If you were using Google to search for links pertaining to the burgeoning refugee crisis in Europe, especially the Balkans, you might perchance come upon a site called betagoogle.com. And if you have a penchant to have your fortune told, well you'll bite the bait offered here. This is what you would come across:


Notice that the logo is the new Google logo. Don't be fooled that this is indeed a site driven by Google. No, it's an intelligent creation by a company called BrainMedia, a 'fake site Google" site that invites you to find out your future!

Start typing in your question and the first surprise appears. WYTINWYG! What you type is not what you get! Instead, the cyberghostly site takes control and autofills in the question: ""Where can I find a safe place?" Some other options also pop up but they don't work. However, you now have the option of pressing a button that says: Predict my future!

Ha, Ha! The next page is an anticlimax of sorts! Here's what it says:

predict your future refugees
betagoogle's predict your future pagebetagoogle screenshot

Click on the links at the top of the page and you will be directed to Google 'images of refugees' and 'videos of refugees'. Under 'Suggestions', you can click on 'Or donate to one of the charities' and you will be taken to the UNHCR - The UN Refugee Agency where you can make a secure donation if the plight of the more than half a million refugees, displaced from the war-torn regions of Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, who are trekking across European nation-states trying to find a safe place to live in.

betagoogle.com is the brainchild of Jort Boot, owner of BrainMedia, a communications agency called BrainMedia, from the Netherlands. The campaign has been successful in raising awareness about the refugee crisis since it was launched in mid-September, he says.

Google, of course, has its own online fundraising effort to help the hapless refugees. It's called onetoday and $10 billion has been raised through it towards the cause of the refugees. Here you can make donations to UNHCR, Save the Children, Doctors without Borders and International Rescue Committee.

In any case, fake or not, the betagoogle campaign using the bait-and-switch trick continues to raise awareness about the refugee crisis which is, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel put it at the EU summit on 25 October, "one of the greatest litmus tests that Europe has ever faced".