You are here
Google's Search Engine Discriminates in Favor of New York Times -- per Ken Auletta, "Googled" author
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Wed, 2009-11-11 12:56
Mr. Auletta explains what he learned about Google's secret search algorithm. It favors sites/results based on "wisdom of the crowds" (i.e. most traffic or links), but it also favors authoritative sites like the New York Times, because Google grants them extra ratings points that elevate them in Google's search results.
This information that Google proactively and specifically discriminates in favor of certain content over other content is a big deal for several reasons.
First, Google has long represented that it is a neutral algorithm where Internet users determine what ranks highest in searches, or in other words what content gets found and read and what doesn't.
Second, Google claims to be a believer in "openness" and "transparency" to the point of pushing for FCC transparency mandates and for the Federal Government to be more transparent. However, Google won't be transparent with the algorithm that almost a billion people rely upon to provide a neutral means to find the content of their choice, because the algorithm could be "gamed."
Third, add this latest development to the long case that Google is not neutral. (See my recent post: "Why Google is not Neutral.")
In sum, the big takeaway here is that Google's algorithm is not based just on the wisdom of the crowds, but also Google's own value judgements about the content. Google is on a slippery slope here. What is Google's objective basis for ranking one content provider over another if it is not links, traffic or some other objective measure? And why in the spirit of openness and transparency shouldn't users know what basis/values/biases Google uses to determine search results?