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Google’s Algorithm Is Lying to You About Onions

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, Mar 8, 2017.

  1. Melody Bot

    Your friendly little forum bot. Staff Member

    This article has been imported from for discussion. All of the forum rules still apply.

    Tom Scocca, writing for Gizmodo:

    A little under five years ago, I got angry about a piece of fake information, and I decided to do something about it. I was reading a recipe in the New York Times, and the recipe told me, as many, many recipes had told me before, that it would take about 10 minutes of cooking to caramelize onions.

    I knew from personal experience that this was a lie. Recipes always said it took 5 or 10 minutes to caramelize onions, and when you followed the recipes, you either got slightly cooked onions or you ended up 40 minutes behind schedule. So I caramelized some onions and recorded how long it really took — 28 minutes if you cooked them as hot as possible and constantly stirred them, 45 minutes if you were sane about it — and I published those results on Slate, along with a denunciation of the false five-to-10 minute standard. […]

    Not only does Google, the world’s preeminent index of information, tell its users that caramelizing onions takes “about 5 minutes” — it pulls that information from an article whose entire point was to tell people exactly the opposite. A block of text from the Times that I had published as a quote, to illustrate how it was a lie, had been extracted by the algorithm as the authoritative truth on the subject.

    There are quite a few examples of how Google’s massively dropping the ball with their “one true answer” feature.

  2. SEANoftheDEAD


    I literally just caramelized onions for the first time last week and used Google to see how long to cook them for. Now I feel jipped. Thanks Google.
  3. coleslawed

    Eat Pizza

    attn: food thread nerds
    ChaseTx and angrycandy like this.
  4. shawnhyphenray


    Umm ok
  5. BradBradley


    I can burn onions in way less than 28 minutes. Some people say it's a gift, but I like to think of it as my calling in life.
  6. heymattrick

    Pool Boy at the Vampire Mansion

    I agree with the claim, you can't get onions caramelized that quickly. A light sauté perhaps, but full on caramelization? Yeah that'll take you some time. Boycott Google obviously
  7. Kiana

    Goddamn, man child Prestigious

    Okay y'all. I swear to God I'm constantly attempting to cook things and the timing for recipes is always off. I know it can vary a bit by stove, but I've legit had recipes take like 20-30 minutes longer than it says it should and it throws off the timing of the meal and I feel really vindicated rn
    dylan and coleslawed like this.
  8. Raku


    So other than recipes, I guess Google is better for everything else?

    I guess maybe Google's weather checker would also be iffy, but that is 'convenient' so for checking the temperature outside.