Why Google thinks Cnut the Great looks like Ryan Giggs.

Cnut/Giggs results.

Cnut/Giggs results.

In response to a search for information on Cnut the Great, Google offered up this rather unexpected match. After a little more digging, it appears that the confusion arose from a recent iteration of the Google search algorithm that leans towards topicality. It evidently concluded that the most recent image of the person identified as (or rather with) Cnut was of greater relevance than some old painting, or coin.

The reason it reached this conclusion is that there are a large number of articles proposing that the footballer had attempted to hold back a (metaphorical) tide of information with a gagging order, in much the same way that the 11th century king of England, Norway and Denmark was said to have attempted to hold back a (literal) tide of water with a royal command. Well, I say in much the same way, but I do of course mean in a completely different way that:

A: Bears no scrutiny whatsoever.

B: Is based on the misconception that Cnut actually attempted to hold back the tide, which he didn’t – he was in fact demonstrating the frailty and limitations of mortal power to his courtiers. And when I say ‘in fact’, I actually mean ‘so the story goes’.

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1 Response

  1. I call photoshop! Ive just done three GIS searches for Cnut and I’m getting a leading scottish politician, a well known presenter of a motoring program, and an education minister…

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