Et tu, Google?

In 2008, cuil, a search engine startup, displayed my bio alongside a photo of deceased actress Hilary Mason. In January 2013, Bing confused us, this time putting my photo next to her bio (they fixed it after a suitable amount of mocking on Twitter).

Today, Google did the same thing. (live search link)

Today I win the internet?

Screen Shot 2013-04-14 at 4.59.24 PM

If you zoom in on the bio section, you can clearly see that it’s her bio with a photo of me (originally from Crain’s New York 40 under Forty). Further, if you go into her filmography, you continue to see my photo.

I’m most proud of my starring role in the amazing film Robot Jox. (bottom right of the image below)


I know that entity disambiguation is a hard problem. I’ve worked on it, though never with the kind of resources that I imagine Google can bring to it. And yet, this is absurd!

Note: It’s also been pointed out to me that there’s a slim possibility that Google’s confusion stems from my own post about Bing’s error, in which case, this post will certainly make the confusion worse. To that I say — bring it on, technofuture irony!


8 Comments on “Et tu, Google?”

  1. Yonadav says:

    There’s a simple solution: change your name :-)))

    • Actually an even simpler solution — click on the Feedback/More Info link at the bottom right of the Bio on the page.

      When you do that, the bio changes and has all these edit elements around. We can now tell them that the photo in the bio for the film star is “wrong” (a link appears about your head with the word Wrong).

  2. femi banjo says:

    she looks hot for an 89 year old and had a macbook air 2-3 years before it hit the apple store. imagine the fun you could have with google glass and errors like this.

  3. Jeff Schmitz says:

    I mean Robot Jox was a timeless masterpiece! = )

  4. Dag-Erling Smørgrav says:

    I think you just immanentized the Singularity.

  5. Siderite says:

    You mean “Bing it on”, don’t you?

  6. Evelyn Shunaman says:

    I attended your recent lecture at Scholastic recently. I enjoyed it very much, so looked up your website… and saw this post. It reminded me of a story I recently heard about a woman whose life was totally upended by a similar confusion, to the point where she cannot return to her country, Iran. She’s written a book: “My Stolen Face: The Story of a Dramatic Mistake;” in her case, not just search engines but news agencies were unable to correct their mistakes. Our availability of information has raced ahead of our consideration of how to responsibly and ethically use it. Brooke Gladstone did a great interview on NPR:

  7. Google shows you as reincarnated! Leave its own beliefs alone. :P