Google Finance users got an unexpected surprise this past weekend when using the search term “sell,” they were directed to Apple stock. Although the glitch appeared to be a thinly veiled effort to increase sales of Apple stock, Google insists that it was an unintended result of the website’s algorithm.
Bloggers began noticing and posting about the issue over the weekend, presuming that the results were an “Easter Egg” or a joke that Google had deliberately
In a statement reported to Search Engine Land, a Google Representative discusses the problem:
“This isn’t deliberate — our algorithms seem to be keying off of the words ‘sell’ and ‘sells’ in the description of this very popular stock symbol. We’re working on how to adjust things so it doesn’t happen anymore. The popularity of the ticker is indeed part of this, and why Apple in particular is coming up even though the word may appear in other stock tickers’ descriptions.”
Google users who assumed the issue was another prank, may have been subjected to a number of Google pranks in the past. Previous “Easter Eggs” or jokes built into the Google search engine have included: Kevin Bacon “bacon numbers,” randomly changing dialog with the “I’m Feeling Lucky” option, and “Conway’s game of life.”
For now the issue has been resolved, a Google Finance search for “sell” no longer immediately brings up Apple Stock