Asking for trouble? Google taps Internet for n-word Android names – USA TODAY
“Please don’t call it Namey McNameface,”Â Dave Burke, Google’s vice president of engineering, told a crowd of 7,000 engineers and millions tuning into the live stream at Google’s annual IO conference.
Google is the latest to hop on board the trend of asking theÂ Internet to name new products. This time, it’sÂ AndroidÂ N,Â the latest version of the Android mobile operating system, which will begin showing up on phones later in the year. And, as Twitter users pointed out, asking the Internet to submit names that begin with “n” could very easily backfire.
“Nothing is more Google than trying to run a global naming contest and *explicitly* asking people to pick an n-word. Wonder what they’ll get,” entrepreneur and activist Anil Dash tweeted.
Dash isn’t the only one whoÂ noticed.
They areÂ right to beÂ wary. OnÂ 4chan, an image-based bulletin boardÂ forum, people are already making trouble. In the past, the Internet mob’s responses to companies asking for input have ranged from silly jokes to offensive slurs.
In 2012, when Mountain Dew asked the Internet to name a new drink in its “Dub the Dew” campaign, the results were far from savory. Top choices were: “Hitler Did Nothing Wrong,” “Fapple” and “Diabeetus.”
TrollsÂ took over VH1’s Save the Music program’s 2012 contest offering a Taylor Swift concert at a winning school. The Internet chose Horace Mann School for the Deaf because they thought itÂ would be funny for a school for non-hearing students to win a concert.Â Swift donated money and concert tickets to the students.
Even the results aren’t abusive, the outcome often goes awry. Internet users overwhelmingly voted to christen Britain’s new $300 million research ship “Boaty McBoatface” in an online naming poll.Â The government said no.
It’s not just companies asking the masses to weigh in. In 2014, an expectant dad built the website namemydaughter.com. “Cthulhu All-Spark” won the popular vote, but the parents vetoed and went withÂ Amelia Savannah Joy McLaughlin.
Sometimes, you don’t even have to ask for the Internet to meddle. Last month, Microsoft had to apologizeÂ for “unintended offensive and hurtful tweets” generated by its artificial intelligence chatbot, Tay, Â began spewing offensive dialogue after users figured out how to manipulate it.
If history tells us anything, Google might keep their veto card close.