Google puzzled by number porn -

Google engineers are puzzled as to why if you type in a number sequence into your Google search you end up with hardcore porn.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, if you type in 4^(1/4)" you get several pages of porn links with titles such as "four guys and a hooker." If you type in other numbers you also get adult links. "1 2" -1, "1 2" -2, "h 3" –h, "1 4" -4, and "apple 1" –apple. We guess that the last one was found by someone manically typing in words connected to their favourite shiny toy, but it is not clear how anyone else spotted the bug.

It was first mentioned on the search site Quora where there was a question about what was causing this "equation porn" when users search for contradictory queries.

Although the post was last month, Google has been unable to find a fix.

Google search engineer Jeremy Hoffman said that as a web search query, [-4^(1/4)] is interpreted like [-4 "1 4"], as in 'Find me pages which contain a 1 next to a 4, but which do not contain a 4.'," he said.

This should return no results, because it is impossible to satisfy both requirements, but instead the engine thinks that some web pages 'match' these contradictory queries. "Since these are the only results that 'match' the query, they are the results that get shown," he said.

The SMH thinks that one possible reason those contradictory queries return only adult links is because it was a black hat search engine optimisation technique used by porn site operators.