Austria? That’s Not A Country, Says Google: Australia’s A Country

First Google questioned Mitt Romney’s chances of winning the US presidential election. Now it’s suggesting that Austria is less important than Australia.

You Say Austria, Google Says Australia

In a search for Austria’s biggest companies, Google automatically changes the query and searches instead for Australia’s biggest companies:

Forbes spotted the glitch, which is the second major problem like this to hit Google recently.

Romney Can’t Win

Last month, Google gained attention because of how a search for “romney can win” caused Google to suggest, “Did you mean: Romney can’t win,” as shown below

Our previous story, Even Google Thinks “Romney Can’t Win”, covers this more and how it was caused by Google’s spell checker getting confused.

Good Intentions Gone Bad

The Romney problem has since been fixed. The Austria-Australia problem is likely due to Google seeing lots of searches for “austria’s biggest businesses” that get changed by searchers themselves to “australia’s biggest businesses.”

It is easy to accidentally type the wrong name, and if that is happening a lot, then Google might have automatically thought “Austria” was a mistake it was trying to helpfully correct to “Australia.”

Chances are, Google will override this in the near future or tweak its algorithm.

Now go watch this classic clip from Crocodile Dundee, which puts the headline in this story into perspective, for those who don’t get it:


Related Topics: Channel: Consumer | Google: Web Search | Search & Society: General


About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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  • Durant Imboden

    This reminds me of the time I went into a Barclays Bank office in Chicago years ago (in the pre-euro era) and asked to send a bank draft in Austrian Schillings. The snarky bank clerk said triumphantly, “In Australia, they don’t use shillings, they use dollars.” Maybe she’s working for Google these days?

  • albert0346

    It appears Google Places recently also DON`T know anything anymore about my hometown Fichtelberg in Bavaria, Germany. A couple of weeks ago a lot of places were listed for the town. Since then ONLY the HILL Fichtelberg, which lies in Sachsen, Germany, appears under Google Places. This you can see if you search for “ferienwohnung fichtelberg”. For me it`s strange that Google lists HILLS under Places!

    I know this example is a little off the one in this post. But it shows that Google has the power to change things as they like.

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