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Stupid Usability #14

Google Epic Christmas Fail

Written By: High Monkey
Posted: 12/26/2013

From the mind of Virgil Carroll, Principal Human Solutions Architect at High Monkey:

So I really wanted to do some kind of a Christmas stupid usability post today and was kind of drawing a blank ... until my 12 year old niece shared one with me that really ticks me off.

Her and I were on a walk around town after spending a great morning with the family opening up presents and having a great old time.  We both felt after that and the big breakfast, we needed to get some exercise before the big Christmas dinner festivies commenced.  As we were walking, we talked about Christmas and the coming of Santa Claus.  Where my niece has grown up a lot over the past few years, my 10 year old nephew still gets excited for Santa to visit every day.  This is where she shared with me a story that almost took my nephews Christmas magic away.

A little while ago my nephew was curious to learn more about Santa Claus, in anticipation of his visit this Christmas.  Like many kids his age, who grew up in the digital age, he didn't ask questions or check out a library book ... no he visited the one source of truth for these kids: GOOGLE.  And what did Google share with my nephew?  Well it shared that Santa was NOT REAL!  When my niece told me this, I could not believe what I heard.  I figured with Google being such an enlightened company that gets into the holiday cheer, they could not possibly be so irresponsible.  So I did the search myself, and what to my wonderous eyes did appear?

I was astounded to know my niece was correct and was particularly disappointed to see all the results that came up on the page.  

Look at the first result:

So the first result on Google is Santa is a mythical figure.  Really Google????  Being in the tech world, I've always been told they have buildings full of people whose job it is to pay attention to searches and 'finesse' the results to provide more relevant results.  If that is true, how did this slip by?

Even worse, check out the next set of results:

Not only does the first result make Santa out to be a fake, but the next set of results are all about crimes people have committed in Santa suits!  Come on Google!

So with knowledge that todays kids, as young as 5-6 years old, are growing up with technology in their grasp, no one at one of the largest tech companies in the world, thought to make sure that the Santa Claus results, especially around Christmas, are not better than these?  User experience is not only about how easy something is to use, its also about giving context sensitive information.  In this case, Google could 'finesse' these results quite easily and be more socially responsible around kids who believe.  Is that too much for us to ask?  (It should be noted, as a point of fairness, that Bing and Yahoo also show the Wikipedia result as well :( ... at least they don't show the news results).

In the end, luckily, my nephew's comment after reading these results were 'thats not true' :)  So thankfully there are instances where the power of the Internet can not always change the world.

Chad's Bio Coming Soon!

More About Virgil

Virgil Carroll is the owner and president of High Monkey – based in Minneapolis Minnesota. Virgil also wears the multiple ‘hats’ of Principle Human Solutions Architect and SharePoint Architect.

Virgil is one of those rare individuals who can dive deep into technical topics while speaking clearly to the business owners of a project and never forgetting that the end user experience has the highest priority. He calls it using both sides of his brain. Virgil is passionate about leveraging technologies ‘out of the box’ as much as possible with a focus on the strategic use of content to create websites that deliver the right content to the right audience on the right device at the right time. Virgil brings high energy, an ironic wit, and a sense of grounded perspective whenever he speaks to an audience. Virgil regularly speaks at conferences and user groups throughout the United States and occasionally in Europe.

Posted: 12/26/2013 12:00:00 AM by | with 0 comments