Fox News FAIL: Google “Easter Egg” claimed to be disabled was never official Google code

Heard about the “Let it Snow” Easter Egg added to Google’s Search Engine by Google earlier this week? Yes, I bet you have – ever since Google casually made reference to it on Twitter, news agencies across America and Europe have been pouncing on the news like cats on mice – in fact, if Google’s own metrics are to be believed, there are more than 175 unique news articles about it alone across the internet. Unfortunately, as is often the case with mass media, when a news agency knows a story is going global and wants to differentiate its take on the story from others, invariably somewhere along the line misinformation will slip in.

Chalk one up to Fox News for just this reason. In their take on the news – credited to News Corp’s Australian Print (and keep in mind News Corp. is owned by Fox) – Fox News decided to also print examples of other famous Google Easter Eggs to show that the company has a fun streak to them. This list includes the famous “Chuck Norris” joke, described by them thus:

Searching for Chuck Norris used to prove futile on Google, returning a slightly funny, slightly annoying message: “Google won’t search for Chuck Norris because it knows you don’t find Chuck Norris, he finds you.”

The same article then adds that the company believes that the Easter Egg was “disabled” because it no longer works as described.

Now, unlike most, I’m not going to comment here on Fox News’ journalistic integrity. What I will say is, in this instance, Fox News got their facts completely wrong, for one simple reason: The Chuck Norris joke was NEVER an official Easter Egg to begin with!

The apparent joke search result from Google, claiming that “Google won’t search for Chuck Norris because it knows you don’t find Chuck Norris, he finds you”, was actually a spoof Google page credited to Arran Schlosberg. The page was created as his take on the common myth that Chuck Norris is a superhuman – something which has come to define modern culture. Through both legitimate word-of-mouth advertising and illegitimate Google-Bombing, the page quickly reached the top of Google search results for “Chuck Norris” for many months in 2008, fulfilling Arran’s claimed intention for the site and resulting in anyone clicking “I’m Feeling Lucky” when searching for the man to see the spoof page – thus creating the illusion that the page came from Google itself. In actual fact, the user was being taken to the website (which is still alive), a website that had – and still has – no affiliation with Google, as disclaimers in the page’s footer clearly state. Changes to Google’s Search algorithm months later finally buried the page in the search results; and the page has never been updated since to take advantage of recent changes in Google’s Search Result page design – thus killing off the joke.

Obviously, Fox News’ claim that the Chuck Norris Easter Egg was official is a huge slap in the face to reality and a major embarrassment for the company – though some would argue they’re likely to be used to embarrassment right now due to their reputation (deserved or not) of getting facts wrong on a constant basis. Whatever the case, and assuming the company was made aware of the error, I’m sure that the editors of that story are now kicking themselves – or being kicked – hard in the posterior.

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Acknowledgements: Quoted segment courtesy of Fox News
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2 Responses

  1. A million thanks for posting this inorfmaiton.

  2. I was actually unaware that it had ever reached first place for the intended keywords. The site has always remained in first place for “find Chuck Norris” and “where is Chuck Norris”.