6:58 am | comments (0) by | Filed Under Google Search Engine

Yesterday, there was a big stink about Google being hacked by the Chinese because their Google corporate page was being rendered in Chinese for *some* users. At the same time, some were seeing it rendered in Spanish and other languages. As the reports came in, some of us at Search Engine Land were suspicious that this was indeed not a hack but rather a bug.

A few days ago, I reported an odd language detection bug with Google Webmaster Tools that seemed a lot like what was being blamed as a hack with the corporate page, but over at Webmaster Tools. The thing was, the bug wasn't fixed and more and more people complained about the issue. The issue also started popping up in other areas, such as Picasa as reported in this Google Web Search Help thread.

The Guardian updated their story to confirm from a Google spokesperson that this was "not a hack, but a bug." It is funny how things can drive such confusion so fast on the Internet. In any event, Google is to blame for not fixing the issue back when we first reported it, which was last Friday!

Forum discussion at Google Web Search Help.

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