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from the L.A. Times

Google again suggests Creed is the worst band in the world

Creed lead singer Scott Stapp

As we know, Google can help us find the answers to a lot of questions. Who was the 21st U.S. president? What is the square root of 10 multiplied by 3? And thanks to the year-end Google Zeitgeist, released Wednesday, we can determine which SoCal school had the more popular sports program this year. (It's USC. Sorry, Bruins.)

However, the search engine generally won't provide a definitive answer for subjective questions, such as which Chinese restaurant is the best in in L.A., or which celebrity has the worst hairstyle.

But punch in the term "worst band in the world," and you might be surprised with the answer. "See results for: creed," the Google page suggests.

Creed, for those who don't remember (or who have since repressed those memories), was a popular Christian rock band in the 1990s and early part of this decade. Their hit single, "With Arms Wide Open," won a Grammy Award in 2001.

A couple years before the band broke up in 2004, lead singer Scott Stapp performed so poorly ...

... at a concert in Chicago that fans in attendance sued the group to recoup the cost of their tickets. Seriously, you can't make this stuff up.

So, what's the deal? Was Google co-founder Sergey Brin part of that class-action lawsuit, and now he's exacting revenge through the search engine?

Sadly, no. Google's search results are compiled using complex computer algorithms that are not influenced by manual intervention. No Google employee planted this Creed quip, a Google spokesperson said in an e-mail.

In fact, according to a Google blog post, the company will never manually edit search results. But software engineers will use instances similar to this one as catalysts for making changes to their search algorithms, which affect all queries, the blog post said.

The Creed joke is an oldie but goody. It has been appearing on the "worst band in the world" search page for at least two years, as evidenced by a post on the social news website Digg. The gag resurfaced this week on Digg and Reddit, a similar website.

But how did this happen in the first place? A Google spokesperson wouldn't go into specifics on how the search algorithms work.

Perhaps it was a "Google bomb," similar to President Bush's White House profile page being linked to the search "miserable failure." Or maybe the Internet's collective consciousness really does associate Creed with the title "worst band in the world."

For humor's sake, let's go with the latter.

-- Mark Milian

Photo: Creed lead singer Scott Stapp. Credit: Robert Lachman / Los Angeles Times

 
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