Beware of Misidentified Animators on Google

Don’t believe everything you read—or see—online. One of the newer Google search features is to include a biography box for individuals who have entries on Wikipedia. The problem is that Google’s algorithms occasionally select random photos to include as part of these profiles. So, we end up with situations like the above in which Beauty and the Beast co-director Gary Trousdale is depicted as Disney producer Don Hahn.

Or how about director Bob McKimson substituting for director Frank Tashlin?

And I don’t even know how this one happened: Disney director Clyde Geronimi (Sleeping Beauty) is replaced by U.S. Senator John McCain.


  • hobgoblin

    Now that’s funny.

  • Mark Mayerson

    Every time I do a Google image search for someone famous, like movie actors, there are always incorrect photos. Google images only has value if you know what your search subject looks like.

  • jhalpernkitcat

    The John McCain one is the funniest to me.

  • Shmorky

    it used to be when you searched for Michael Dorn a picture of a white guy showed up. This system has been pretty messed up for a while!

  • Trok

    The picture may be wrong but you’ll end up clicking a link to the correct information and more then likely come across the correct image in that link. Doesn’t seem like a big deal to be reporting about?

    • AmidAmidi

      Trok – When you click on the pictures of those artists, the links take the user to random sites on the Internet where those artists are also misidentified. So you are incorrect in your claim that the user ends up with correct identifications.

      There are many websites with correct photos of these artists, but Google is deliberately creating confusion by promoting random websites that contain misinformation. I’d say that’s a big deal.

      • Dean Deanington

        Well, I agree with Amid, it’s a big deal. I will say, it seems to be about how Google decides what image to choose. It’s probably based on how much information is available, how accurate it is, and how popular the site is where the information is. Dohn Hahn is labeled incorrectly because Rotten Tomatoes, a popular site labeled him incorrectly. So that’s based on overall popularity. Frank Tashlin is labeled incorrectly because a blog author celebrated his 100th anniversary and except for that one photo, included a lot of information that the Google algorithm would have been able to cross reference and identify as correct. The author even used a correct photo at the bottom of the post. So that’s based on overall correct information. And there must be very little on Clyde Geronimi to use because it’s based on a humourous political article that used a Disney photo of Cruella De Ville. All the details were given, including the three directors, one of which was Clyde Geronimi. So that’s probably based on an overall lack of information. Just explaining my theory, because I’m sure no one is going thru and choosing photos by hand. But I’m not excusing Google. Incorrect information is incorrect information and if it can be fixed by Google, it should be. If anything, they seem to be encouraging people not be concerned about having information themselves, they can just google it. If you have a question, Google will answer it. So from a business and trust standpoint, they do have an obligation to make sure the information is accurate if they want people to rely on them for information above all others.

  • http://twitter.com/robertkohr Robert Kohr

    Not surprised since Wikipedia is self editable. Note to self make a wiki page for myself :P

  • Natalie Belton

    All of these photos are coming from Wikipedia…

    • AmidAmidi

      No, they’re not coming from Wikipedia.

  • tim elliot

    It looks like it’s picking up Clyde Geronimi from this mislabeled image:

    http://www.dvdsreleasedates.com/portrait/17890/Clyde-Geronimi.html

    (basically it’s using google images to search for the bio picture. the first result is that mislabed image above):

    https://www.google.com/search?q=Clyde+Geronimi&client=firefox-a&hs=JIl&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=fflb&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=24J0UbbEN-afiAKFh4DgDg&ved=0CAoQ_AUoAQ&biw=1920&bih=1096)

  • tim elliot

    wait… talk about mislabing… there is a add here on cartoon brew on the right for “Mororcycle technition training”!!! and it actually takes you to a school for learning how to work on bikes!

    • Animator606432

      Lulz, of course. I mean the DREAM job for an animation lover is to work on motorcycles.