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Next Up: Google Search Algorithm Under Government Control?

Google Algorithm Tweaks Need Government Approval?

     
1:23 pm on Jul 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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New York Times Editorial:

[nytimes.com...]

A sign of things to come?

First the European Anti-trust Regulators..now New York Times' editorial.....all acknowledge the power of Google and their "self serving" algorithm changes that benefit Google directly...and I have to agree.

Hate to see any government fingers in a private business, but many businesses count on Google serps and now Google is getting into travel field (buying ITA and their flight info).....besides products/insurance/etc.

I am glad to see talk and realization on what is happening right in front of our eyes.

It will be interesting to watch how all this plays out.
1:59 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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many businesses count on Google serps

I would be interested to hear about any contractual arrangements they made.

Their business plans would seem extremely risky otherwise.

...
5:25 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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"Their business plans would seem extremely risky otherwise"

I have to agree - google as a part of a business plan is a joke (natural serps that is).

Which is EXACTLY WHY they need investigating (and the rest in my opinion)
5:46 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I think the best would be an opensource searchengine with wikipedia like supervisors. Non-profit search engine.
5:56 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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It's about time.

I have nothing against Google, but they are in a position to control profits and losses of other companies at an amazing level. Their position almost demands abuse. I don't think the Feds need to shut them down or break up Google but I do think a watchdog system needs to be developed.
6:07 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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FWIW a government-controlled Google sounds even more scary than the current one. Even considering the alleged NSA/CIA/whatever ties.
6:09 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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...an opensource searchengine with wikipedia like supervisors...


Yeah, no sign of corruption there - or in DMOZ either.
6:11 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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government-controlled Google

Skynet BETA?
6:20 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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many businesses count on Google serps


Many businesses used to count on the Yellow pages before that and I certainly don't remember so much fuss about the Yellow pages, it was alphabetical and that's the way it was, same as the Yahoo directory before any search engines were worth using.

The phone companies were definitely heavy hitters in the same league as Google when it comes to profits and there was deregulation and all that nonsense but nobody ever worried about the predatory nature of the Yellow pages to impact your business.

Everyone knew if you wanted the maximum business exposure you bought display ads, that's the way it was, there was no free ride but now everyone has entitlement issues with Google.

Go figure.
6:44 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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FWIW a government-controlled Google sounds even more scary than the current one. Even considering the alleged NSA/CIA/whatever ties.


I think I would be more surprised if that wasn't happening already. I'm not a tin-foil hat type, but doesn't Google have to disclose certain information in China about certain things?
6:53 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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what's the harm in letting the government take a peek under the hood. after all, they are on our side (in theory, at least). whereas google are only on their own side. they don't give a damn about individual businesses. all they care about is their own.
6:56 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I wonder how the NYT would react to an editorial by Google suggesting that the US Government review editorial decisions made at the Times on what not to print... just saying.
7:09 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I have to agree - google as a part of a business plan is a joke (natural serps that is).


you can even get banned paying.
7:39 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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What government should control it? The US Government? The EU? The UN? China? Should each country have it's own government oversight committee and team of G developers to maintain completely different algorithms? There's just no good solution to this.

If someone's site gets banned because they were spamming / blackhatting that's just the way it goes. If they naturally drop in the rankings because of an algorithm update, it's probably because they were neglecting some aspect of promoting their business online. (like good content and deep links) Also, too bad. If they drop in the listings because of competition, too bad again. If they don't know how to promote their business online, hire someone who does. No reasonable person can expect to be able to create their own TV commercial and distribute it, why does everyone feel entitled to great online placement without any expertise? I get really tired of the "Victim-of-Google" mentality. It's not Google's fault. They aren't a mean entity trying to keep you down. They are trying their best to deliver spam-free, highly relevant listings. If you're not spam-free or highly relevant, it's not their fault.

I have no sympathy for a brick-and-mortar store that fails to promote and then goes out of business... why should I have any sympathy for an online business that fails to promote? Just because the promotion channels are different on the web doesn't mean online businesses "deserve" oversight to protect them from big-bad private industry.

NYT was just trying to get some attention by plucking the heartstrings of today's entitlement mentality. Newspapers are irrelevant now anyway and attacking Google is a great way to make it to the nightly news.
7:41 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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You definitely do NOT want the government having any say on the SERPS. I shouldn't have to elaborate on this. Just think about it long enough and you will understand.
8:07 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I wonder how the NYT would react to an editorial by Google suggesting that the US Government review editorial decisions made at the Times on what not to print... just saying.


thats a bit different because the NYT can't ruin a business, unless they've done something to bring about their own downfall. if they do a business down for no reason, through libel, or reporting something that's not true, then there are laws in place to combat it.

that's the difference. google have got the power to send a business to the wall and there's no come back. short of sending them a big bunch of flowers and hoping for the best, there's nothing you can do.

remember that google already picks on sites for no good reason. if you sell adverts on your site, eg text links, which is a perfectly legitimate business practice and not at all illegal, then google will boot you back to minus one billion in the serps. they can ruin your business just because you tried to make a few perfectly legitimate pennies.

and look at all the AdWords people who have been complaining in that other thread. They are getting the boot, for what? who knows. Some of those people control AdWords accounts for an actual living, but none of them can say exactly why their livlihoods have gone up in smoke.
if a company sacks you for no reason, you can take them to court. but if google dumps you for no reason, there is practically nothing you can do.

[edited by: londrum at 8:16 pm (utc) on Jul 15, 2010]

8:15 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Google is extending its business operations in too many fields - they are actually begging to be battered into pieces by antitrust authorities.

Greed is a bad thing. Organizing the worlds information my ass - collecting the worlds money that is the goal.
8:20 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Politicians would love to get their creepy, smarmy hands on something like Google. They would pick winners and losers based on anything but merit.

You think we've got troubles now, trying to stay on the right side of the yellow line with Google? I shudder at the thought.
8:45 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Yeah, what we need is another underfunded Gov. Agency WE have to pay for to oversee a multi-billion dollar corporation, so there's another prime target for special interest, lobbyists and other 'deep pockets' to have their site forced to the top of the rankings... GREAT IDEA!

Anyone seen those disaster recovery plans presented by the oil co's?
A fat load of good oversight does...

Like claus said: This is a WAY SCARIER idea than what we have now.

Election 2012:
So, Mr. Presidential Candidate, how will your oversight team handle Google's results and what sites will you make sure keep their rankings?

What a completely MENTAL idea.

[edited by: TheMadScientist at 8:49 pm (utc) on Jul 15, 2010]

8:45 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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hahaha a government controlled SE. Go to the DMV, Post Office or any other government controlled service and then reply to this thread. This has to be the dumbest thing I've heard all day.

TIP:

If your business lives and dies by the fluctuations in Google SERPS you need to seriously review your business plan.
8:55 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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google have got the power to send a business to the wall

There is no entitlement to an advantageous Google ranking.

Any "business" reliant solely on its Google SERP position is likely to be unsustainable.

google are only on their own side

Now that sounds like a sensible business model.

...
9:21 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Samizdata, please don't go confusing people with logic, common sense and reality, alright? Thanks!
9:47 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Unbelievable. There shouldn't be a single voice of support on this forum for such a hair-brained suggestion.

The US government has no business guiding the editorial policy of ANY non government organization. Full stop.
9:53 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Google has become a cancer and have too much power that is not applied consistently. Adwords is a prime example where so called Q/S principles are regularly set aside, Ebay, Ask, Nextag, etc. Its a joke for that reason alone.

These are all advertisers that put out trash pages and they turn a blind eye. Every other advertiser gets treated like pond scum, businesses ruined overnight by some office snot with too much power. No doubt the serps are the same.

The problem is the right people in authority with the right kind of power and influence that could hurt Google are not yet asking the right questions. I can't wait until they get the chance. Google needs a BP moment or Iphone 4 experience to discover some humility. The world would be a better place without Google, its a disease. Too big and too arrogant.
10:02 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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businesses ruined overnight by some office snot with too much power.

If Google can ruin your business YOU give Google too much power, IMO.

Your Business is really not Google's problem.
It's not the person you're competing with's problem either.
It's your problem and you need to find a way to solve it.
Find a better way.
Make a better plan.

We had businesses before Google, have businesses now and will continue to have businesses with or without Google.
10:25 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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The problem with Google is not that they control their own search algo, that's silly. The problem with Google is that they have (or are approaching) monopoly status. That's against US antitrust laws already. No need to make new laws or create new agencies, just enforce what's already on the books.

Giving the government control of search algos is a terrible idea. That just moves the locus of control of the market from one place to another. What you want the governement to do is ensure competition in the market, so that there is no centralized locus of control.
10:28 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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"The problem is the right people in authority with the right kind of power and influence that could hurt Google are not yet asking the right questions. I can't wait until they get the chance. Google needs a BP moment or Iphone 4 experience to discover some humility."

I have to tell you' I was ruined overnight by Google's Florida update. I lost my home, I had to go back into the work force and get a J.O.B. I was humiliated.

But IT WAS MY FREAKIN' FAULT. I went to sleep at the helm. I didn't pay attention.

But I will roast in H*ll before I would let a bunch of criminal elite politicians whose only mission in life is to get re-elected take over a business like Google.

It's Google's search engine, it's their rules, it's their game. The market will take care of any of Google's transgressions and dumb policies. Keep politicians out. That's the idiot's solution.

There are some naifs here in the US who think top-down control of the economy is a really cool experiment. Morons who think ancient history is anything before their birthdays. It always crashes.

As Margaret Thatcher said, "Social works great until you run out of other people's money."
10:33 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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"Social works great until you run out of other people's money."


LOL, I love that corruption of the quote, it sounds like you're talking about social media. That's probably accurate too.
10:36 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Sorry, the sun is long over the yardarm, and I've had a few workmanlike merlots. Dang. I meant socialism.

In my fit of idiological pique, I committed a malapropism.

Nevertheless, I freaking cannot abide those whose final refuge is the nanny state.
10:55 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I was always for a hands off approach but I see why the government has to act in this case. I'm all for the government to split them and teach them a lesson. The SEC, the FBI, FTC, FCC, should go and surround Google's buildings and yell with a speaker, "you are surrounded, come out with one hand up and the algo. in the other!" It's time to humiliate them for being so abusive.

It's time for another couple of programmer kids to start a new Google!
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