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. M Gale

        Re: Sorry, the problem *is* with the users

        See here's the problem with analogies: Your computer is not a car. Your router is not a house. The Internet is not a series of tubes.

        Until you can show how I can drive my computer at 40mph into a crowd of schoolchildren, I think the idea of a license to use one will be somewhere between "idiocy" and "lunacy". You really think it'll stop boxes getting owned?

        1. Charlie


          A little learning is a dangerous thing;

          Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:

          There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,

          And drinking largely sobers us again.

    1. SMD

      I have...



      Apparently FARCEBOOK caught on to what's going on, is monitoring the thread, and changing the pswds immediately to protect the L-users who post the info.

    2. SMD

      reply to earlier post

      >ROFL... the best bit of all is #


      >Posted Saturday 13th February 2010 14:04 GMT



      >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)

      I have...

      Apparently FARCEBOOK caught on to what's going on, is monitoring the thread, and changing the pwds immediately to protect the L-users who post the info.



    3. heyrick Silver badge

      Ahhh, those happy days...

      ...when I had my spam block discard anything from the aol domain.

      Might sound rude, but it's my time wasted on incoherent... well, I assume "rants" because of the tendency to end sentences with no less than three exclamation marks, but after trying to make sense of a dozen or so, including one classic reply being "I werent even talking to you dickweed" (what, in a private email you sent me? wtf?) I just decided enough was enough. Anything with "aol" in the "From" was tossed.

    4. cyborg

      It's nothing new

      Stupid people aren't a new phenomenon - it's just the opportunities to demonstrate one's total lack of mental faculty are increased in world that requires more and more understanding to navigate successfully.

      The honest way of taking advantage of this is to make UIs for the stupid (let the computer do the thinking) and the dishonest way is the one you've enumerated.

      Haven't decided yet which one I'm going for.

    5. ThaRobster
      Paris Hilton

      What does assume do?

      You're assuming of course, that these people have sufficient intelligence to attract a partner. Or at least a partner with a smaller waistline than themselves.

      Paris, only because of the lack of "Fat-bird-from-Shallow-Hal" icon.

      And yes, I'm aware of the irony.

    6. Anonymous Coward

      Virus removal

      Even though I shouldn't be, I get astounded every time I have to clean out viruses from my friend's pc even though they're running anti virus software.

      I think I need to start wearing a helmet, my forehead can't take much more of the repeated head on desk symptom of being tech help to morons.

    7. FFred

      I gave up on users a long time ago

      For what it's worth I stopped a while ago.

      Now I just recommend people stick to paper and pencil. For the few who are literate. Or a tape recorder.

      I used to think that people could use Linux merely because it had the exact same kind of window/menu/icon interface as pretty much any other system. But then users can't use any other system. How silly of me.

  1. Mark McC

    Completely unsurprising

    In an office full of people who seem to spend more time on IT training courses than they do working, we set up IE on every computer with handy link buttons to all our intranet sites across the top of the browser window.

    A recent redesign of the intranet home page had left out some links to important apps so this was a quick workaround until normality was restored. In the meantime, applications could be accessed as follows:

    1) Click appropriate button

    The preferred method seemed to be:

    1) Start typing 'google' into the address bar.

    2) Click the first search suggestion.

    3) On the Google results page that appears, click the first link.

    4) Realise that they're on a news page about Google, not Google itself.

    5) Click Back button (for less savvy users, an alternative was to avoid the complicated Back button and start again from Step 1).

    6) Click next link, which *does* link to the Google home page.

    7) Type <name of intranet application> into Google search box.

    8) Click first result that appears - some random page that has nothing whatsoever to do with our in-house built intranet apps.

    9) Stare blankly at the screen for several minutes trying to figure out where the login box is.

    10) If the random page happens to have a login option somewhere, attempt to log in using their intranet username/password.

    11) Give up, phone support complaining about how terrible the new layout of the intranet app is, and how it isn't accepting their password.

    There's a certain breed of otherwise intelligent people who, when faced with the daunting sight of a web browser, mentally descend several rungs down the evolutionary ladder.

  2. beardless

    Ok, but..

    This is all very funny, but can I get to my Google Zombies page now please?

  3. Harry

    Those of you expressing surprise and contempt ...

    I would be one of them, if it wasn't for the fact that my site logs show that people frequently reach it by unexpected types of search queries.

    One of the common ones is that people have set google as their default search page, so that it opens automatically. They have then typed my domain name, complete with preceding www prefix and trailing suffix, into the google search instead of the address bar.

    Those people clearly aren't aware of the intended difference between the address bar and a search query ... which in turn has prompted the various authors and ISPs to provide default settings so that both boxes can be used interchangeably.

    In turn, it becomes increasingly difficult to persuade people that those two apparently-interchangeable boxes are intended for two different purposes, and that very occasionally but SOMETIMES, its best to use the correct one for the job.

  4. informavorette
    Thumb Up

    Wow! Reading this story made me love Facebook

    Till today, I thought we'd all be better off if Facebook didn't exist. Now, I realised that it is doing an immense service to the human race.

    Just think what would happen if all those gibbering idiots were turned loose on the real world. As long as they are busy posting all-caps "lol" followed by innumerable bangs to each other's comment sections, walls or whatever the heck Facebook offers for profile visitors, the Earth is a much safer planet to live on.

  5. ante seput

    Critics Not so fast

    Ladies and Gentlemen

    It seems to me that am lots of you out there that love to criticize!

    Well maybe that make you fill god I don’t know, but you should look

    Into mirror once a while you could be surprise what you see.

    As for me hell? I am uneducated and ignorant in more then

    One subject, however you most to have hear about old cliché?

    It takes one to know one. So please stop knocking each other.

    I have posted few articles on which I have put my name and

    Email address because in regard to subject about I want those

    People involved knowing who is posting and not hiding like

    Some people I know. If you are telling truth there is no reason

    to hide and if you are not telling truth you should be posting

    anything to start with.

    Good luck but remember that we all need help once a while?



    Maybe this is what Apple realises in its attempt to turn its devices into appliances like the iPad.

    They approve all the apps to keep it simple and don't allow multitasking because some people aren't capable or inclined to learn anything more complicated than a TV remote control or more than the barest of barest of minimums they need to in their rush to use the device for what they really want to do - in this case, engage in social inanities with their mates.

    Some people don't really want to understand what they're doing, they just want to do it. NOW!

  7. Jess--

    A method of alien protection

    load up thousands of large hard drives with logs from facebook and blast them into space, aliens finding them will be under the impression that there is no intelligent life on earth

  8. Christopher Martin

    Reg, I think you got trolled

    Maybe a couple people were actually confused, but I have to agree with comment 507: "These comments are starting to look very anon. Is this on 4chan?"

    "Haha - epic thread"

    "leave signin alone"


    "Toasting in an epic bread"

  9. nickrw

    " login"

    Guess if you're taking the long way round to reach facebook you might as well do it thoroughly and search for "facebook login" and not just "facebook".

    Don't assume IT professionals understand the address bar either though. I asked someone to "browse to <ip address> on port 12345, https" and watched in horror as he typed in "".

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      @ ante seput

      I am ignorant in numerous things. I don't know how to knit, for example. So I will just not knit. The alternative, the equivalent to the Facebook zombies, is for me to pick up the knit-sticks and randomly poke balls of wool in the hope that something happens...

    2. Bilgepipe

      @ante seput

      At least we can agree on one thing - these people very definitely need help, and lots of it.

      You might not, however, agree with my assertion that this story indicates Facebook users are as stupid as a wet tissue.

      1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: @ante seput

        It only indicates that those Facebook users are as stupid as a wet tissue, to be fair. I think yours is an extrapolation too far. But I know you know that, really.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Have you been sending me spam?

      But seriously this story made me feel that humanity wants to be stupid, people seem to not want to learn if they can get away with copying, then when the goal posts are moved they wander around like the zombies in this story.

  10. SMD

    reply to earlier post

    >ROFL... the best bit of all is #


    >Posted Saturday 13th February 2010 14:04 GMT



    >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)

    I have...

    Apparently FARCEBOOK caught on to what's going on, is monitoring the thread, and changing the pwds immediately to protect the L-users who post the info.



  11. Anonymous Coward

    Facebook users are especially dumb...

    I believe it. The amount of times I've had people ask, where's my new website I put it into Google but its not there, how do I get to it? Or I have given them links and they've come back and said that Google couldn't find that page!

    Personally I blame the browsers, the cursor should start in the address bar, and NOT in the Google search box, or other search box. People just start typing, dumb people that is.

  12. Dave 62



    WHY is it All gray??!

    DIs is stupid, non of thes peple r my freindS!

    I dnt now who ANonymous coward is, why can dis person psot to my facebook?

    y are u peple all complaining about ever1 not been able to login??! facebook changed it and now its hard to login ok! God stop havin a go jus cuz were not all compute geeks!! OMG!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    this is why I hate humanity

    Typing "facebook login" into google and clicking the first result (or "I'm feeling lucky") actually takes longer than typing facebook into the address bar and hitting ctrl+enter. Even typing is quicker, and has the added bonus of taking you to the site you actually want to visit and not some other random site. (assuming the site you want to visit is facebook, the world's leading low IQ society)

    Some people are so bloody stupid it's not even funny.

    Can we have "retarded Zuckerburg" icon please?

  14. Asylum Sam


    From the time stamps i think we can scientifically confirm that there is indeed one born every minute, , well, every two minutes at least.

    Now if only we can find an internet version of a cliff to have them all drive off following their sat nav.....

  15. Winkypop Silver badge


    Oh my goodness!

    It's worse than I ever could have imagined.

  16. kissingthecarpet

    I now know

    why GNU/Linux on the desktop hasn't been adopted more widely - most users can't find their arse with both hands.

    I know there's some dim users, but after reading the comments on ReadWriteWeb.... well, I'm now amazed how many GNU/Linux users there are, considering the majority of internet users seem to inject anti-freeze into the back of their head between Facebook sessions.

    What music do they listen to? or is it just a voice saying "Breathe in....Breathe Out"?

    I did notice a lot of the clueless ones were older women - my theory is that they have difficulty learning new things, because a lot are locked in to a "Mother knows best " mindset & won't really listen when told stuff by younger people (especially males), plus they're often strangers to the concept of 'thinking' (as opposed to just 'knowing' ).

    1. M Gale

      Re: I now know

      Unfortunately, this is precisely your target market for the desktop. While I was selling computers to this same target market, I lost count of the amount of times I was asked for "a hard drive", meaning a PC base unit minus the peripherals.

    2. Jolyon


      Arse location skills of users or unsuitability of product and arrogant, unhelpful, unwlecoming and patronising attitude of the people who evangelise it?

    3. Blitz

      Clueless older women

      You mean the clueless older women that were busy raising you whilst you and your dad played about in your home computers and the like?

      You mean the ones that cooked, cleaned and sorted your lives out?

      No wonder they're 'clueless ones' - they were (and prolly still are) too bloody busy to get a chance to listen properly.

      Sooooooo...maybe next time rather than disappearing into your Linux cave and let them do all the work you should take the time to do some of household stuff yourself and let your wife, daughter, mother, grandmother play about on the computer so they actually get a chance to learn how to use it.

      1. M Gale


        ...customers tend to not take kindly to being told that they are wrong. I did try my best though!

        God I'm glad I'm out of that place. Now I just provide free tech support to friends and family - including a mother that, yes, is quite nice.

  17. Stef 2


    Staggering user stupidity becomes "Google is evil"? - Get a grep, Reg!

  18. Greg D

    I know exactly why this happened

    If someone has their homepage as google, it steals the cursor focus from the browser address bar.

    This has been the single most annoying feature of search engines since their inception.

    Take your average iliterate facebook junkie, and they wont realise the search engine has stolen focus, thus typing a website into google rather than the address bar.

    Leave this problem un-remedied for decades and this is the reult.

    1. Richard 120

      I fkin hate that!

      It's MY focus I put it where I wanted it to be WTF did you steal it for? Because you finished loading? That's fuck all of an excuse.

      Bastard focus stealer. I WAS TYPING!

  19. TeeCee Gold badge

    Doing the title thang.

    All your facebook is belong to us!

  20. This post has been deleted by its author

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Try and be a little less commentards

    And a little more tolerance.

    Many people out there don't have any concept of a browser, or a URL. Why would they? It's fine for us geeks to laugh about this stuff, but we're used to it.

    Lots of people I know refer to information "on the computer". They actually mean "the internet" but the concept is complicated - we just take it as 2nd-nature.

    Fact is, putting "facebook login" into google is actually pretty smart - and if they're used to it being the right result, why wouldn't they get confused? Your standard user can't be expected to understand search-term heuristics, sponsored links, and optimisation for seach engines - they just assume Google knows (which is, after all, the message google sells them).

    I have no idea how to fix my dishwasher, or how to replace the gearbox in my car - but I still use both every day. Perhaps all you people might want to consider that if users don't understand the concepts of browsers, websites, pages, SEO, etc, then perhaps it's us - the technologists - who've failed?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      And learn to code a web browser...

      So what if you can't replace a gearbox, nobody is asking you to. But if you are going to drive then you have to have a reasonable level of competence in how to use it.

      Stop icon because if you can't use the gearbox then you won't be going anywhere.

      BTW I can't write a web browser either so does that mean I shouldn't web browse?

    2. Cameron Colley

      So, you put gasoline in your dishwasher then?

      Or, do you put your clothes-basket in the washing machine when you use it?

      Do you often drive on the wrong side of the road?

      If you're too stupid to know that is not facebook then you're a danger to yourself and others (phishing, trojans) and should not be using a computer.

      Too many people are wilfully ignorant of computers and expect to be able to use them without having to learn how any of it works. If you didn't need a license to drive these people would be killing others left, right and centre.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        Don't be so absurd.

        Drivers should have licences precisely because cars kill people. Computers don't (in 99.99999% of circumstances) kill people, so why should I need a licence for one?

        Plenty of people can't work VCRs or even TVs. In fact there's a lot of non-techy people who don't know how to use a mobile phone properly.

        There is no reason why users should ever have to understand what a URL, TLD, IP address or port is, so in 99% of cases they shouldn't have to care about what's in the address bar. If browsers were designed properly, they wouldn't need to use an address bar at all.

        I sure hope that your tech-centric arrogant and frankly unfriendly attitude is kept well away from the design and implementation of any system that users are likely to use.

  22. Haku

    If Google went offline... would be the perfect test of how internet savvy you are because most of the people who have as their homepage would suddently be hopelessly lost, leaving everyone else in fits of laughter because they know about bing, altavista, yahoo etc. searches and they wouldn't rely on GMail for their email.

    I'd absolutely love to see how the world would react to 24 hours without Google. It would be the the PERFECT April fool joke.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Monkey see, monkey do . .

    Lets be honest. Pretty much everyone uses a computer these days, but very few are interested in how they work etc. Some of these people, believe it or not are actually clever despite the fact (Borrowed from above) they

    "mentally descend several rungs down the evolutionary ladder"

    I deal with very clever people (in their field) all the time and the stuff they come out with when faced with a PC is mind boggling . . . but the ability to use a browser to navigate the web vs performing open heart surgery aren't even in the same league in my opinion when it comes to rating intelligence! And one of those requires years of training to do correctly . .

    .. However the problem is when these same people choose to write comments like the one's in the article, I bet the majority of them reflexed after 20 seconds of not being able to get into what they thought was Facebook posted on where-ever the posts came from!!

    If you don't know much about something, that fine, I don't require people to give two sh1ts about computers, but they should accept this and ask for help, or spend the fifteen minutes required to learn how to use a browser. (accept some responsibility)

    Immediately posting comments like the above really does make these people look unbelievably arrogant and stupid. I know very little about my car, beyond driving it and the odd tinker here and there so I would never berate an expert in that field with choice language when it doesn't work once, as I may discover it is something I had done that caused the problem!!

    That would really make me feel stupid!!

    Admittedly I maybe up skilling the nation a bit here by saying they are all of open heart surgeons, but there was a point in there somewhere!

  24. Daniel 1

    indeed, you haz bin trolled

    Did someone REALLY go to the ReadWriteWeb website, mistake it for the Facebook login, and leave a snotty comment?

    Well, maybe - but just 12 comments in, we have (as you quote):

    "I just want to log in to Facebook - what with the red color and all? LOLLLOLOL!!!!!111"

    That's from 'Frederic Lardinois' (who has the good grace to include his picture)... But Frederic Lardinois is "a Writer for ReadWriteWeb, joining the team in June 2008."

    So, after a goodly bit of extra fun, fueling any apparent sense of confusion, we have John Gruber, Digg, and probably the whole of 4chan on the case....

    "ZMFG!!1! Look at al thes st00pid Facebook usres cmmnetnig on this news story!!1!!!"

    By about the 20th comment, it has become clear that the mischief-makers are in full swing, adding ever more dorky-looking 'comments' of their own. Eventually, the Readwriteweb article is, indeed, top of the Google page rank for 'Facebook login' and we have a 'story' about bewildered Facebook users hammering the comments section of some little-known on-line news website. Great. We all like a good story about how utterly stupid the rest of the human race is, because it reinforces our belief in the fact that We Really Aren't Suckers, Ourselves, doesn't it?

  25. Rodrigo Rollan
    Gates Horns

    This is Bill's Fault too !

    Dear Bill Gates,

    you made it "easy" for everyone to use a computer. Now we have to read this. Shame ! Shaaaaaaame on you ! You owe me a new set of eyes and some brain cells.

    Best regards,

    Rodrigo E. Rollan

    PS: Like Homer Jay Simpson once said "If you haven't noticed, I am being SARCASTIC"

  26. Corax


    Gods, it's like the Daily Mail in here. You guys feeling superior enough yet, or do you reckon you can find even higher horses?

    For pity's sake... So some dimbulbs made fools of themselves on a website. You act as though it doesn't happen every day.

    By the way, have some of you doing the mockery here seen your spelling? Yeah, I know: it's taboo to criticise spelling on the Interwebs because expression is more important than presentation, blah blah... But just to make the point: in the days not so long ago when spelling *was* considered important, half these comments would be ridiculed in much the same way as we're ridiculing the people we don't think are as clever as we are.

    The Internet is open now. It's not the exclusive stomping ground of a handful of academics and computer scientists any more. There are stupid people online because there are stupid people in the world, and more of the world is now online. But there are also ignorant people, mistaken people, and otherwise very clever people who nevertheless don't know much about computers.

    That a handful of impatient angries couldn't work out what they're doing or where they are might provide a reason for a bit of mickey-taking, but it doesn't give us a logical foundation for these wide-angle scatter shots at everyone who's ever accessed a social networking site or used a search engine as a shortcut if it happened to work that way.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward



  28. sabroni Silver badge


    Go and read the article about how much google makes from people who mis-type things in the address bar of their browsers. Then consider the amount of mal-ware distributed from these "typosquatting" sites.

    Going to a site you know (ie google) to safely navigate to another is not that stupid an idea.

    Reading the comments on this page gives a clear impression of just how arrogant and out of touch with real people most I.T. professionals are.

    1. Jimmy Pop

      I am not "Out of Touch"


      Now, before the name-calling begins, would you might letting me know exactly how an "It Professional" is excluded from the set "Real People"?

      Are we "Irrational" I don't think so.. (maybe we like to jump onto bogus news and laugh like hyenas, but, so what, we imagine FB users are doing exactly that with slightly more inane things, but have too few friends to check it out for ourselves, leave us this, please)

      Perhaps we are "Natural", and it is you "Real" people who are the abberations.

      In fact, we might be the "Imaginary People".. the people who actually do things you take for granted.. people must work for FB and Google.. I wonder what their names are..


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