Google has revealed how much it paid a former employee who managed to briefly become the owner of Google.com due to a computer glitch last year.
Sanmay Ved purchased the Google.com domain through Google’s own Google Domains service in September 2015, for the low price of $12 (£8.35).
He initially thought the listing was an error, but was surprised when his payment went through and he got a confirmation email saying he was now the owner of the world’s most-visited domain.
His ‘ownership’ of Google.com lasted for around one minute, and he even had access to the inner workings of the site – but Google quickly realised the error and refunded his purchase.
After the incident, Google contacted Ved and offered him a cash reward in exchange for spotting the unusual security error.
Neither Google nor Ved ever said what the reward was, but the company has now revealed the sum in a post on their online security blog.
Ved’s initial reward was $6,006.13, a figure which looks a little like the world ‘google’ if you squint. After learning that Ved was donating his reward to an Indian education charity, Google doubled the amount – making his total reward $12,012.26 (£8,400).
Google regularly gives financial rewards to computer researchers who alert them to bugs or errors in their services – in the blog post, they revealed that they paid out over $2 million (£1.4 million) to more than 300 security tipsters in 2015 alone.
Researcher Tomasz Bojarski was the most prolific bug-finder of 2015, spotting 70 bugs in Google throughout the year. One of these bugs, ironically, was found in the web form where users can report security flaws.