Look up “St. Louis Cardinals” or :”Cardinals” on Google right now and this is what you’ll see:
The description of the “gay butt sex”* Cardinals is an indirect hack of Google display space, made possible by reliance on Wikipedia. Change the Wikipedia entry and you can change the way something is perceived on Google and other sites piping in Wikipedia info.
The vandalized Wikipedia entry is back to “professional baseball team” now but the Google box on the Cardinals, playing the Boston Red Sox in Game 5 of the World Series tonight, has yet to catch/cache up.
* Yes, it is pathetic that this is still used as an insult.
Updated: The vandalized version was still showing on Google 90 minutes after this posted. Now it’s missing — literally. The box on the right has been removed, leaving this view at 6 pm CDT:
For comparison, here’s the Red Sox search result:
10/30/13 Update: Google told Gary Price at Search Engine Land that the problem in the Google Knowledge Graph box was “a technical issue on our end that let outdated information through.” Price is intrigued by how Google’s crawler managed to catch the vandalized Wikipedia entry, which was up only briefly. I’m still interested in why it was wrong for hours on Google and why it had to go the band aid route by removing the box temporarily.