Google-bot inadvertently sparks $1 billion rundolphin558 writes "The comedy of errors began with just one reader who went to the South Florida Sun Sentinel's website and viewed a 2002 article on United Airlines' bankruptcy.
That single visit in the early hours of Sunday morning, a period of low traffic, apparently bumped it into a "Popular Stories" in the business section.
At 1:37am, an electronic Google program swept through the paper's website for new stories and spotted the link.
Google says its program scanned the piece and, seeing there was no 2002 dateline, indexed the article for inclusion on its news pages.
Three minutes and two seconds later, Google News readers started viewing the story on the Sun Sentinel's Web site.
Florida investment firm found the story on Monday morning with a Google search and posted a summary on the Bloomberg financial information service.
That visibility — Bloomberg is seen by thousands of investment managers and traders — sparked the run on United shares.