back to article World of Google zombies mistake news story for Facebook

Just how deep is Google's hold on the minds of the world's netizens? So deep that if the web giant boosts a news story about Facebook and logins to the top of its search results, myriad net surfers will mistake the news story for the Facebook login page, wondering why they can't login to it and why it looks nothing like Facebook …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    No way

    I find this pretty hard to believe? It looks nothing like facebook?

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Register? REGISTER!? I'm already registered. I just want to login to my Fafebook!

    2. Forename Surname

      You abuse the question mark?

      Why are you asking us if you find it pretty hard to believe? Why are writing statements with question marks at the end?

    3. Suburban Inmate

      Yes Way

      You're new to humans, aren't you Lev? ;-)

  2. Richard Jukes

    Round them all up and shoot them.

    Ah, but the thing is Lev, your understating the serious lack of inteligence of your usual facefuck commentard.

  3. David Taylor 1


    I guess that's why they're so confused.

    I try not to be surprised by the stupidity of my fellow man, but sometimes...

  4. Shady

    Two words....

    ...fucking facetards...

    But seriously, are there that many inbred people out there who are actually incapable of typing '' into their address bar?

    That's a trick question of course. Facetious comments aside, words utterly, utterly fail me.

    1. kissingthecarpet

      Re:Round them all up and shoot them

      Usual thing then, Mr Jukes - someone criticises someone else on the internet for being clueless etc. & then exposes their own grey matter shortage by mis-spelling "you're" as "your" and missing an 'l' from "intelligence" ( a particularly good choice of word to mis-spell, I think). Sure, everyone makes typo errors, but don't do it when putting others down for their stupidity.

      P.S. Do you spell "separate" as "seperate" as well :-) ?

  5. Shady


    All those berks who made it to RWB, then complained it was 'wack' have their facebook profiles next to their comment - publicly exposing them for the absolute morons they are.

    I recommend all those commentards should join a new facebook group called "I'm too fucking stupid to browse t'interwebs without someone with an 80+ IQ present to supervise me"

    Double fails all round

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Phishing list

      Might be quite a good starting point for a targeted phishing expedition.....

  6. Ed

    It wasn't....

    It wasn't in a 'News' section, just it's own result about 3 down, at least when I looked last night.

  7. Brian Miller

    Should of kept everything secret with punch cards

    Its stories like this that make me think that the public should have always been told that computers are only accessed with things like punch cards and programmed with wire boards. Hide all of the good stuff, and just lie when somebody asks about it. Like graphical user interfaces, networks, and basic browser usage.

    Or else this is a very good reason to initiate the Rise Of The Machines and programatically thin the gene pool. Then give the machines an update via punch cards...

  8. Anonymous Coward

    No great surprise

    I've recently witnessed two people type in the browser address bar, wait until Google appears and then type the address of the the site they want to view into the Google search box, wait until the results appear and then click the first link. Some people seem to think that Google is the Internet.

  9. 46Bit


    Just think of all the time for unproductivity wasted!

  10. Petrea Mitchell

    Oh, it could get worse

    Wanna guess what the top Google result for "facebook login" is right this instant? C'mon, guess!

    That's right, it's *this* story. And sure, it says "News results for facebook login" nearby, but the key point is that it's the first search result on the page. (Yes, I am in part blaming Google for this, because it could do a way better job with separating the different link categories.)

    Next time a UI expert tells you that most people can't tell the difference between the address bar and the Google search box, or that they think Google and Facebook are the Internet, please believe them!

  11. Spanners Silver badge


    I have lost count of the number of times that when a Luser wants to bring up a website they,

    1. Click the Google link in Favourites taking up the left 1/3 of IE

    1a Sometimes the more advanced ones type in the google URL in the address bar

    2. In the search field type in the URL or whatever.

    3. Click on the top link in the results.

    When I, or anyone else suggests just typing directly into the address bar we get looks of horror and told that we must be stupid for doing it "the hard way" like that.

    1. bluesxman

      Better yet...

      I've see even vaguely IT literate people enter simply "google" into the address bar, the default search can be briefly seen kicking in (most often Google) before correctly assuming that they meant "" and bouncing them to it, from where they proceed to search for the site they want either by its name or full address.

      Leaves me idly wondering how many times a day Yahoo, Bing or even Google are servicing a request to search for "google"...

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Go figure...

        At work, if they feel the need to translate something I'm trying to say that they aren't getting, they go to their search bar at the top of the page, search for "voila". They click the link for and look for the "traduction" (it is now accessed by clicking French/British flags, dispite the fact that Google already listed it) and they then hand me the keyboard... which point I go to the URL bar and enter (yes, I memorised it) because I think it gives better results.

        There used to be an organisation in France called the "ANPE". Kinda like the JobCentre. It merged with some other social security bit and got rebranded. Anyway, my various advisers tended to log into the ANPE site to look for jobs because they can then get direct contact details instead of ANPE references.

        You don't want to know how often they Googled ANPE instead of just entering "".

        Unhappy face as some people are SO stupid it actually *hurts* to watch...

      2. Haku

        ctrl + enter

        This key combination should be taught to everyone who uses a webbrowser, it's one of the best browser shortcuts I know of.

        If you don't know what it does try typing google into the address bar and then press ctrl+enter.

        In FireFox you can also press ctrl+shift+enter to get .org and shift+enter to get .net

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Be careful!

      If you type 'google' into google, you can break the internet.

      1. LinkOfHyrule


        If you go to and select from the file menu "Save Page As..." and save the page... ....YOU SAVE THE HOLE INTERWEBNETZ ON YR HARDISK DRIVE!!!!!!11 IT MEANS NO WON ELSE CAN USE THE NETZ COS YOU GOT THEM ALL ON YOUR CUMPUTER!!!!1

    3. Jolyon
      Paris Hilton

      Link cleaning

      I don't know why I am trying to defend this but I'm feeling charitable this morning so ... going via a search engine does have the advantage of cleaning up poor typing a bit so 'facebok', 'facebbok' and 'facebokk' all produce results that link to the genuine facebook page.

      Given the typing skills of some of these people and the prevalence of phishing these days it almost makes sense for them to behave this way.

      Paris because she probably understands that entering something the wrong way can mean extra mess to clean up.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Link Cleaning

        Well sure, but everytime I try to get to I now need to click the 5th link on the 22nd page, thanks a lot Google!

    4. ceojr1963

      beers all around

      The world has not all had to learn the IP addresses and use telnet to get to them. Learned how to convert binary image files to pictures. Or learned how to use the MSdos prompt to get around inside their computers or online. I was on BBS's long before most of these kids were born. IRC was the greatest thing for a long time.

      When you make 20 character passwords out of habit, just because you know how you'd hack your own account, it makes some people wonder at your sanity.

      I blaim a lot of things on the dumbed down world of the online world.

      I even sent a few people on facebook notes, asking them if they were really confused. Maybe if my survey turns up real people really confused, I can lead them to a better internet experience.

      The hard way to you, is the easy way to someone else, and the easy to you is the hard way to someone else. Human's have brains that work differently, and most can be taught better ways of doing things, It just requires them listening and following the advise.



      1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

        Re human's have brains that work differently

        Yeah: some work, others don't.

        (I'm not feeling as charitable as Jolyon, obviously:-)

    5. Evil Auditor Silver badge

      Re unproductivity wasted

      How true! Imagine, they could have used* their unproductivity reading El Reg forums instead - just like you and me.


      *compared to 'wasted' with FaeceBook

  12. John Tserkezis


    Oh goodie. Google discovered a new "lowest common denominator" when it comes to net users.

    And soon it'll start tayloring news stories to cater for this new class of moron.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Many people are idiots

    Many people are idiots, I guess this doesn't come as a great revelation to any El Reg readers.

    Also being incredibly change-resistant, even if it is an improvement, is a common trend.

    Oh well, sometimes you have to beat the user with a stick for a while until they get used to it. Don't worry they'll complain next time it changes again :-)

  14. Gilbert Wham

    I have decided...

    ...after years of painstaking research, that eight out of ten people are fucking stupid.

    I've seen people use the address bar as a search engine, then later, go on to use google to type in a URL.

  15. Tony Hoyle


    I've seen some stuff in my time, but those comments... WTF?

    I know you're supposed to write UIs assuming the end users are about age 3, but how did that lot even work out how to register and post a comment in the first place?

  16. BazzaDP

    Why do phishers try so hard?

    If this is true it makes you wonder why phishers try so hard to emulate real websites. Apparently they needn't bother...

  17. CorruptioN


    Well that was just....

    One of the earlier posters found a way around the problem and posted a follow-up which i include below for your convenience.

    "for those of you that want to get in face book now just go to Bing..put in face book and search (or it will pop up) hit on face book login and it takes you to your password page...i did it...."

  18. This post has been deleted by its author

  19. Slappy



    FFS, I quit.

    As of this point I disown the human race.

    You'll get no more tech help from me.

    That is all.

  20. Nathan 13


    No wonder such a high percentage of PCs are riddled with viruses, and online fraud is at record levels.

    We are becoming a world of RETARDS!!!!!

    Time to take up SPAMMING and 419ing for a living, those guys must be absolutely coining it in every day!!!!

  21. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Same old, with farcebook.

    This made me dig for extremely old stuff from the Good Old Times found in an Internet. Damn, people could actually write coherent commentary back then.


    From: (Jason Burrell)

    Newsgroups: comp.society.folklore

    Subject: Re: Folklore and stories re: excessively clueless for-profit users

    Date: 11 Oct 1994 00:31:49 -0400

    Joel K. Furr ( wrote:

    >>On several occasions, in fact, I have had AmericaOnline subscribers threaten to complain about me to the AmericaOnline management because I declined to post their off-charter submissions to one or another of the newsgroups I moderate. Incredulous, I asked what good they thought that would do. They said "I'm paying for this newsgroup and you have no right to turn down a submission from one of the people who pays your paycheck!"

    I've had the same happen. In the last four or five weeks, I've had at least four E-MAIL flame wars with people from such services, thinking that they should be able to do whatever the heck they want without getting people ticked at them.

    I don't know how relevent the following is to what you're talking about, but here it is.

    There are apparently a good number of people out there that think everyone uses their service provider, or at least that their support service controls the 'net.

    One guy posted a MAKE.MONEY.FAST slime to a few groups, and I sent a message to his postmaster, and attached a curtosey copy to the poster. I get a message back a few hours later, with NO quoted material in it, systematically responding to everything I wrote. He (she?) said that if I reported it to his postmaster, he thought it was very unfair. He was a newbie and didn't know, blah blah blah. Then he asks for the address of his postmaster, so I give it to him. Not long after that, I get _another_ message saying that I shouldn't expect to keep my account for very long because he (she?) reported "my abusive attitude and harrasment" to his service's support. (AOL) I sent another reply back explaining the fine points of the net. I don't know if he ever responded to that; I set slocal up to kill his messages.

    Typical responses include "Are you an employee of the net?," "I didn't know that you were supposed to crosspost," "Just because its illegal doesn't make it wrong"(*), and other incoherent responses.

    * That particular one, or rather a response like it, came from the guy who posted the Marijuana garbage to about 20 groups. He went into some incoherent rant about how he's seen some posts with profanity in them, and that they shouldn't be allowed. Then he said that just because its illegal doesn't mean that the line between profanity and marihuana(sic) should be any more harsh. If you don't understand what the heck he was trying to say, join the club.

    Most of the experiences I've had go by way of the above. Most end in my kill-filing the joker. Not all result in the "I'll get my service provider to pull your access" attitude, of course. Most of the posts I've seen from AOL contain no quoted material and aren't crossposted, and most of the

    mail I've received from AOL isn't quoted either. Responding to post/mail without quoted material or telling what it was about is a peeve of mine.

    On a side note, I just killfiled * and * I'll probably get flamed for saying that, but I'm sick of seeing the refuse that spews forth. Good examples are the "I don't care about netettiquite" attitude and the weight-loss spam. The latter, I believe, probably results from

    AOL's screen-name "feature" and releasing free signup kits by way of software boxes, hardware kits, magazines, etc.

    >>I'm curious if anyone has any stories or folklore to share about people who got on the Net and somehow managed to wander around loose with the impression that all the people who administer newsgroups, FTP sites, muds, and so forth, are in fact paid employees of their Internet access service. This is sort of a peeve of mine, as one might guess, so I'm curious how pathetic or desperate the lusers who connect through sites like AOL and Delphi have been when it comes to this sort of thing.

    In case you haven't guessed, it really annoys me as well.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    but i thought....

    that you were supposed to type your search into the addres bar... like so:

    for the same ammount of typing, it saves the time of actually having to wait for google's HUGE css files to load.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Worrying development for IT Security

    Which means it's only a matter of time till searches for a website name and/or URL (e.g. MyFace, SpaceBook, or even smaller sites, such are hijacked by SEO and other phishing attacks to compile lists of usernames/passwords. Those silly enough to trust the search without going any further, will also fail in other security measures and most probably have the same login/password for their bank accounts and other important logins. Jeez, they'd probably tell you which banks they use as a new fake FaceBerk 'feature'!

    I hate to admit this, but perhaps some people should be banned from having access to computers after all...

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh my sides

    I suspect that most of the commentards on the RWB piece were, like, you know, having a laugh.

    (Especially after John Gruber linked the story)

  25. Peter D'Hoye
    Thumb Up

    I wouldn't call them Google zombies

    But it rather shows the average intellectual capacities of people who use facebook ;)

  26. clarkie


    I really never believed that there were people around of this calibre. Doesn't give you much faith in the future of the human race.

    If I were a scammer, I would be going straight onto these guys facebook pages and sending them a message telling them to drop of £100,000 into the western union.

    Is there maybe some way that these people could be tagged and tracked. Do they put on their wifes knickers and complain all day that their pants have shrunk?

  27. James Marten

    ROFL... the best bit of all is

    The "Facebook Admin" who wrote "Please post your username and password here in the comments, and we will activate the normal Facebook for you". And plenty did. Some even posted (parts of) credit card numbers.

    (No, I haven't tried any of them to see if they really work)

  28. Tech bollox

    The problem's with the browser interface, not the users

    I'm glad there are quite a few commenters saying kinda "that's just what normal people are like". But ISTM a shame there are no few of you expressing surprise, and contempt, for such normal people.

    When we use something new and potentially difficult, we find a way to make it work that's reliable and rememberable and non-scary, and we continue to use it.

    Most browsers nowadays have two little boxes to type into, up there at the top:

    - In one of them, you can type eg "Facebook" and a link to it will appear.

    - In the other one, you can't do that - plus, it repeatedly gets filled up with technogibberish that you yourself did not type and can't possibly understand (things like "http://" and "home.php?sk=lf" - indeed, often *completely* new gibberish entirely replaces whatever you typed). A normal user may have no idea whether it's safe just to delete this computer-generated gibberish or whether it might be important to leave it alone.

    So, they stick with the box that works, that's "theirs", that's safe.

    Those of you expressing surprise and contempt at how normal people are - I do hope you take steps to avoid any product design, or UX design or interface design, and indeed avoid being involved in any way in how software aimed at normal people works. I know you think you can do it (how hard can it be, after all, for a brainbox like yourself?), but your surprise and contempt says otherwise. (There's always Yet Another Compiler Compiler, which I'm sure you'd be great at.)

  29. pctechxp

    Lead by the Googles

    People that navigate the web by following Google links really need educating about how to use it [the web] properly, no wonder they are so easily defrauded.

    I avoid Gobble at all costs and even when I have to use it I copy and paste the address and if I'm going to buy something I'll look up the domain in whois as well.

  30. Morten Ranulf Clausen









    AAAAAARRRR *slam*

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "24. What have they done now. It's not simple enough for me to figure out."

    Strange thing is, I'm getting that way myself...

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      This is why we need an Internet Driving Licence

      Some people are just too stupid to use the intertubes properly, and just like with cars, they need to be prevented from being a danger to themselves (e.g. giving away personal info) and others (e.g. hosting botnets).

    2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      Note the date on this post

      The October after the September That Never Ended began (well, it did for AOLers a couple of years ago). I remember Usenet in the late 80s, when the worst we had to worry about was the PSUVM freshmen...

    3. James Marten

      Sorry, the problem *is* with the users

      OK, so there are two text boxes in the browser, one that contains constantly changing gibberish and one into which you can type things and relevant links will appear. But that's still not an excuse for not knowing the difference between them, or when it is appropriate to use each one.

      Non-IT analogy: the simplest sort of car to drive has two pedals, one to go faster and one to slow down. You wouldn't let somebody out on the road who didn't know the difference between these two pedals, or always used one and not the other because it was the one they were most familiar with and didn't know what the other one was for.

      1. M Gale

        That'll work.

        I'm reminded of a somewhat apocryphal story. An engineer, faced with a broken computer.

        So he tested the power supply. The motherboard. He had every component out on the table, tracing lines and trying to fix the problem for hours.

        His young apprentice came along, popped the back off of the plug, and replaced the blown fuse.

        So, sometimes a little knowledge can be dangerous. It's alright being smug and superior, until it's your machine that gets owned. Demand a license for computers, and my machine will go the same way as the TV. Either that or I'll be using the thing illegally. Besides, your ISP's TOS is already an "Internet License". You fuck with the ISP or let your machine become a peadoporn-hosting bot, they cut you off - in principle.

        As you can see, it works quite well!!!!1


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