Thursday, December 16, 2010

Google search is not objective

A lot of people believe that Google search results from objective algorithms. In fact the operation is hand-tuned, as the UK Register explains:
Google's utopian vision of a uniquely democratic and completely objective web search engine is dead. It died about three years ago. While no one was looking, Google killed it.

Google now freely admits that its search algorithms are driven by its own "opinion." ...

Even Google's own employees continue to believe in the objectivity myth. "It's important to remember that our search results are generated objectively and are independent of the beliefs and preferences of those who work at Google," Lucinda Barlow, head of corporate communications for Google Australia, said as recently as last January.

For years, this is the way Google officially described its search results. ...

According to Cutts, Google changed its documentation in 2007 after a pair of federal courts ruled that the company's search results were protected under the First Amendment to the US Constitution, which covers "free speech." ...

Google argues that its search engine is protected in the same way a newspaper is protected.
Google search has never been objective. Google pretends to be using an objective algorithm when it is accused of favoritism, but it admits to being opinion-based in court.

Meanwhile, I prefer Yahoo search.

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