Isn't There Something Ironic In An Anonymous Exec Demanding Transparency From Google?

from the entitlement-culture dept

It really is amazing sometimes to see how many people think that Google "owes" them something. For example, we've had a few different stories about companies suing Google because they don't like how Google ranks them. That makes little sense. Google doesn't owe anyone a spot in its index. It determines its index by figuring out what it thinks people will like best, and it's always tweaking it. If it fails to figure that out properly and someone else (like Microsoft) does figure it out, then Google will lose business. So, it seems a bit odd that some anonymous "well known exec at one of the largest sites on the Internet" is suddenly demanding transparency into how Google ranks content, suggesting that it's somehow unfair and arbitrary in its rankings -- and only by opening up the details of its algorithm will "fairness" be restored.

Ryan, who alerted us to this story, has written up a biting, but reasonable, response, where he notes that being ranked highly in Google is no one's right. And demanding that Google be transparent about its algorithm is meaningless (while being especially ironic, given that this "well-known exec" is demanding transparency while wanting to remain anonymous himself). The key point Ryan makes:
You want an algorithm, here it is:
1.) Sites that are useful to visitors will rank high.
2.) Popular sites that are useful to visitors will rank higher.
3.) Sites that don't offer any value to the web or are irrelevant to the query won't rank well.
4.) Sites that are harmful or spammy won't be included in the index.

Seriously, that's Google’s algorithm in plain English. There's your disclosure. The weighting factors and code behind it don't matter -- these principles are all you really need to know.
Indeed. Create useful sites with useful content that people use, and don't be spammy, and you'll most likely rank well in Google. You don't need to force Google to reveal the nuts and bolts of its algorithm. That doesn't change anything. If you're trying to craft your websites to the specifics of the algorithm, you're already lost. If you're creating websites that match the "plain English" code above, you're going to be just fine.


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  1.  
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    Digital Protector (profile), Jul 14th, 2009 @ 8:46pm

    $5 says this executive is the only one who considers his/her/its website 'one of the largest on the Internet'.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 9:00pm

    The guy is indulging in some pretty pathetic whining. And his analogies are terrible. Google does not control the gates to a city, it makes and makes available maps of the city. Some streets and destinations are displayed on the map more prominantly than others.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 9:20pm

    Google certainly needs to be more transparent with regard to how its algorithm works.

    Remember this?

    http://merged.ca/monetize/flat/how-to-get-billions-of-pages-indexed-by-Google.html

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 10:19pm

    I demand more transparency.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 10:30pm

    paid rankings suck

    google doesn't need to do shit. back when phone books ran the directory show, you could bid on where you wanted your ad to appear. google's sponsored links section is still the same. want to pay to get better rankings in the sponsored section? bid higher amounts.

    these guys are just pissed because organic rankings are very difficult to "buy". you can hire someone to set up a link farm, or spam tons of blogs, and most of the time, that still doesn't get you anywhere. google's search engine won the search wars because they valued bibliometrics over paid rankings. google's engine is still the best there is.

    as for it being some anonymous exec, i wouldn't put it past techcrunch for just making it up entirely. they've been put out there making shit up multiple times over the last 6 months while they claimed the tip was from an "inside source". there was the allegation that last.fm gave data to riaa, tons of claims that various companies were about to buy twitter, and another one about how facebook was massively "hacked" (someone defaced one of the pages in the developer wiki... and douchebags kept defacing it as it was getting reverted).

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 11:10pm

    Isn't it ironic?

    Ironic perhaps in the Alanis Morissette sense of the word. Hypocritical, yes, but ironic, no.

    It would be ironic if the only way to achieve the desired transparency in Google was through such opaque (anonymous) means, but that is certainly not the impression I got.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 11:46pm

    Seriously, if someone doesn't like Google's search engine GO TO ANOTHER SEARCH ENGINE. Or better yet start your own. But don't get the stupid government involved.

     

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    Bettawrekonize, Jul 14th, 2009 @ 11:53pm

    Re:

    Users go to google because they like the results. Why should we allow the stupid government to ruin that for us? If this stupid CEO doesn’t like it he can find another search engine or make his own. If users don’t like the results than tough, but don’t have the government destroy a perfectly good search engine just because this stupid CEO can’t make a decent one of his own. No one is stopping him from making his own search engine or using another one. But don’t get the STUPID government involved.

    You get the government involved and it would force all search engines to be more uniform. This would suck, one search engine might otherwise be able to find what you need while another might not and you can simply choose which one you want. But the government regulation would force them all to have similarities that may make none of them find what you need. This CEO wants laws that benefit only the rich and the powerful, just like how our mainstream media has become a joke in terms of presenting important issues with any detail and presenting various sides of the issue. He’s afraid of the backlash that the public would have on him because he knows his ideas to restrict the free market would not be welcome. DON’T LET this stupid top down structure that has invaded our mainstream media invade the Internet. We also need to destroy the top down structure of information on our mainstream media as well.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 12:09am

    " not for dramatic effect, but because of the backlash he would receive from the SEO industry and possibly Google itself."

    A backlash from Google? ARE YOU SERIOUS??? This has got to be one of the stupidest things I've seen in a while. Can we honestly trust morons like this to regulate Google's search engine?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 12:48am

    Of course!

    Wow, what a post. The original article seems like it was written by a 15 year old brat having a temper tantrum and wants mommy and daddy to take the ball away.

    If I had to guess where it originated from, it wouldn't be difficult. Perhaps some company that is having a tough time re-branding their search engine every year, and also feeds the media statistics such as "XYZ Search Engine grows 8% in past month" Which is an interesting way to tell the story-- they didn't increase their marketshare 8%, but increased 8% from what they already had, which actually may be a 2% marketshare increase.

    The original article, if it's not linked in the article is here:

    http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/07/13/the-time-has-come-to-regulate-search-engine-marketing- and-seo/

    It's well known that a general who divides his resources will invariably be defeated. You can never do everything, everywhere, all at the same time. A company's range of products cannot be allowed to overflow. Besides, it's silly to believe you can satisfy all tastes anyway.

    Instead, it's perhaps best to concentrate on the products that got to you to where you are today.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 12:55am

    Google's algos are complicated things, punishing people for all sorts of slights (real and imagined) that the developers come up with. As Google's people think that everything can be fixed "in the algo", they often punish innocent people with spam filters too coarsely constructed.

    With Google representing the start point for a significant percentage of the web population, they do hold powerful sway over the ebbs and tides of the internet at this point. So much so that government intervention at some point is almost a forgone conclusion. I suspect it will come right after the Chrome OS hits the streets.

    Do no evil? Who are they kidding?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 1:22am

    Re:

    These are serious accusations. Please provide sources and empirical evidence.

    When you do, be sure to understand that Google is in many senses, a Web 2.0 platform and is constantly evolving to meet the needs of it's userbase. This is the approach "The Goog" takes, and employs in-house. Perpetual Beta, Open Standards, APIs and the like are not typical outside of Google. So when you provide your evidence, it would be nice to see of issues that have not been rectified within a reasonable amount of time.

    Your attempts to vilify without evidence are telling, and quite sad at best.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 2:05am

    Re: Re:

    There is no "attempt to vilify". I am merely re-stating a comment that can be found all over the web.

    Google isn't a "web 2.0" platform - they are just another major corporation attempting to take over everything. They are just smarter than Microsoft because they are doing it nicely, with free software trinkets and with the support of people like you.

    No matter how it happens, when a single company (such as microsoft) ends up controlling too many of the strings and can pull them in sync, they cause trouble for the marketplace. Microsoft got spanked by the AGs, and Google is looking to be running right about online to hit the same wall at some point, if the stories I am reading are any indication (please see The Standard from Hong Kong yesterday for an interesting light writeup on the whole situation).

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 3:46am

    Re: Re: Re:

    There is no "attempt to vilify".

    Then, as the first sentence of my comment requested, I will again kindly ask again for evidence, please.

    I am merely re-stating a comment that can be found all over the web.

    So there is no evidence.

    Google isn't a "web 2.0" platform - they are just another major corporation attempting to take over everything. They are just smarter than Microsoft because they are doing it nicely, with free software trinkets and with the support of people like you.

    I beg to differ. Google pretty much invented the idea of perpetual beta. Much of this was developed inhouse and there have been several books on the subject. One comes to mind called "Wikinomics" by Don Tapscott, which discusses some of the ideas of Perpetual Beta, Open Standards, and APIs. It's very interesting because it shifts ideology away from things centralized to things distributed, and apparently it works.

    No matter how it happens, when a single company (such as microsoft) ends up controlling too many of the strings and can pull them in sync, they cause trouble for the marketplace.

    You brought up Microsoft, and my original commentary was not aimed at Microsoft, however, you bring an interesting point to this exchange:

    Bill Gates, is curiously still listed as "Chairman" of Microsoft according to SEC documents.

    And no, he has not retired, but still acting chairman.

    Quite possibly, he still comes into work every day via Helicopter his Honda Hybird, or a more generous vehicle when he wants to show off. Mr. Gates said he read Mr. Tapscott's Wikinomics book (which, it seems The Google uses) and had this to say:


    "I'd say that of the world's economies, there's more that believe in intellectual property today than ever. There are fewer communists in the world today than there were," mused the uber-geek, although "There are some new modern-day sort of communists who want to get rid of the incentive for musicians and moviemakers and software makers under various guises."

    Gates's views have since been ridiculed throughout the tech community (though they recently received some elegant support in Andrew Keen's The Cult of the Amateur). But the tycoon's anxieties were not baseless. In particular, Microsoft faces a swarming battalion of services on the internet which promise everything the software giant does – email, database, operating system – for nothing. These services have mostly been developed by digital idealists committed to a vision of knowledge and culture which – if not communist – then at least revives the old idea of a "commonwealth", a realm of resources available as of right to free men and women.

    Source:
    http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/wikinomics-by-don-tapscott-and-antho ny-d-williams-463602.html

    So it appears your addition to this conversation can't be backed up with evidence..? Interesting.

    when a single company (such as microsoft) ends up controlling too many of the strings and can pull them in sync, they cause trouble for the marketplace.

    Sure, I agree, however as I asked before, where's the evidence? You again brought up Microsoft, and it's well known that Microsoft has a Monopoly in operating systems. What are they worried about? What prevents them from developing an operating system that people are willing to pay a premium for?

    Microsoft got spanked by the AGs, and Google is looking to be running right about online to hit the same wall at some point, if the stories I am reading are any indication

    There you go again, bringing up Microsoft. It's kinda funny, actually. Do you not like them or something? I again ask for some links to support this position.

    please see The Standard from Hong Kong yesterday for an interesting light writeup on the whole situation

    Oh wow...
    LINK PLEASE

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 4:09am

    This original article seems like Yapping from the cheap seats as lobbying the DOJ isn't that hard...

    Sometimes, for amusement, I find myself lost and wonder what other undocumented deals made with the CIA, NSA, FBI were made over the years. Anything involving with Anti-Trust?

    Consider that SBC/Bell South perhaps had a a carrot dangled in front of them. But it wasn't any carrot. It was a magical carrot. This magical carrot greased the wheels, and completely reversed the Bell System Divestiture in 1984. I wonder if there were other reversed anti-trust actions.

    In the most prominent case....
    SBC/BellSouth were green lighted to buy some 49% of the US telecom infrastructure, perhaps in return for multiple "Room 641A"s across America.

    When they were found out, Congress was persuaded to grant immunity, against the Citizens desires and will.

    Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis said:
    "It is inconceivable that any telephone companies that allegedly cooperated with the administration's warrantless wiretapping program did not know what their obligations were, And it is just as implausible that those companies believed they were entitled to simply assume the lawfulness of a government request for assistance."

    And he's right. However, if you have a magical carrot which reverses anti-trust and grants immunity. A crazy rabbit will do anything.

    I tend to think that multiple large cap companies benefitted from this "War on Terror" craze. Selling out their customer's emails, conversations, and the like, financed with "War on Terror" dollars.

    PayPal and eBay.
    eBay and Skype.
    HP and Compaq.

    So maybe a competitor to Google was also offered a magical carrot which reverses anti-trust lawsuits. What info would be provided? Quite a bit, I suppose.

    The Patriot Act is an amazing piece of legislation. Read it sometime.

    However, it's only Patriotic if your Fascist.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 4:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Bill Gates has a nasty sense of humor.

    You quoted:
    "I'd say that of the world's economies, there's more that believe in intellectual property today than ever. There are fewer communists in the world today than there were," mused the uber-geek, although "There are some new modern-day sort of communists who want to get rid of the incentive for musicians and moviemakers and software makers under various guises."


    Stop and think about when he also said "640k ought to be enough for anybody." Got the joke? Good.

     

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    Osno (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 4:31am

    It's pretty obvious that this anonymous exec wants the algo so he can find how to game the system. Google has given us the basic rules of page rank many times (if you are linked to you're popular, if you're linked to from popular sites, you're more popular). But the specifics of the algorithm is what would make gaming it simpler. "Transparency" sounds really good when what you want is basically a way to cheat.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 4:41am

    Re:

    One sentence sums it all up:

    Someone, and someone big, who thinks they can persuade legislation, wants to use Google's IP without paying them.

    Perhaps Doubleclick IP.

     

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    Osno (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 5:53am

    I really don't think this is a grab for IP. With the copyright law as it stands, and the size of Google, it would be either a PR disaster or a huge waste of money in the court. I stay with my appreciation: this is trying to game the system to be positioned high in the page rank.

     

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    nraddin (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 6:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Bill never said anything about 640k being enough RAM. Not only that, he was known to say that the performance and system requirements of software will grow with the growth of computer power and the reduction in cost of computer components.

    I know everyone wants to make Bill out to be some kind of evil idiot, but he is not.

     

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    nraddin (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 6:44am

    Or maybe he sees Monopoly

    When MS was sued by the states and fed they had no more market share in their business than Google (74%) does now. Any of you guys that totally wanted to see MS broken apart and destroyed should be wishing the same thing on Google. If you feel like one company with to much power tends to slow innovation then you should want this.

    If you are like me and feel like MS should have never had to deal with this, or the silly IE thing in Europe, then you can without being a hypocrite actually feel like Google shouldn't have to do anything here.

     

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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 6:59am

    Anonymous Exec

    It's probably that ass Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook fame. After reading this Wired article I was hoping Zuck would get his come-uppins from Google.

     

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    ABC Gum, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 7:07am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Microsoft got spanked by the AGs,"

    Huh ?

    That wasn't even a slap on the wrist. It was finger pointing and hand waving followed by patting themselves on the back.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 7:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Perhaps I've come to believe the 180-degree of anything Bill says.

    http://www.wired.com/politics/law/news/1997/01/1484

    But due to a long list of quote misappropriations, quotes, and perhaps a real ugly sense of humor, perhaps it remains possible that Gates has an iPhone himself. I wouldn't doubt Mrs. Gates to have one too... This isn't outside the relm of possibility, considering AT&T's friendly on-campus efforts to build cellular sites. Full disclosure: I've never met Melinda and don't know if she lies a lot. Like Bill does when he says he's retiring. Maybe you can provide insight.

    Source:
    http://www.nydailynews.com/money/2009/03/04/2009-03-04_steve_jobs_be_proud_meli nda_gates_wife_o.html

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 7:26am

    Besides, around Medina, the only company that provides service is AT&T. Hmmm...

    Damned AT&T.

    Steve Jobs for the win!

     

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    chris (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 7:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    please see The Standard from Hong Kong yesterday for an interesting light writeup on the whole situation

    Oh wow...
    LINK PLEASE


    here you go.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 7:32am

    Re:

    "With Google representing the start point for a significant percentage of the web population"

    Only because they do a good job. If they didn't do a good job government regulation wouldn't be necessary, people would leave their search engine all on their own. If this CEO doesn't like Google he can find another search engine or make his own. Then he can have and present all the transparency he wants. If his search engine really is better the government doesn't need to do anything, people will automatically switch to his search engine. If not, tough, keep the stupid government out of it.

     

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    chris (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 7:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That wasn't even a slap on the wrist. It was finger pointing and hand waving followed by patting themselves on the back.

    MS's reaction was something like this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBZEk_GrATo

     

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    Bettawrekonize, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 7:42am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "No matter how it happens, when a single company (such as microsoft) ends up controlling too many of the strings and can pull them in sync, they cause trouble for the marketplace."

    Not if they're complying with good business practices. Sure, a good successful company that acts ethically maybe bad for all the unethical rich and powerful entities out there that want to manipulate everything only to their benefit (just look at the corrupt mainstream media and how they're controlled by special interest groups). But that's no reason for the government to get involved just to help rich and powerful entities (not that there is anything wrong with wealth in and of itself, is how one acquires wealth. Google acquired it via ethical means).

    "Microsoft got spanked by the AGs"

    Only because they participated in unethical behavior. Google did nothing wrong. There is nothing wrong with being acquiring market share in and of itself, it's how one acquires that market share. Microsoft acquired market share through unethical behavior, that's why they got in trouble. Google is acquiring market share by being a good company, there is nothing wrong with that. If google starts participating in bad business practices people can simply switch search engines provided the government doesn't disturb the free market.

    "Google is looking to be running right about online to hit the same wall at some point"

    Again, only if they do something wrong. For them to gain market share by acting ethically and adopting a business model that says they would rather be respected than feared (unlike the RIAA that adopts one that says they would rather be feared than respected) is fine. If you honestly think you can make a better search engine, with more transparency and such, be my guest. If it's a good one, if it's better than Google, people will switch. If they don't then it's your failure to produce a better search engine and that's your fault. But you can't drag other search engines down just because you can't produce a better one.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 8:02am

    Re: Or maybe he sees Monopoly

    "When MS was sued by the states and fed they had no more market share in their business than Google (74%) does now. Any of you guys that totally wanted to see MS broken apart and destroyed should be wishing the same thing on Google."

    This isn't just about market share, it's also about HOW one acquires market share. MS acquired it by trying to contract people who sell computers to sell only their operating system. That's unethical. Google did nothing wrong. You're being short sighted here, market share isn't everything, it's the practices that one does to acquire market share. If a company acquires market share via ethical behavior and good business practices that's fine. If one does so via unethical behavior then that's unacceptable.

     

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    Free Capitalist, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 8:03am

    Article Questionable, but what is wrong with disclosure?

    The original article certainly does seem a little 'emo', and the 'anonymous exec' seems specious.

    However, exactly what is wrong with having full disclosure and public monitoring of all search providers' methods?

    The times have already changed, and Google, along with Yahoo, MS and a few others, are the de facto gatekeepers of information for private citizens world wide.

    I've seen many complaints about the 'old news', here and elsewhere, and the media's ability to filter out vital public news from the public they are supposed to serve. I would count myself as also being suspicious of the seemingly endless parade of 'masking' news, such as the non-stop coverage and almost 100% front page dedication, for a week, to the death of Michael Jackson.

    For the this information era, why shouldn't the custodians of information be publicly monitored to prevent corporate, or worse, government control of the 'visible' information spectrum?

    Google, and the major search providers now effectively deliver a vital public service more potent than traditional news media ever was, or could ever hope to be, if one wants to be informed. Likewise search engines carry much more potential for stifling information, impeding first amendment rights and the practice of informed 'democracy'.


    That being said, this article still seems like a whiny tirade from someone who wants a TOP-PAGE link on Google for a crappy site.

    Oh and just for fun, I'll reiterate my belief that WHEN these algorithms are made public, the definition of "Organic" results will be explicitly modified to include "organically sponsored by...".

    I mean, really, people... how many of you have EVER clicked a link in the sponsored box? Thought so. Everyone drives this business model... saavy or not.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 8:14am

    Re: Article Questionable, but what is wrong with disclosure?

    "However, exactly what is wrong with having full disclosure and public monitoring of all search providers' methods?"

    What is wrong with forcing all operating system providers to release the source code? Lets force Microsoft to release the source code for their operating system.

    Google doesn't owe us a search engine and if they provide one they don't owe us the source code or any disclosure of how it works.

    "Likewise search engines carry much more potential for stifling information, impeding first amendment rights and the practice of informed 'democracy'."

    If a search engine does this to the extent that people don't like it they can simply switch to another search engine. Requiring all search engines to comply with certain laws is a formula for giving the government, and other entities, an excuse to allow the government and special interest groups to take down search engines under false pretexts. The system we have now works fine, NO NEED TO BREAK IT!!!!

    "For the this information era, why shouldn't the custodians of information be publicly monitored to prevent corporate, or worse, government control of the 'visible' information spectrum?"

    Allowing the government to regulate google "IS" government control. As far as the "visible information spectrum" if something was done invisibly government control isn't really going to stop that (especially if the government is the one doing it). Better to have a free market that allows others, including other search engines, to do whatever it takes to distribute this previously invisible behavior to the public instead of allowing the government to take down search engines.

    "I've seen many complaints about the 'old news', here and elsewhere, and the media's ability to filter out vital public news from the public they are supposed to serve."

    and government regulation is responsible for this. It's the government, thanks to lobbying efforts, that doesn't allow other companies to build more information lines to peoples houses or to use the existing information/cable lines to broadcast their own stations or to allow anyone to provide internet bandwidth to anyone (despite the fact that much of the infrastructure was government funded. Then corporations like Time Warner and AT&T get exclusive government monopolies on it. It's nonsense). It's the government that gives special interest groups exclusive rights over the airwaves. You get the government involved in search and the internet and the same mess will occur.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 8:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Oh Lord. That reads like a crappy Op-Ed.

    Are you serious?

     

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    Free Capitalist, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 8:26am

    Re: Re: Article Questionable, but what is wrong with disclosure?

    Cogent points about *government involvement in the monitoring of search providers.

    However, I suggested *public monitoring of the search providers' methods. I realize the public is often used synonymously with 'government', but disagree that the public needs government impetus to act. In this case, the 'public' is everyone, world wide, so the U.S. government should have no jurisdiction even if we *wanted government monitoring.

    No one government, or even a consortium of governments should control access to world-wide information. China has illustrated just how effective this type of censorship *could be if all search-engines world wide were content-controlled.

    What I suggest is world-wide read access to active search algorithms. Transparency would suffice in this day and age. That and pitchforks for all.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 8:37am

    Re: Article Questionable, but what is wrong with disclosure?

    I'll reiterate my belief that WHEN these algorithms are made public, the definition of "Organic" results will be explicitly modified to include "organically sponsored by...".

    Right. I am sure that a well funded company probably already has possession of the requested "Organic" algorithm which has been dutifully opened to public review ("Patent") perhaps owned by Google via acquisition or otherwise that can't be modified or created as "new" by the new rights holder without royalty payment.

    However, it's possible that the brightest at whoever this "mysterious Google opponent" is, can't or is unwilling to pay the requested licensing rights to the technology.

    Hence the AstroTurf at TechCrunch.

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    CleverName, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 8:40am

    Re: Or maybe he sees Monopoly

    Apples and Oranges

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    CleverName, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 8:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Article Questionable, but what is wrong with disclosure?

    On a side note,
    your choice of name is in conflict with your political views.

    Have a nice day.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 8:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Article Questionable, but what is wrong with disclosure?

    "What I suggest is world-wide read access to active search algorithms."

    Then create your own search engine and provide such access, but don't force others to do the same. This may cause some entities that would otherwise make perfectly good search engines not to. If a search engine is popular it's because people CHOSE that search engine, no one forced them to use it. If closed search engines provides for better search engines then people will voluntarily choose them. Forcing engines to reveal the algorithms will give people no choice in the subject matter, they have to choose one that reveals the algorithms (even if that provides poorer results for what they want), and fewer choices for the consumer is a bad thing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 8:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Article Questionable, but what is wrong with disclosure?

    This looks like a scam to turn search engines into an intellectual property / patent mess. Look at all the problems patents have already caused, we don't need them to screw up search engines as well. "Only I can use that search algorithm because it's patented." Lawsuit. Google changes search algorithm to a stupider one, search results suffer. No, lets not go down that road.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 8:56am

    Re: Re: Or maybe he sees Monopoly

    I'm partial to Cucumber myself.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
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    CleverName, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 9:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Article Questionable, but what is wrong with disclosure?

    I thought algorithms were not patentable, copyrightable nor trademarkable. Same thing applies to mathematics and physics. Hopefully this is not allowed. It's a shame that patents on some things in nature have. Reminds me of the Onion piece about MS patenting ones and zeros. It was funny at the time, but now ???

     

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  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 9:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Article Questionable, but what is wrong with disclosure?

    "I thought algorithms were not patentable, copyrightable nor trademarkable. Same thing applies to mathematics and physics."

    They're not supposed to be but given the incompetence of the patent office the mere potential of a lawsuit (even if unlikely and even if the engine knows it won't hold up in court) might compel search engines to ruin their search algorithms.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Free Capitalist, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 9:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Article Questionable, but what is wrong with disclosure?

    your choice of name is in conflict with your political views.


    Perhaps your research on the subject of political views was filtered by your choice of search engine. (just kidding, here's the first link from Google on the subject of anarchocapitalism):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarcho-capitalism

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 9:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Article Questionable, but what is wrong with disclosure?

    Do you believe that free capitalism has progressed to an ideology of anarchocapitalism? Wow. That's insane.

    I think you're wrong.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Free Capitalist, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 9:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Article Questionable, but what is wrong with disclosure?

    Do you believe that free capitalism has progressed to an ideology of anarchocapitalism? Wow. That's insane.


    You're kidding, right? Its unfortunate that the mass media has helped turn the term "free market" (I assume that this is from where you're drawing the non-sequitur connotation) into the definition of today's corporate republic. However, I reserve the right to use the word "Free" in its original context in my choice of pseudonym. I will not be held responsible for the misled opinions of others, as I have plenty of my own thank you very much.

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 10:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Article Questionable, but what is wrong with disclosure?

    "Perhaps your research on the subject of political views was filtered by your choice of search engine."

    notice the word CHOICE in that sentence. He CHOICE that search engine, no one forced him to use it. Lets not have the government regulate a perfectly good search engine that people voluntarily use.

     

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  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 10:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Article Questionable, but what is wrong with disclosure?

    err. he CHOSE that search engine. Sorry.

    Lets not have the government regulate a perfectly good search engine that people voluntarily use.

    Because then people who want to use a search engine maybe compelled to use a search engine that may operate in a way such as to provide them with search results less relevant to what they want.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Free Capitalist, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 10:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Article Questionable, but what is wrong with disclosure?

    notice the word CHOICE in that sentence. He CHOICE that search engine, no one forced him to use it. Lets not have the government regulate a perfectly good search engine that people voluntarily use.


    As clarified in my second reply, I would NOT want government monitoring or oversight of any kind.

    My point is that pretty much everyone world wide uses one of a few search engines to gain access to information. Information IS power, and biased control of what information is made public is censorship.

    In today's age it would be pretty easy to give the public the power to PROTECT their free access to information. All it would take is for the major search providers to make their active search algorithms read accessible to the world.


    By all means, keep government the hell out of information control.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    CleverName, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 11:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Article Questionable, but what is wrong with disclosure?

    Obviously you do not see the many problems with your suggestion. Lets hope we do not find out which ones would materialize.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    CleverName, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 11:39am

    Finger Pointing

    I thought that advertising was part of any good business strategy. It appears that some folks out there would like to avoid the added cost of advertising by letting Google and other search engines do it for them. When this approach does not work and their business model fails, they think it is the fault of their search engine ranking rather than their own bad choices.

    If only our ranking were higher, I know we would've sold more product .....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Free Capitalist, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 12:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Article Questionable, but what is wrong with disclosure?

    Obviously you do not see the many problems with your suggestion. Lets hope we do not find out which ones would materialize


    I can see a few potential problems that could come up if search providers made their search algorithms public, but most are already being dealt with. For instance, even with the search code being "hidden" (its not, really, the Chinese, for instance, license it from Google and Yahoo), there is a lot of fraud going on trying to make crappy sites more relevant. Keyword spamming, hidden links and link farms being the 'classic' cases.

    Most of the automated work combatting search relevance fraud is done at the crawler level. This is another layer of complexity though, as I think at least parts of the code for the crawlers should also be public to ensure certain subjects aren't being "ignored".

    Fraud detection might be summarized instead of published and split from the regular crawler work (yes, this would be expensive to implement). In this case, comparison tests could be run pre and post-fraud detection to ensure there isn't any 'sweeping under the carpet' of legitimate information. This is some heavy duty analysis, that might be appropriate for a public distributed application similar to seti@home and done over particular time periods.

    There's also the potential legal issue around IP, and the competition that might spring up overnight. But I thought that wouldn't be an issue here....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    icon
    Almost Anonymous (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 1:19pm

    Re:

    So what man? Who says that ANYONE has the RIGHT to be listed in Google's search results?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    icon
    Fred McTaker (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 3:42pm

    Look up the Google papers -- they are public!

    This is funny -- claiming the most open search engine in the world is not "transparent enough." The papers Larry Page and Sergey Brin wrote about their PageRank algorithm are PUBLIC. Huge Google innovations like BigTable, MapReduce, and Chubby are both documented publicly and practically Open Source, via projects like Hypertable and Hadoop. Most of their foundational technical literature and Open Source code is also *hosted* by Google. They are incredibly open with internal operational details, like their data center and node hardware designs. If you don't like Google, start your own, with all the benefits of research and ideas created by Google that they make freely available to everyone. You can start here:

    http://research.google.com/pubs/papers.html

    Once you understand everything there, you can move on to third-party analysis of further tweaks Google has completed, to deal with problems not dreamed of before 2000, like blog link-spamming distortions of PageRank.

    Just remember to be even more open with your business process details when you're done with Google2, you damn anonymous hypocrite. Until then, just repeat this mantra: put up or shut up.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2009 @ 9:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Article Questionable, but what is wrong with disclosure?

    "By all means, keep government the hell out of information control. "

    Which includes not forcing them, with government authority, to release their algorithms.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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