Internet glitches and easter eggs have long existed and entertained, from the weird (did you know that Facebook’s notification alert actually spells out “FACE” with its musical notes?) to the downright creepy (ever been in the room when Alexa laughs out loud at random?).
This one, however, is particularly weird, involving Google and one of our favourite bands, The 1975. It was last week discovered that typing “the1975..com” into Google apps on Android phones caused your SMS messages (remember those, grandpa?) to be displayed in your search results.
“For some unexplained reason when I type in “the1975..com” (specifically with two periods) into my search bar on the default pixel launcher it displays my recent text messages through Google,” one Android user wrote on Reddit.
“It’s like just about the weirdest glitch I have come by. Is this combination just a super random coincidence or is there something else going on?”
The glitch appeared to affect many Android users, showing up in the Google Search app or Google Assistant for Pixel, Samsung, LG and Huawei phones.
Yup the the1975..com bug is for real I'm the proof. It's also there in @RedmiIndia 4 ? @xiaomi@GoogleIndia@GoogleAI @sundarpichai @manukumarjain @CNET @TechCrunch @ForbesTech @BBCTech @TechnicalGuruji @amitbhawani @phoneradarblog pic.twitter.com/WhlClrF6cS
— Saish Borkar (@borkarsaish) June 1, 2018
Yo…if you Google search the1975..com in the Google app on Android it gives you a timeline of all your texts! pic.twitter.com/vYIt9Fmthk
— Nick the Drone Guy (@nickdronesguy) May 29, 2018
It’s probable that fans of The 1975 first discovered the bug when frantically typing the URL for the band’s official website, but – conspiracy theory time! – some fans have gone as far as to suggest that Matty Healy and co could have actually been behind it themselves. “This new The 1975 promo is fucking wild,” one fan joked on Twitter.
This new The 1975 promo is fucking wild https://t.co/nvzduBPspJ
— Charlie Eqsuieqse (@geogre_j) May 31, 2018
Sure, this all sounds very far-fetched – we’re sure the band have been too busy working on their new album to achieve Russian-style hacking.
But then again, they did manage to break the BBC website last week when premiering their new single, and their new album is all about online culture and the relationships that spawn from it, so who knows what technological feats they’re capable of.
The band themselves haven’t yet responded to the (admittedly presumably innocent) glitch, but Google have started to roll out a fix for the bug. A spokesperson recently said “We are aware of a language detection bug in the Google Search app for Android which erroneously interpreted certain phrases as a request to view recent text messages,” a Google representative said. “A fix for this bug has been implemented and will roll out over the next few days.”
So, did The 1975 break Google? Probably not, but their fans have definitely inadvertently moonlighted as web security experts. Good job, all.