There's No Such Thing As 'Natural' Search Results; Search Results Are Inherently Biased

from the what-a-joke dept

The Senate hearings to tar and feather Google are still ongoing, but the first round grilling of Eric Schmidt didn't present many surprises. Basically, a lot of Senators who don't really understand technology are upset... because Google is big. Senator Franken even admitted that his concern was over the "bigness." Senator Blumenthal, bizarrely, talked about how Google was a wonderful story of American corporate success... before asking how best to dismantle that. For example, he even suggested that Google remove Google Maps results from searches on addresses. That's ridiculous. For folks like myself who like getting the Google Maps result at the top, that would make my life worse. But the most ridiculous comment may have been from Senator Lee, who complained about Google's own results messing up "natural search results." But as Rob Pegoraro points out, this seems to assume that there is such a thing as "natural" search. Everything that Google puts on a page is a choice, and if those choices harm consumers, we'll go elsewhere.

The other annoying thing was everyone kept pointing to "search" as if that's the entire market. Senator Kohl even suggested that when it came to news, the only places to find news are Google or Bing. He flat out claimed that if Bing went out of business, the only way to find news would be Google. Huh?!? As we've noted in the past, we actually get a smaller and smaller percentage of our traffic coming from Google these days. Instead, more and more is coming from social networks and other systems. StumbleUpon, Reddit, Twitter and Facebook have all taken significant referral share from Google -- and reports from other sites suggest the same thing.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Sep 2011 @ 1:48pm

    Re: The bigger they are the easier they need to make it to avoid.

    And ITunes shouldn't be a requirement for Apple.

    And did you not read today that Windows 8 is going to require a hardened boot? That means unless your OS is digitally signed by MS, you can't boot it. (The idea is to eliminate root viruses..... Which it does along with Linux)

    You shouldn't have to buy your apps through the Apple App store. Or the Microsoft App Store (as it seems to be true with Microsoft metro).

    I could go on.

    But let me say that I bought a Motorola Atrix that tried to use AT&T maps (for a subscription cost) and those maps/navigation Stunk! If anyone wants to compete with Google, they are going to have to provide a decent working product.

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