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Google explains ‘weird’ 1975 text message bug

Image copyrightReuters

Google has addressed an unusual glitch in its Search and Assistant apps that made SMS text messages appear when specific search terms were entered.

Entering phrases including “” and “izela viagens” into the apps made the phone display a person’s text messages.

The glitch was discovered by an Android user on Reddit, who described it as “the weirdest glitch I have come by”.

Google told the BBC it was a “language detection bug” that was being fixed.

Certain phrases were “erroneously interpreted as a request to view recent text messages”.

Image caption Messages appeared in the Google search interface

Image caption Specific search terms were misinterpreted

The company said the app could only display text messages if it had been given permission to do so, and it had implemented a fix that would be distributed within a few days.

On Thursday, Google was criticised after listing “Nazism” as one of the ideologies of the California Republican political movement.

Republican politicians fumed on social media that it was an example of conservative voices being suppressed or misrepresented by technology giants.

However, Google said the information was pulled in from a Wikipedia page that had been “vandalised”.

“We have systems in place that catch vandalism before it impacts search results, but occasionally errors get through, and that’s what happened here,” the company said.

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