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A Google trainee placed a fake advert across a large number of websites and apps (via The Financial Times). The trainee accidentally placed a “buy” order during a training exercise. Nobody noticed the error for 45 minutes. The incident will cost the search giant millions of dollars. The error, which happened late on Tuesday California time, saw the fake advert — a blank yellow rectangle — appear on many websites and in apps viewed in the US and Australia for a period of about 45 minutes. The failure to prevent such a basic human error is a black eye for Google, which has led the automation of online ad placement and is widely recognised as the leader in applying artificial intelligence to how such markets work.Google confirmed the mistake on Wednesday and said it would “honour payments to publishers for any ads purchased”. It would not comment on the scale of the problem, but one ad industry source put the potential cost at $10m.