An unusual glitch occurred this morning on Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s image search engine that had tongues wagging from Twitter to Reddit.

Russian accident google

Google image search glitch

This morning when someone searched for an image – any image – what popped up on screen was a the same image of a Russian car crash.

Reports began to flood social media and Google’s own support forums regarding the issue, according to press reports. Users on Twitter said they saw the repeated image of an apparent crash while people posting on Reddit suggested the incident wasn’t isolated. “This is weird. I wonder what the importance is of that photo,” noted GaynorJo88 on Reddit.

“Surely, this is a sign of the end times drawing near,” joked HerobrinesArmy on Reddit. “We can expect fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling! Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes! The dead rising from the grave! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria!”

What was the issue?  Was it Russian hackers making they point they could take down anyone in the world, even the most sophisticated tech company on the planet?

We would later learn the issue was in fact widespread, impacting all of Google’s now encrypted searches – and spanning multiple domains all across the world.

Was some evil force attempting to push their morbid proclivity for Russian automobile accidents?

Also see: FutureAdvisor Offers Asset Management Services In A Low-Fee World

Image search glitch a work of hackers?

Google, after all, recently turned on security of HTTPs, which encrypts all search engine traffic, as a method to make its platform more stable.  Could a hacker be making a mockery of this nascent effort?


In an e-mail statement to ZDNet this afternoon, Google copped to the problem with one word.

“Oops,” they said.  In other words, a technical malfunction, an accident, according to the report.

“The least we could have done was show everyone micropigs instead,” Google said in the statement, referring to the oddly cute pigs that can fit in one hand.

Google, for its part, flushed away the conspiracy hacker theory and said it was a bug and not much else.  Google’s own status site, the report noted, did not show any outages or issues, even after the bug was fixed.