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Thread: Google Employees to Alter Search Results

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    Arena Senior Member Crazed Rabbit's Avatar
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    Default Google Employees to Alter Search Results

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/12...ing_revisited/

    Google this week admitted that its staff will pick and choose what appears in its search results. It's a historic statement - and nobody has yet grasped its significance.

    Not so very long ago, Google disclaimed responsibility for its search results by explaining that these were chosen by a computer algorithm. The disclaimer lives on at Google News, where we are assured that:

    The selection and placement of stories on this page were determined automatically by a computer program.

    A few years ago, Google's apparently unimpeachable objectivity got some people very excited, and technology utopians began to herald Google as the conduit for a new form of democracy. Google was only too pleased to encourage this view. It explained that its algorithm "relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page's value. "

    That Google was impartial was one of the articles of faith. For if Google was ever to be found to be applying subjective human judgment directly on the process, it would be akin to the voting machines being rigged.

    For these soothsayers of the Hive Mind, the years ahead looked prosperous. As blog-aware marketing and media consultants, they saw a lucrative future in explaining the New Emergent World Order to the uninitiated. (That part has come true - Web 2.0 "gurus" now advise large media companies).

    It wasn't surprising, then, that when five years ago I described how a small, self-selected number of people could rig Google's search results, the reaction from the people doing the rigging was violently antagonistic. Who lifted that rock? they cried.

    But what was once Googlewashing by a select few now has Google's active participation.

    This week Marissa Meyer explained that editorial judgments will play a key role in Google searches. It was reported by Tech Crunch proprietor Michael Arrington - who Nick Carr called the "Madam of the Web 2.0 Brothel" - but its significance wasn't noted. The irony flew safely over his head at 30,000 feet. Arrington observed:

    Mayer also talked about Google’s use of user data created by actions on Wiki search to improve search results on Google in general. For now that data is not being used to change overall search results, she said. But in the future it’s likely Google will use the data to at least make obvious changes. An example is if “thousands of people” were to knock a search result off a search page, they’d be likely to make a change.

    Now what, you may be thinking, is an "obvious change"? Is it one that is frivolous? (Thereby introducing a Google Frivolitimeter™ [Beta]). Or is it one that goes against the grain of the consensus? If so, then who decides what the consensus must be? Make no mistake, Google is moving into new territory: not only making arbitrary, editorial choices - really no different to Fox News, say, or any other media organization. It's now in the business of validating and manufacturing consent: not only reporting what people say, but how you should think.

    Who's hand is upon the wheel, here?

    None of this would matter, if it wasn't for one other trend: a paralysing loss of confidence in media companies.

    Today, Google's cute little explanation of being "uniquely democratic" is no longer present on that page. A subtly different explanation has taken its place - one which acknowledges that in the new democracy of Web 2.0, some votes are more equal than others.

    PageRank also considers the importance of each page that casts a vote, as votes from some pages are considered to have greater value, thus giving the linked page greater value. We have always taken a pragmatic approach to help improve search quality and create useful products, and our technology uses the collective intelligence of the web to determine a page's importance.
    Google's New Age motto

    Picture culled from Google's 2006 analyst presentation

    So you see, it's not rigged! How could Google "rig" a system that only reflects our finest and most noble sentiments back at us - mediated by a technocratic priesthood of unquestionable moral authority?

    Google has taken Googlewashing in house.
    Great. Another site where users might be able to influence the results, and large amounts of users could change the results to suit their preferences. Look at Digg, where hordes of people can vote down stories they don't like. It could be the tyranny of the majority, with the consensus views of the activists willing to participate imposed on everyone.

    I love the "some pages are more equal than others" form Google as well.

    CR
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    Spirit King Senior Member seireikhaan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Google Employees to Alter Search Results

    Quote Originally Posted by Crazed Rabbit View Post
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/12...ing_revisited/



    Great. Another site where users might be able to influence the results, and large amounts of users could change the results to suit their preferences. Look at Digg, where hordes of people can vote down stories they don't like. It could be the tyranny of the majority, with the consensus views of the activists willing to participate imposed on everyone.

    I love the "some pages are more equal than others" form Google as well.

    CR
    Tyranny of the majority? You mean like how the majority of people have voted to ban gay marriage? Or the majority of people think we should be a democratic republic? Or the majority of people apparently thought Barack Obama was a more suitable candidate for president than John McCain? Isn't "tyranny of the majority" exactly how democracy functions?
    It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then, the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.

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    Default Re: Google Employees to Alter Search Results

    Without the activist judges that CR hates, yep thats preaty much the defination. They were there for a reason.


    Back on topic though, I'm dissapointed in google, but I'll withhold my judgement until I see the actual effect it has.
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    Relentless Bughunter Senior Member FactionHeir's Avatar
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    Default Re: Google Employees to Alter Search Results

    I suppose them spammers can use their IPs to up their spam sites even more now?
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    Darkside Medic Senior Member rory_20_uk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Google Employees to Alter Search Results

    Google needs revenue streams. Now you can pay for the editors to bump you up a bit on the rankings and not appear as an advert.

    An enemy that wishes to die for their country is the best sort to face - you both have the same aim in mind.
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    has a Senior Member HoreTore's Avatar
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    Default Re: Google Employees to Alter Search Results

    Hmmmm..... CR, why is it a problem that a privately owned company chooses to run it like they want to?
    Still maintain that crying on the pitch should warrant a 3 match ban

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    German Enthusiast Member Alexanderofmacedon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Google Employees to Alter Search Results

    Quote Originally Posted by HoreTore View Post
    Hmmmm..... CR, why is it a problem that a privately owned company chooses to run it like they want to?
    My original thought exactly.


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    Horse Archer Senior Member Sarmatian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Google Employees to Alter Search Results

    Quote Originally Posted by HoreTore View Post
    Hmmmm..... CR, why is it a problem that a privately owned company chooses to run it like they want to?
    Let's say a musician organizes a concert in some city. It's fully within his rights to advertise that concert on TV station, which is privately owned, right? No problem there, totally legal.

    But what happens if that TV station has an informative show called let's say "Where to go out tonight" where it presents the most important happenings in town on that night? Now if that same musician pays that privately owned company to say that the best place to be tonight is his concert and to ignore/tone down the other stuff that's happening in a show that's supposed to be informative and objective - that's illegal.

    Same thing with google - if results appear on top as payed adverts that's fine. On the other hand, if they tamper with search results arbitrarily deciding which are more important, it leaves much room for abuse.
    Last edited by Sarmatian; 12-15-2008 at 02:50.

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    Bopa Member Incongruous's Avatar
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    Default Re: Google Employees to Alter Search Results

    Quote Originally Posted by seireikhaan View Post
    Tyranny of the majority? You mean like how the majority of people have voted to ban gay marriage? Or the majority of people think we should be a democratic republic? Or the majority of people apparently thought Barack Obama was a more suitable candidate for president than John McCain? Isn't "tyranny of the majority" exactly how democracy functions?


    Awsome, the rightousness of that statement was freakin sweet

    You didn't even really attempt to say anything about the issues of this, you just pulled out the sniper rifle.
    Last edited by Incongruous; 12-15-2008 at 04:31.

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    Poll Smoker Senior Member CountArach's Avatar
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    Default Re: Google Employees to Alter Search Results

    Quote Originally Posted by HoreTore View Post
    Hmmmm..... CR, why is it a problem that a privately owned company chooses to run it like they want to?


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    Spirit King Senior Member seireikhaan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Google Employees to Alter Search Results

    Quote Originally Posted by Bopa the Magyar View Post


    Awsome, the rightousness of that statement was freakin sweet
    Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bopa the Magyar View Post
    You didn't even really attempt to say anything about the issues of this, you just pulled out the sniper rifle.
    Very well. Google is a private enterprise. It can run its business however the heck it wants to, so long as its practices aren't illegal. If CR thinks they are behaving in an unethical manner, than he should inform his state representatives to bring the issue before either state or federal government so as to bring an investigation into Google's enterprise. However, for the time being, he could simply issue a silent protest by using the host of other search engines in existence. That is what's supposed to be, after all, the bedrock of Capitalism.
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    Probably Drunk Member Reverend Joe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Google Employees to Alter Search Results

    I'm gonna forget intelligent conversation and just go with my gut instinct to scream out:

    INGSOC! INGSOC!

    Because sometimes the finer details distract you from a blatant and ugly truth.

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    Bopa Member Incongruous's Avatar
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    Default Re: Google Employees to Alter Search Results

    Quote Originally Posted by seireikhaan View Post
    Very well. Google is a private enterprise. It can run its business however the heck it wants to, so long as its practices aren't illegal. If CR thinks they are behaving in an unethical manner, than he should inform his state representatives to bring the issue before either state or federal government so as to bring an investigation into Google's enterprise. However, for the time being, he could simply issue a silent protest by using the host of other search engines in existence. That is what's supposed to be, after all, the bedrock of Capitalism.


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    The Usual Member Ice's Avatar
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    Default Re: Google Employees to Alter Search Results

    Quote Originally Posted by seireikhaan View Post
    Tyranny of the majority? You mean like how the majority of people have voted to ban gay marriage?
    Yes
    Or the majority of people think we should be a democratic republic?
    Oh I don't know about that. 50.0000001% of Americans may feel we should be a true democracy.

    Or the majority of people apparently thought Barack Obama was a more suitable candidate for president than John McCain?
    Majority of State Electoral Votes
    Isn't "tyranny of the majority" exactly how democracy functions?
    It's exactly how it functions. This is a very good argument against a fully democratic system of government.



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    L'Etranger Senior Member Banquo's Ghost's Avatar
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    Default Re: Google Employees to Alter Search Results

    Is there a viable alternative? Because while Google might be a private company, it has a near monopoly it seems.

    I would agree with CR's sentiments, though I was and am far more concerned about Google's actions on behalf of tyrannical governments like the Chinese than the ranking of online shopping outlets.
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    TexMec Senior Member Louis VI the Fat's Avatar
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    Default Re : Google Employees to Alter Search Results

    Google has been rather disappointing in its behaviour and ethics.


    As for 'free market' and 'private enterprises can do as they please': there are no free markets. Markets are created firstly, and secondly, no market functions fully in accordance with all the theoretical demands of a capitalist free market. Thirdly, markets serve society, not the other way round.

    The functioning of private enterprises is a concern of all. A large semi-monopolistic, at least oligarchistic, corporation that controls access to information is not free to do as it please, it has too large of a social effect.

    Either the goverment creates a functioning market. Which in the information and communication industry seems nigh impossible. It is a 'winner takes it all' market.
    Or one keeps close watch on the free and unrestricted access to information. In the absense of functioning market mechanisms, governments or consumers must keep corporations on a tight leash.

    The lash over corporations like Google and Microsoft, I say.
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    has a Senior Member HoreTore's Avatar
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    Default Re: Re : Google Employees to Alter Search Results

    Quote Originally Posted by Louis VI the Fat View Post
    As for 'free market' and 'private enterprises can do as they please': there are no free markets. Markets are created firstly, and secondly, no market functions fully in accordance with all the theoretical demands of a capitalist free market. Thirdly, markets serve society, not the other way round.
    COMMUNIST!!
    Still maintain that crying on the pitch should warrant a 3 match ban

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    Formerly Wigferth Ironwall Senior Member Philippus Flavius Homovallumus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Google Employees to Alter Search Results

    No, he's just French.

    The problem is that Google is international, so which government regulates it?

    The US? Biased.

    France? Biased.

    The UK? Biased.

    China? Biased.

    Iraq? Biased.

    Switzerland? Biased.

    So we're back to square one, unless the UN supervises it, in which case all result will end up being approved by the Security Council and your search will take a year. Beyond the issue of regulation is the issue of funding, if Google argues that the government is forcing it to perform a public service and cut its profits, does it then deserve government subsidy?

    The best thing to do would be to encourage media coverage and show Google that's market share is based on its perceived impartiality.
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    Insomniac and tired of it Senior Member Slyspy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Google Employees to Alter Search Results

    I enjoyed the phrases "soothsayers of the Hive Mind", "New Emergent World Order" and "technocratic priesthood of unquestionable moral authority".
    "Put 'em in blue coats, put 'em in red coats, the bastards will run all the same!"

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    Iron Fist Senior Member Husar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Google Employees to Alter Search Results

    Quote Originally Posted by Philipvs Vallindervs Calicvla View Post
    The problem is that Google is international, so which government regulates it?
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    *mumbles something about world government into his nonexistant beard*


    Well, each and every government has to regulate it for the respective country, google already did some things in China which China requested if I'm not mistaken. If you thought everybody on the world searches using the "same" google, then you were mistaken anyway, youtube already blocks certain videos for certain countries and youtube is, as you may know, owned by google.
    Here I cannot use www.gmail.com anymore and have to use mail.google.com or something like that because gmail is somehow a trademark of someone else or whatever, at least that's what the error message said when I tried to look at my emails one day.


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    Sovereign Oppressor Member TIE Fighter Shooter Champion, Turkey Shoot Champion, Juggler Champion Kralizec's Avatar
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    Default Re: Google Employees to Alter Search Results

    It's a private company. Until someone dies from watching their badly edited search results, I say they should be able to do as they please.

    That said, I seriously wish there was an existing search engine equal to google.

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    TexMec Senior Member Louis VI the Fat's Avatar
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    Default Re : Re: Re : Google Employees to Alter Search Results

    Quote Originally Posted by HoreTore View Post
    COMMUNIST!!
    When I say that I want a capitalist market, people call me a saint. When I point out that some markets fall short of capitalist ideals, they call me a communist.


    Free enterprise is not the goal of capitalism. Functioning markets is the goal. This distinction is lost almost as much as the more famous one about 'democracy'. Majority dictatorship is not the goal of democracy, instead, the inalieable granting of voice, vote and rights to all is.


    perfect market
    A perfectly competitive market may have several distinguishing characteristics, including:

    - Many buyers/Many Sellers – Many consumers with the willingness and ability to buy the product at a certain price, Many producers with the willingness and ability to supply the product at a certain price.
    - Homogeneous Products – The products of the different firms are EXACTLY the same, e.g. salt.
    - Low-Entry/Exit Barriers – It is relatively easy to enter or exit as a business in a perfectly competitive market.
    - Perfect Information - For both consumers and producers.[2]
    - Firms Aim to Maximize Profits - Firms aim to sell where marginal costs meet marginal revenue, where they generate the most profit.


    No market functions perfectly. Some, however, blatantly dysfuntion. For example, the demand for an industry standard guarantees Microsoft a virtual monopoly. (Who wants to learn how to operate a computer with an entirely new system every two years? What computer games would stil be developed if it could only work on five, instead of ninety percent of computers?)

    In the case of search engines, Google enjoys, for various reasons, too big of a monopoly for a functioning market. Uneasyness about this is not a sign of communism, but of capitalist adherence.


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    The Black Senior Member Papewaio's Avatar
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    Cool Re: Google Employees to Alter Search Results

    Meh plenty of giants of the computer world have been and gone down to quiet shadows of their past glory.

    Yahoo
    Alta Vista
    Digital
    Compaq now just a byline.
    Netscape
    Apple, been, almost extinct and came back.

    It could be something as simple as this that cause a ripple to take down Google.

    Maybe something cool will come along and shatter them.
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    The Black Senior Member Papewaio's Avatar
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    Wink Re: Re : Re: Re : Google Employees to Alter Search Results

    Quote Originally Posted by Louis VI the Fat View Post
    No market functions perfectly. Some, however, blatantly dysfuntion. For example, the demand for an industry standard guarantees Microsoft a virtual monopoly. (Who wants to learn how to operate a computer with an entirely new system every two years? What computer games would stil be developed if it could only work on five, instead of ninety percent of computers?)
    The irony being that MS makes a new OS every couple of years to sell more product and making its loyal consumers learn new ways of doing old things.

    Also it isn't so much the OS that determines what computer games work (a lot run their own shell) it is the hardware... so once Apple went Intel they became far more game friendly.
    Our genes maybe in the basement but it does not stop us chosing our point of view from the top.
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    Quote Originally Posted by English assassin
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    Quote Originally Posted by frogbeastegg View Post
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  25. #25
    The very model of a modern Moderator Xiahou's Avatar
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    Default Re: Google Employees to Alter Search Results

    Quote Originally Posted by HoreTore View Post
    Hmmmm..... CR, why is it a problem that a privately owned company chooses to run it like they want to?
    Google is free to run it's search results however they want. And CR is free to complain about it as much as he wants. If he thinks their behavior might become unethical and wants to alert other Google consumers he absolutely should. If enough people agree with him, Google will change it's policies. Amazing how that works, huh?

    For my part, I still use Google's search engine as a matter of convenience- but I'm certainly open to alternatives. However, I don't use Gmail, Google Earth or any of their other garbage. I've had the sneaking suspicion for a while now that Google is getting a little too big for their britches and I don't care for it.
    Last edited by Xiahou; 12-15-2008 at 22:12.
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    Needs more flowers Moderator drone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Google Employees to Alter Search Results

    Quote Originally Posted by Xiahou View Post
    For my part, I still use Google's search engine as a matter of convenience- but I'm certainly open to alternatives. However, I don't use Gmail, Google Earth or any of their other garbage. I've had the sneaking suspicion for a while now that Google is getting a little too big for their britches and I don't care for it.


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    Default Re: Google Employees to Alter Search Results

    Quote Originally Posted by Philipvs Vallindervs Calicvla View Post
    So we're back to square one, unless the UN supervises it, in which case all result will end up being approved by the Security Council and your search will take a year.
    So would that be Oil for Information or Information for Food or ..... oh nevermind.
    "The only way that has ever been discovered to have a lot of people cooperate together voluntarily is through the free market. And that's why it's so essential to preserving individual freedom.” -- Milton Friedman

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  28. #28
    Member Member Alexander the Pretty Good's Avatar
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    Default Re: Google Employees to Alter Search Results

    Money for nothing and Annan for free?
    Last edited by Alexander the Pretty Good; 12-17-2008 at 05:31.

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