Microsoft’s Bing rates murdered 2-year old boy as “hot” celebrity

11Mar10

James was abducted, tortured, and murdered by two boys in 1993. Picture courtesy of Wikipedia.

Microsoft made a deeply offensive blunder today, this time with their own search engine Bing (a rival to Google), in their celebrity tracking service.  They listed the brutally murdered British toddler James Bulger (pictured) as one of the web’s top “movie stars, musicians, and other famous people” on their xRank celebrity-ranking page.

James was abducted from an English shopping mall in 1993 by two boys, who then tortured and murdered the 2-year-old. However, Microsoft’s Bing lists him as #1 hot celebrity, above nude model Katie Price (Jordan), rock band Queen, British boyband JLS, and singer Lady Gaga.

The high-profile case has appeared on all major TV networks and in all newspapers in Britain over the past few days, as one of his killers has been returned to prison — perhaps on child pornography charges, so say the rumours.

Microsoft’s service automatically aggregates all the searches people are performing for different names. It then assumes most of these people are celebrities. Their page doesn’t recognize “Bulger” as a name, but does recognize “James”.

Thus it reports the obscure 80’s and 90’s rock-band “James” as the current most popular celebrity search. However, their page clearly says that the #1 search was actually for  “James Bulger” and “James Bulger Murder”. (see screenshot below)

Click for full picture

To add insult to injury, lower down on the page, pictures are clearly seen of the murdered 2-year-old’s mother doing a recent TV interview. (see picture)

Click for full-size

Microsoft describes it’s service as:

We count Bing web searches for movie stars, musicians, and other famous people. Then we compile our findings into an insightful ranking formula that tells you who the world is searching for most. The result is a cultural snapshot of who’s hot and who’s not!

It seems according to Microsoft’s Bing search engine, a kidnapped, tortured, and murdered 2-year old boy is “hot”. Clearly Microsoft needs to make changes to its Bing xRank service, before other child murder victims become listed as “hot” “movie stars, musicians, and other famous people”.

Rumours have recently pointed to Apple dumping Google for Bing as it’s main search partner for it’s iPod’s, iPhones, and the upcoming iPad. However, as this clearly shows, Microsoft still manages to walk into classic blunders.

Source: http://www.bing.com/xrank/ (retrieved Wednesday 10th March 2010 from within the geographic area of the United Kingdom)

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