Friday, March 07, 2014

Fat but loveable: How the aquatic Wordbank rumbled into Google Images

Pop over to Google Images and search for wordbank. You’ll see some surprising creatures.

Why on Earth does Google think walruses are “wordbanks”? This is an interesting consideration if you’re interested in unpicking Google’s algorithmic thoughts and the influence of certain social platforms.



Like so many quirks of the internet – the wordbank began on Reddit. Jim Ruderer shared a picture of a class assignment completed by his five year old son to /r/funny.



The five year old had confused seal and walrus and had taken the name “wordbank” from the wordbank he was using and applied that to the walrus. Reddit found it funny. They found it so funny that Reddit was cracking wordbank jokes for days. Threads included;

  1. Just a Wordbank relaxing on a beach
  2. A newborn baby Wordbank
  3. Highly evolved bipedal Wordbank
  4. John Lennon: the obvious next step in the “wordbank” saga.
  5. A wordbank asleep on top of a Russian Submarine

There are many, many more.

Yes, Reddit’s fond of Imgur.

CNN covered the story. Google, though, was faster; and Wordbanks started to invade the Image SERPs.

Needless to say many of these threads have very few links and almost no inbound links from external sources. However, they have frequent mentions of Wordbank and Reddit’s impressive weight behind them.

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