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Google glitch gives Abbott government the Dame Edna Everage treatment

Googling the term "Abbott government" delivers more than 104 million results, and an image of a quizzical Dame Edna Everage at the top of the page.

Unless it's part of a soon-to-be-released Liberal media strategy, it appears the colourful picture of the Australian entertainment icon created by Barry Humphries is either a subtle satire created by a clever coder or a peculiar error somewhere in the complex web of connections plaited by Google's algorithms.

A Google spokesman said the segment at the top-right of the page, known as a "knowledge panel", is entirely algorithmically generated from a variety of sources.

Despite being given premier position on the search results, the panels have no human editors and rely on user feedback (via the feedback link directly beneath the box) to report incorrect information and associations.

The image of Ms Everage was sourced from India-based news aggregation blog

The image links to a summary blog post of a story published on The Age two months ago about the government's report into the inquiry of the Manus Island incident which resulted in the death of Iranian asylum seeker Reza Berati.


The Google spokesman said he was unable to comment about whether the error was more likely to be intentional or a simple accident.

He was not aware if there have been reports of coders gaming the algorithm system in the past. 

The glitch has appeared in other Google searches, with the "knowledge panel" result for Metro Trains in Victoria displaying a photo that read: "Metro Trains. If you are late: they depart early. If you are early, they depart late.", for months until it was changed to resemble a more official listing.

The Dame Edna image has been taken down since Fairfax contacted Google on Wednesday morning.


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