A website that uses Google’s new logo and labels itself as a “fortunetelling” site is actually fake. The site’s intention is to raise awareness about the refugee crisis, but it starts out by mimicking Google’s search page to draw people in. Many people mistakenly believe the site, located at betagoogle.com, is run by Google. It’s actually run by a PR company.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. The Fortune-Telling Site Uses Google’s New Logo
The fortune-telling site mimics Google’s search page perfectly, even down to using Google’s new logo. Instead of a search bar, it asks you to type in a question about your future. When you start typing, it provides search terms for you, much like Google. But these pre-filled questions are based on the refugee crisis, such as “Where can I find a safe place?” or “Will humans ever stop fighting war?” Another suggested question is “Is there a place where they will accept me?”
2. It’s Labeled as a Phishing Site By Google Chrome
If you try to visit betagoogle.com and you’re using the Google Chrome browser, you’ll immediately be warned that the site is a phishing site. The warning informs you that attackers may be trying to steal your information, such as passwords or credit cards. The site doesn’t seem to be attempting to get any of this information when you visit it, but it’s best to use it with caution.
3. After You Fill Out the Search, It Takes You to a Page That Promotes Refugee Awareness
No matter what question you choose or type in yourself, you’ll be taken to a page that promotes refugee awareness. This page admits that it’s a fake Google site, although not everyone will immediately understand that this means the site isn’t sponsored by Google in anyway. The site offers several ways to spread the word about the refugee crisis. You can click on the links above for Google searches of images or videos of refugees. You can click the second link under suggestions and be taken to UNHCR’s donation page for refugees. Or you can spread the word by clicking on the Facebook or Twitter buttons. These buttons will create pre-filled messages that pretend Google has a site that predicts people’s future based on their search history.
4. The Site Was Created By a Communications Agency Called BrainMedia
The site was created by a communications agency called BrainMedia, FirstPost reported. The agency is based in the Netherlands. Jort Boot, BrainMedia’s owner, said the campaign has been successful across the world in raising awareness about the crisis. The messages that it sends out claim that the website is a “new feature” just launched by Google.
5. Google Has Its Own Page About the Refugee Crisis
Not everyone realizes that the site isn’t actually hosted or created by Google. The real Google is also addressing the refugee crisis with an active fundraising campaign. The page, called OneTogether, is sometimes referenced through a banner link at the top of Google’s search page. So far more than 10 billion has been raised globally through the site.