"Google should not have denied that they have the ability to hand-edit results, but equally, they are not in the business of censorship - that is a matter for governments and only for governments."
I think that was what GG was trying to clarify earlier.
Asking what may be a bit off topic, but how did such a site get such high position for such a common, competitive term?
It's through a combination of on-page and off-page factors. There are several hours worth of reading on this subject on these fora if you've got the time :)
|Material that is legally held in one library may be illegal in another. |
Its worth noting that, in most countries, libraries can 'hold' whatever they like. The distinction lies between what is on the shelves for public view, and what can only be seen for legitimate academic / research reasons.
This is the problem with search engines (and of course it is not solely Google's problem, although they've been singled out here.)
Search engines don't only provide the whole catalogue (like a library), but you are also free to jump into the subject matter, largely without restriction.
(Unless it's another one of Am*zon's bl*ody trillions of top Google listings, where you've got to 1) buy the book and 2) wait a couple of days to see your G "results" :)
( - inserts second plank)
This is a great thought-provoking post!
I think this quote from Arthur C Clarke sums it up:
"In the struggle for freedom of information, technology not politics will be the ultimate decider"
Anyone notice the new disclaimer at the top of the disputed search resutlts?
Offensive Search Results
www.google.com/explanation We're disturbed about these results as well. Please read our note here.
Photon, until a couple of hours ago they were also displaying sponsored results on this search for ebay UK that said "Jew for sale, bargain Jew Onsale at ebay UK." The penny must have eventually dropped on this one and and they can apparently change the sponsored results quite easily.
Incidentally if you do a search for Muslim it would appear that you can also get bargain Muslims on eBay UK. Shocking!
You'll have to be quick if you want to see this because the penny will soon drop on this one too and they WILL change the sponsored results.
If their search results are purely from their algorithm, why would Yahoo and MSN have a PR9. Not too long ago I saw some big sites like HP have a PR10.
"The only sites we omit are those we are legally compelled to remove or those maliciously attempting to manipulate our results."
the latter ommisions is interesting. A spammer may not necessarily be malicious. It can be simple economics without malice.
Without getting involved in silly semantics it is a an interesting choice of words for google.
Malicious \Ma*li"cious\, a. [Of. malicius, F. malicieux, fr. L. malitiosus. See Malice.] 1. Indulging or exercising malice; harboring ill will or enmity.
I grant him bloody, . . . Sudden, malicious, smacking of every sin That has a name. --Shak.
2. Proceeding from hatred or ill will; dictated by malice; as, a malicious report; malicious mischief.
3. (Law)With wicked or mischievous intentions or motives; wrongful and done intentionally without just cause or excuse; as, a malicious act.
Has anyone seen Google disavow their results for any other search term?
|If their search results are purely from their algorithm, why would Yahoo and MSN have a PR9. Not too long ago I saw some big sites like HP have a PR10. |
Just guessing here, but they consider themselves the premier site on that category, and those other two "second-tier". While HP might be considered within the premier sites on its category.
Also because it is their algo. :D
"If their search results are purely from their algorithm, why would Yahoo and MSN have a PR9. Not too long ago I saw some big sites like HP have a PR10.
Hello, LucidDreams, welcome to WebmasterWorld! If you're asking whether Google somehow gave one of those companies a lower PageRank, the answer is no.
Kudos to Google for never deviating from the theory that their job is to catalog web pages and rank them by relevance rather than content.
Search engines shouldn't rate content, that's up to individual users. Search engines should simply tell the user what is available for them to view and let the user make their own decisions about which sites are of value and which aren't. That's 1/2 the fun of surfing the web.
I believe that when SE's begin to editiorialize it devalues the Internet as a whole.
Once outside the Berkeley campus I saw a person, apparently a KKK member, with a high flag. A group of students gathered around him and started arguing with him and urged him to leave.
I tried to stop the students but failed. He left quickly. He seemed like a harmless guy to me with some serious grievances. I think it would have been better for his mental health if somebody listened to him. I am all for his right to say things against a person like me.
Same goes with internet. If this site is brought down or pushed down in ranking, his grievances is not going to go away and might take more dangerous turn. Best thing is to let him express his view as long as they don't promote violence against children or such things. It seems like this site had some allegations of "media domination" that does not allow diverse opinions to be expressed and pushing down that site, ironically, would have allowed this view to gain more creditibity.
"We're disturbed about these results as well. Please read our note here."
I'd think that a better word to use would have been "concerned" rather than "disturbed". No reason at all that Google should be disturbed that a politically charged word would generate controversial SERPs. Google should just be concerned that people will misinterpret the significance of a SERP. Google isn't a human edited directory. Thus, with politically controvesial SERPs sites with varying perspectives would come up. A SE algo shouldn't be politically biased.
I do commend Google for what is on that explanation page. Exactly what I would have hoped for.
One thing that disturbed me about that explanation was Google's assertion that it uses "thousands of factors" (emphasis mine) to determine the rankings. So far, I was under the impression that it was "hundreds of factors" only. Time to buy a supercomputer to crack the G-algo. :)
|"We're disturbed about these results as well. Please read our note here." |
Wow. I'm impressed by the way they've tackled their problem.
Nicely done, Google.
"We're disturbed about these results as well. Please read our note here."
Shameful that someone has to express their opinion when giving supposedly unbiased results - but then with the amount of whining about people not being able to express their opinions openly in a country where we have people dying currently overseas defending just that freedom, is about par for the people that get offended by anything now-a-days around here.
If you don't like someone's opinion - move on - and if you want to hold an opposing opinion, fortunately you live in a country where you are allowed to
In response to the post about newspapers not having a political bent just because they are the major newspapers, you might want to check that theory on the editorial pages and read some history of the NY Times and Wash Post - they have presented political sides that have made or broken elections in the past for a party - and their editors are very open about their political views - and would never apologize (and shouldnt) just because you don't happen to agree with their view.
I think this explanation was overdone. In my view, there was no need for this explanation on top of the serps. Instead, visitors who were disturbed and went to Contact Google page could have been directed to this page by asking "Are you here for the hate group controversy?"
What's next? If somebody complains about my site, is Google going to put up a similar explanation stating that "Ignore IITian's site. He is just a malcontent who does not know what he is doing. The search term he is number one for happens once in 10 times, all of which have come from the same IP address. For the official version of events please go to ..."
I think by adding that explanation, Google got involved in editorial issues.
|Google got involved in editorial issues |
Perhaps one could see it that way, but I think the idea of using a typical sponsored link is a great idea of a way to be 'editorial' and yet be just like the others.
Consider this, it APPEARS that any of us, with the money, could have bought that space. Google is doing it themselves and it IS an editorial, but it is disguised as an ad.
Which is worse?
An editorial that is really an ad or an ad that is really an editorial?
Google has accidently(?) stumbled onto a killer way to focus people to click on ads...because they have an editorial behind it.
Regardless of the content of the SERPs, the ad/editorial on the SERP is a great idea. I hope we see it the future on other pages of Google.
(Does anyone sense a 'content-editorial' position for Google coming up for the AdWords team, soon?)
>Consider this, it APPEARS that any of us, with the money, could have bought that space.
True. That is the problem. Even though no explict exchange of money took place, essentially the SEARCH department paid money to the AD department. If ADL or some other groups did it, it would have been okay.
On a lighter note, there is no requirement for Google to show all results in the same font or color. It could have made this result invisible by blending it with the background.
|rfgdxm1: "A SE algo shouldn't be politically biased. I do commend Google for what is on that explanation page." |
By their "explanation", they're showing political bias, albeit in a small way. The fact is, they've expressed a view on their SERPS, almost as if to apologize for it. A dangerous precedent in my opinion. And I don't like the assumption they made on my behalf: that the SERPS offended me - because it didn't. No matter how much I might disagree with the views on a website, I'm still capable of simply deciding it's rubbish and walking away from it without actually being offended.
|A dangerous precedent in my opinion. And I don't like the assumption they made on my behalf: that the SERPS offended me - because it didn't. |
I agree with Patrick Taylor. In specific, that offensive site on the search is, contrary to what Google claims is *relevant*. An irrelevant site in that SERP would be something like one about cat food. I just ran a Google search for George W Bush. In the top 10 at this moment I see 5 pro-Bush and governmental sites, 3 anti-Bush sites, 1 parody site, and one site by someone who thinks he looks like a chimpanzee?! Should Google need an "explanation" page about the fact some sites on the SERP for the current US president's name are saying bad things about him?
Here we have Google, themselves, actually showing us how to present an ad that gets clicks. Think about that.
They've slightly delved(sp?) into editorial via ads. I think that's a brilliant way to get Adwords clicked on.
Imagine the ad/editorial for "wardrobe malfunction"? Via "Paul, Google employee in engineering at the Southern Acres plant"? With a little humor thrown in? It's about being REAL with the audience.
I've never read the Cluetrain Manifesto, but I'm pretty sure this falls right in line with it..
"I think by adding that explanation, Google got involved in editorial issues"
That's exactly right and for the same reasons (liability etc.) they don't want to hand edit the serps... they got sucked into this one. I agree 100% with the George Bush example... this particular serp no matter how distasteful the site is not about "catfood" or the like. There are alot of backlinks evidently to the site with the term... that's one of the algo factors we all know and for a non-competitive term... (yes non-competitive because it is not a $10+ adwords word) backlinks are usually enough as we see with other google-bombings for terms that nobody really would expect to get a relevant result for anyway. The whole thing is overblown and just another excuse to "pile-on" google right about now. The tone of the title promotes the "pile-on" I don't think Google ever said they *can't* change the results. If it ever could be inferred it has long since been addressed by GG.
so if they do nothing they are wrong and if they do something they are wrong?
Nevertheless, I have to agree. It was best to just comment if media or people asked and leave it alone.
Did nobody notice that the "offending" site moved to the number 2 position earlier today?
LoanUniverse said ...
"Nevertheless, I have to agree. It was best to just comment if media or people asked and leave it alone."
Correct IMHO. If Google wants to remain objective I don't think that there is any reason for them to be "disturbed" about anything that appears, even though they are responsible for the algorithm which permits this to happen.
I still say they should be disturbed about what I highlighted in message 45. A search for Muslim still produces the following sponsored result:
Muslim For Sale
On Sale at eBay UK! (aff)
Disturbing or what?
|Did nobody notice that the "offending" site moved to the number 2 position earlier today? |
It's number 4 from over here.
And if activate SafeSearch it disappears totally. But then I wouldn't have anything to whine about. ;)
I thinks Google's message is perfectly reasonable, and sensible.
It backs up what they claim about their editorial stance, and gives their editorial view, without interfering with the SERPs.
It also replaces the Eb*y advert (clearly designed to mop up all search terms not used by others - by some sort of special agreement) which offered J*ws at bargain prices. I drew attention to this, but my post was apparently pulled. This sort of blanket advertising is fraught with problems - it should be stopped. I see from an earlier post that another culture is being served up as items for purchase. It looks foolish.
I would add, though, that it would be less divisive, and more equitable, if Google provided the same accessible message for *all* search results. But I guess it would take up all that valuable ad space at the top right ;)
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