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. icon
    A Guy (profile), 21 Sep 2011 @ 1:34pm

    You're incompetent government at work...

    I have criticisms of Google, mostly revolving around user privacy and user information storage.

    However, whose business do these people think they are doing? It is certainly not mine. I like Google's search engine. I like the services they provide. If they start failing due to market competition then that's okay but we don't need these asshats helping to kill a company that's shown to be successful.

    Which competitor do you think decided to bribe our Congressmen to put Google at the top of their "regulate a successful business into the ground" hit list?

    I would bet Apple, but I wouldn't bet against Microsoft either.

    Asshats...

    "We don't have enough jobs, maybe we can take apart a competitive successful businesses to improve that situation"

    unbelievable...

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