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'Completely wrong,' Mitt Romney, and the Google dust-up

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Reuters

(Read caption) A boy holds a hand puppet of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney during a campaign stop at the Shelby County Fairgrounds in Sidney, Ohio, on Oct. 10.

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Political news is big on Google, but the search engine rarely becomes the focus of a political story.

As a slew of Twitterers and bloggers pointed out yesterday afternoon, the search term "completely wrong" brings up a slew of pictures (big and small) of presidential hopeful and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. CNN has traced the origin of the whole mess to an interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News, wherein Romney attempted to distance himself from his infamous "47 percent" gaffe.

"Clearly in a campaign with hundreds if not thousands of speeches and question-and-answer sessions, now and then you're going to say something that doesn't come out right," Romney told Hannity, "In this case, I said something that's just completely wrong."

But now his explanation has turned into a veritable Internet meme – and not one that's likely to go away anytime soon. 

So is this an easter egg? Well, not exactly. An easter egg usually refers to a message hidden intentionally by developers. Google has scattered quite a few of those through its search rankings in recent years: There was the easter egg with the "loneliest number," the easter egg with the barrel roll – a nod to the Nintendo classic "Starfox" – and the deservedly-beloved "zerg rush" game, which was created in homage to "Starcraft."

By comparison, the "completely wrong" results appear to be a regular old byproduct of Google's search algorithm.

In a statement to ABC News, Google called the whole thing "natural" – in other words, not malicious or premeditated. Not that Fox News was quite ready to believe it. The network pointed out today that Google is a "left-leaning" company, and that "Google CEO Eric Schmidt has visited the White House 14 times since January 2009." 


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