Oops. Bad, Google. Occasionally the service inserts direct answers to searches at the top of its results. It makes guesses at this, and in the case of michael jackson died, it’s making the wrong guess. Henry Elliss tipped us that Google’s showing that Michael Jackson died in 2007, at age 65.
The problem? Google’s drawing on Wikipedia and picking the wrong Michael Jackson, the writer rather than the King Of Pop. That’s wrong in terms of what people currently spiking searches for “michael jackson died” are expecting. Those interested in the writer did spike queries back when the writer died. The more recent spike is due to the pop singer’s dead (you can see both spikes on Google Trends).
It’s pretty amazing to see this happen. I’m pretty sure I’ve done that exact search in the past day or two since Jackson’s death and not seen it. Why is suddenly would pop up — and why Google isn’t keeping a better eye on a query it knows is drawing traffic — is strange.
For related news, see our Michael Jackson’s Death: An Inside Look At How Google, Yahoo, & Bing Handled An Extraordinary Day In Search post.