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How Google unwittingly busted a Chinese car theft ring

Technology giant Google is a regular in headlines across the world, mostly for innovative hardware and online products, but this is the first time we've caught wind of the company stopping crime. A fascinating writeup on The Verge tells the story of Google doing just that – in China no less.

Sophisticated and non-stop anti-fraud measures used by Google's AdWords to protect consumers from online scammers are at the heart of the story here. It seems that over the course of revising its security software back in 2010, Google started to see advertisements for normal-looking used car ads in China that had been flagged for removal.

As it turns out, the company's algorithm for detecting fraud had stumbled upon a fairly long-standing practice of car theft within China. Thieves would take a photo of a random car on the street, use the photo to place an ad online, then steal the car before selling it to an unwitting buyer. The Verge article dives in to the hows and whys behind this unlikely method of halting (or at least attempting to halt) auto-theft in the far flung country – click through and enjoy the read.

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