Do a search on Google Finance for the word “sell,” and Google returns the stock chart for Apple. Why? Some thought Google had rigged this as an “Easter Egg” or joke. However, Google says this isn’t so.
I’d seen a few comments that this was due to the Reuters-description that Google Finance shows for Apple having the word “sell” in it several times. Google tells us that is indeed the case, sending Search Engine Land this explanation:
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.
You can see an example of the root word “sell” appearing in the Apple description below:
As I wrote in the first edition of this story, this explanation seemed odd. For example, Amazon’s page on Google Finance also has the root word “sell” in its description, including the exact word, unlike Apple:
But Google also said this:
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.
Sure, someone at Google could have made Apple appear for “sell” as a joke. Google has a long history of Easter Egg jokes. But as I wrote in the first edition of the story, having it also work for “sells” would make no sense, in terms of stock jargon.
By the way, “buy” brings up Best Buy, even though the company’s symbol is BBY. So does “buys.” So Google Finance is clearly using more than the exact stock symbol or exact name to decide when to show the stock quote for a particular company.
Postscript (8:22pm ET): Story updated and revised based on Google’s statement.
Postscript (10:39pm ET): Google no longer shows Apple for a search on “sell,” showing this instead: