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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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 1:18pm

    Didn't you know?

    The Senate & Congress is where we safely corral zombies until they disintegrate thru time & wear...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 1:19pm

    Yes, but if Google makes "choices" that are substantially tilted for it's related businesses, and to the detriment of competitors, have they not started to use their dominant market position in the search market to take over other market places?

    Google's significant share of the search market gives them incredible power.

    I understand that any choice is still a choice, but those choices can be made to hurt certain businesses that could compete with Google.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 1:23pm

    Watching the hearing now

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 1:30pm

    Senate Hearing Webpage

    Hearing webpage:

    The Power of Google: Serving Consumers or Threatening Competition?
    Senate Judiciary Committee
    Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights
    September 21, 2011 (2:00 PM)

    Witness Testimony: Eric Schmidt, Susan A. Creighton, Jeremy Stoppelman, Jeff Katz, Thomas O. Barnett

    Member Statements: The Honorable Patrick Leahy, The Honorable Herb Kohl

     

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      The eejit (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 3:55pm

      Re: Senate Hearing Webpage

      So, basically, the two "Honorable Members" who got the most "donations" from MS in the Tech sector. Hmm, can't see a conflict of interest there...

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 6:04pm

      Re: Senate Hearing Webpage

      Patrick Leahy is a scummy scum scum scumbag who gets all of his campaign money from the RIAA/MPAA/lawyers/various other lobbys, and proceeds to dupe vermont hippies into thinking hes a democrat

       

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    A Guy (profile), Sep 21st, 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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    Jay Fude (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 1:36pm

    Natural

    So how the hell do we get "Natural" results in a "Virtual" world? I am a bit corn-fused. Naturally when I type in an address, I naturally want to see where the heck that is. Naturally when I type in the name of a congressman, I want to see his qualifications to speak on a subject. In that regard, Google has let me down. It says blahdy blah has been in office blahdy-9 years, but absolutely nothing on his work with Natural algorithms and his mastery of JavaScript and Klingon.

     

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      A Dan (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 1:44pm

      Re: Natural

      If you want that kind of information you need to search on Bing.

       

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        Jay Fude (profile), Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 5:55am

        Re: Re: Natural

        Bing! search is done
        Bing! search is done
        I work at microsoft making clones of others work
        Would you like a clippy with that?
        Would you like a clippy with that?
        Wait for the blue screen
        Wait for the blue screen...
        Bing! search is Doooonnnnnneeeee!

         

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    Brent Ashley (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 1:37pm

    Congress should expand their search for systems that need dismantling or breaking up due to bigness. Take their own two political parties for instance. Not enough competition. If one goes out of business all you'll have is the other one.

     

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    jilocasin, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 1:40pm

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

    Google is big...
    Yes, you can always use another search engine, but....the bigger they get the harder it is to avoid them.

    Personally the only thing I think that needs to happen, now that Google is so big and successful, is an easier way to avoid them.

    At this point, even if you wanted to avoid Google, you would have a hard time of it.

    So you use Bing instead of Google for search, well every web page that is using Google Ads or Google analytics is still keeping tabs on you.

    So you use Yahoo Mail instead of GMail, Google is still going through all of the emails that either come from other people with GMail or get sent to people with GMail. The bigger they get the more people will be using GMail and the harder it will be to avoid them.

    If you have an Android phone, good luck trying to use a competitor's mapping service. Last I checked they _required_ you to have a GMail account.

    If you have a wireless router, Google wants to force you to 'Opt-Out' of them tracking it.

    Can you see where this is heading? At some point, unless Google is forced to obey such things as the 'Do not track' header (which they have been adamantly opposed to), or move some of their things to an opt-in basis, you won't be able to avoid their tracking of you.

    Phone vendors should be able to offer alternatives to Google Maps on an Android phone without worrying about Google putting the screws to them. GMail should _not_ be a requirement for all Android phone users, or even Android developers.

    Where Google is getting into trouble is the irresistible desire to improperly use their success in one area as a club to force people to do things their way in another.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 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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        Chosen Reject (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 2:30pm

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

        So you use Bing instead of Google for search, well every web page that is using Google Ads or Google analytics is still keeping tabs on you.
        Also, if you prefer advertisements from Google, and you go to some website that doesn't use Google, you'll be tracked by a different advertiser. If you like Google+, and you go to a website that has the facebook like button on it, you'll get tracked by facebook. If you like Reddit, but you go to a website that has a "Digg This" button, you'll get tracked by Digg.
        If you have an Android phone, good luck trying to use a competitor's mapping service. Last I checked they _required_ you to have a GMail account.
        It's not required to have gmail account for android. It sure makes the experience nicer, but it's not required. To get apps off the market it is (AFAIK), but that's like complaining you need an Amazon account to buy stuff from Amazon. Speaking of which, if you don't have a gmail account you could still get apps from Amazon's Market.
        If you have a wireless router, Google wants to force you to 'Opt-Out' of them tracking it.
        Here's a quick hint for you, if you have a wireless router, the fact that Google gives you an option not to be tracked by it should be considered a gift to you. Your wireless router is probably screaming its existence at 2.4 GHz to everyone. Anybody within 50-100 meters of your wireless router can track you, and if you don't have encryption turned on, then not only can anyone see your router, they can also see what you are doing. So again, Google telling you that they'll remove that information from their one time drive by is a gift to you because of their size. Your neighbors won't give you that luxury.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 1:57pm

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

      Last I checked they _required_ you to have a GMail account.
      Just to clarify, they only require you to have a Google account, not a GMail account. You can have one without the other.

       

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        TheStupidOne, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 2:38pm

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

        I'm pretty sure that you don't need either actually ...

        When you boot an android phone the first time you are prompted to log into your google account. However you can skip that. If you skip that, you can't use the android market so you have to side load all your apps (easy to do in android) Some other android features won't work without a google account, but I'm pretty sure all of those can be worked around or replaced. It would be pretty easy actually to create a custom android rom that is google free (excepting of course the source code). There just doesn't seem to be any demand for that ...

         

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      HothMonster, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 2:10pm

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

      omg Google is skynet

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 2:13pm

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

      "So you use Bing instead of Google for search, well every web page that is using Google Ads or Google analytics is still keeping tabs on you."

      That is what TOR is for.

       

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      John Fenderson (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 4:02pm

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

      So you use Bing instead of Google for search, well every web page that is using Google Ads or Google analytics is still keeping tabs on you.


      Not if you add a few lines to your hosts file: http://www.raymond.cc/forum/tutorials/13257-block-google-msn-windows-live-and-yahoo-ads-using-hosts- file.html

       

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      JohnnyRotten (profile), Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 8:32am

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

      This argument has more straw men per square inch…

      Google is big...
      Yes, you can always use another search engine, but....the bigger they get the harder it is to avoid them.

      Personally the only thing I think that needs to happen, now that Google is so big and successful, is an easier way to avoid them.

      At this point, even if you wanted to avoid Google, you would have a hard time of it.


      I don't really agree with this statement. However, the logical problem with your statement is that if it is true, no matter what happens to Google (one company or many) this will still happen.

      So you use Bing instead of Google for search, well every web page that is using Google Ads or Google analytics is still keeping tabs on you.

      And about 20 other various companies doing the same thing on those web pages. Is your argument against tracking in general, only that Google does it cause it's "bigger", or "?"

      So you use Yahoo Mail instead of GMail, Google is still going through all of the emails that either come from other people with GMail or get sent to people with GMail. The bigger they get the more people will be using GMail and the harder it will be to avoid them.

      To use your argument: If you use Yahoo Mail, Yahoo is still going through all of the emails that either come from other people with Yahoo or get sent to people with Yahoo. The bigger they get the more people will be using Yahoo and the harder it will be to avoid them. Again, is your argument against email in general, or only that Google does it?

      If you have an Android phone, good luck trying to use a competitor's mapping service. Last I checked they _required_ you to have a GMail account.

      Having a Gmail account doesn't force you to use a specific web page (Google maps, Bing Maps, MapQuest) on any phone. There isn't any luck involved - I can go to any map service I want.

      If you have a wireless router, Google wants to force you to 'Opt-Out' of them tracking it.

      Well, only one that they have gone through the trouble of detecting, which *anyone* can do. However, I agree this is a pretty douchey(tm) move.

      Can you see where this is heading? At some point, unless Google is forced to obey such things as the 'Do not track' header (which they have been adamantly opposed to), or move some of their things to an opt-in basis, you won't be able to avoid their tracking of you.

      I could do the substitution game again, but at this point I'm hoping you get the point - the "unless company X is forced to Y" argument could apply to anyone, yes? Again, why is this only in the context of Google? Again, are you only opposed to Google doing/not doing this thing when so many others do/don't?

      Phone vendors should be able to offer alternatives to Google Maps on an Android phone without worrying about Google putting the screws to them.

      My Droid X actually came with the Verizon flavor of a map application, which I couldn't get rid of quick enough. You might want to stop using the Android platform as your example, as the vendors implementing the platform have enormous freedom in how they deploy it, what features to include, etc. When you see homogeneous feature sets, it isn't a conspiracy, but instead the end result of a decision to leverage the feature set because it provides the best value to the company implementing it. The exception is the application store, which Google does require a gmail account to leverage (billing, tracking, etc). Addressed next...

      GMail should _not_ be a requirement for all Android phone users, or even Android developers.

      Let's see. How about "An Apple account should not be a requirement for all iPhone users, or even iPhone developers". Yet again - against centralized app market stores in general, or just the Google one?

      Where Google is getting into trouble is the irresistible desire to improperly use their success in one area as a club to force people to do things their way in another.

      A lot of supposition here, unsupported by your previous arguments. If you don't mind, please define the "club" being using only by Google/Big Company. Define how this mythical thing is being "improperly" used by Google/Big Company. Most importantly, if you could, show how Google/Big Company's improper use of the club will "force people to do things their way". I only ask because [a] all your statements above really could apply to any company that does similar business on the internet, and [b] In each case above, I can go to a competitor without issues or consequences*.

      In your post, you haven't so much made a case against Google, as much as against certain business practices and applications on the internet (tracking, email, maps, app stores, etc) in general. You've then taken these items and made Google the bad guy in spite of being "one of many" in the same space simply because they are "bigger". You didn't define how "bigger" is worse then doing the same thing when you are "smaller" outside of the flawed argument that Google is bad because they are everywhere and can't be avoided. This argument doesn't seem to hold water as per the rebuttals above. Yes, Google is big, but I am under no obligation to use them at all*. If I do decide to use Google, I certainly can change my mind later and use a competing service without fear of retribution or negative consequences.

      * The sole exception I can think of being the platform centric Google centralized application store. However, even here I now have another choice - the Amazon Appstore for Android. However, based on your arguments, I'm not sure if I should avoid Amazon: they are big, they require I sign up with them, I will get emails from them, I will be forced to use their downloader, and they will track me. Is it ok to use Amazon? Do I need to determine an absolute measure of "bigness" to determine which way to go?

      To help aleviate your fear of Google, here are some helpful tips:
      [1] If you don't want to be tracked by Google Analytics, Ad Sense, or *anyone*, there isn't a high technical or implementation hurdle to make this so on your browser.
      [2] If you don't want to use gmail, don't. No one will shoot a dog (sorry Mad magazine) if you choose to use any one of what must be hundreds of mail service providers.
      [3] You can use any mapping application you like! Crazy, but true. I happen to use Google maps, and I highly recommend it - tons of features, and easy to leverage API's. But the choice is yours.
      [4] If you buy a mobile/smart device that has an application store, you most likely WILL have to sign up to a specific vendor in most cases to use that store (Apple, Blackberry, etc). The only exception I can think of at this time (not counting grey market) is the Android platform - Amazon has an app store for droid applications.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 1:41pm

    So Big is a Problem?

    Unless we are talking about Big Content (MPAA, RIAA)
    or Big Oil (Exxon, BP, Cheveron {even if these don't hold a candle to various Oil Companies in the middle east})
    or Big Finance
    or Big Telcom (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint)
    or Big Agriculture
    or Big Pharma
    or Big Tech (IBM, Intel, Oracle)

    Big is only a problem when it comes to Search. Because Google must not be pulling its weight donating to their campaigns.

    Maybe there is some other reason, but heck if I can figure it out.

     

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      Hephaestus (profile), Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 6:31am

      Re: So Big is a Problem?

      Speaking of contributions ... why don't we kickstarter a contribution drive for each and every congress critter, and a lobbying fund so we can be heard also.

       

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      JohnnyRotten (profile), Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 8:56am

      Re: So Big is a Problem?

      Big is only a problem when it comes to Search. Because Google must not be pulling its weight donating to their campaigns.

      This.

      These hearing don't happen to well represented ("$") companies. This is just notice to Google that they aren't giving enough into the payola system we call Congress.

       

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    out_of_the_blue, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 2:07pm

    Big IS bad.

    Inherently, and only gets worse.

    And Google TRACKS YOU, don't forget. It's not your friend, you're just the meat puppets it preys on.

     

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    New Mexico Mark, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 2:13pm

    Of course there is such a thing as a "natural" search

    There is too such a thing as a natural search. Very simple -- I enter a search term and Google greps their who database for every URL where that term is found, in no particular order, one page at a time.

    Of course, what people really want is "useful", not "natural". Useful is what differentiates information from data, and useful generally introduces bias -- hopefully one the sender and receiver can both accept.

     

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      Chosen Reject (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 2:36pm

      Re: Of course there is such a thing as a "natural" search

      in no particular order
      Please define this. How does software (or even humans for that matter) do this? It's going to be in some order, alphabetically, order of retrieval, random, shortest or longest, etc. There's going to be an order, and someone is going to have to make a choice. The closest you could get to having a natural order is going with order of retrieval.

       

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        HothMonster, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 2:40pm

        Re: Re: Of course there is such a thing as a "natural" search

        put all the results in a bag then throw in a weasel with glue on one foot, whichever one comes out stuck to him is the webpage you get, no lists no choices just the weasel. If that site isnt what you were looking for search again and we will throw the weasel back in the bag.

         

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          Chosen Reject (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 2:44pm

          Re: Re: Re: Of course there is such a thing as a "natural" search

          That's not a very useful search method, but it's also not what I would call natural. Random? Yes. Natural? No.

           

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            HothMonster, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 2:50pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Of course there is such a thing as a "natural" search

            weasels come from nature

             

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              HothMonster, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 2:51pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Of course there is such a thing as a "natural" search

              unless your saying google has taken over Big Weasel and replaced them with robots. Someone inform the congress we need a hearing on Google's ties with the Big Weasel lobby.

               

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                Chosen Reject (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 3:03pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Of course there is such a thing as a "natural" search

                Doesn't congress already have the monopoly on the Big Weasel lobby?

                 

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    freak (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 2:17pm

    "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."


    Valid point, but I think you missed a bigger one. There exist many other search engines; If Kohl is saying only google and bing provide news & search services, he's either ignorant of their smaller competition, or thinks only bing and google provide quality service.
    Either conclusion leads to the idea that google got to where it is by being overwhelmingly good. And that certainly isn't against the law . . .

     

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      HothMonster, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 2:46pm

      Re:

      he is ignorant

      ftfy

      My mom still calls the internet AOL. Everything her browser the webpages everything is AOL. Her computer hasn't been hooked up to AOL since ~95. She isn't stupid, she is just willfully ignorant. All this stuff came out after she was 50 she never thought she would need any of it before she died or that it would help her life. My sister got her on facebook last year, im actually looking forward to the day she says the facebook is screwing up instead of the AOL.

      But back to the point, what little of the transcripts I have read lead me to believe that these senators know less about the AOL than my mother.

       

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        John Fenderson (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 4:06pm

        Re: Re:

        My mom still calls the internet AOL.


        Lol! Still, it's not as bad as the apparent majority of people who believe that the web and the internet are synonymous. That drives me batty.

         

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      Richard (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 2:50pm

      Re:

      There exist many other search engines;

      duck duck go

       

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      Samuel Abram (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 2:57pm

      Re:

      There exist many other search engines


      If there are really many others, name ten.

      I'll give you a head start: ask.com

      Okay, name nine.

       

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        freak (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 3:28pm

        Re: Re:

        Bing
        Yahoo
        Ask
        Ixquick
        duck duck go
        dogpile
        altavista
        cuil
        yaggle (not to be confused with yaffle, which is academics only)
        excite
        go (disney's offering; is it a full search engine?)
        hotbot
        gigablast



        That's 13. I added a few in case you wanted to dispute some, (like go, for example)

        No, wait, 12. When I tested out cuil just now, the page was down.

        That's off the top of my head; Satisfied?

         

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          freak (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 3:34pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          And also cross yaggle off the list. It's been regionally blocked; I can access it, but people outside of Canada probably can't, I think.

          I'm not entirely sure why, but I'm also not sure why it exists in the first place. Since when does a university need their own search engine? *shrug*

           

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          Samuel Abram (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 5:03pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Bing doesn't count, because the Senators acknowledged it. Besides, is having just Google and Bing that much better than having just Google?

          Also, I named Ask.com, so that doesn't count either.

          Anyway, I decided to look at the rest, and I AM satisfied.

          To be sure, I wanted to do an experiment: I would search the phrase "Copyright is not an ethical proposition, it's a utilitarian one", and any link to the place whence the quote originated get my seal of approval. Google meets this standard and gets an A. So I looked on the list, and:

          -Yahoo had a link to this very quote of Doctorow's and an anti-DRM treatise quoting the same quote, but not the original quote in its original context. I'd give it a B.

          -Ask.com had the whole speech as its first link. Bravo to Ask.com! It even beat Google in this regard! A+

          -Ixquick had a link to the Cory Doctorow TXT ebook at his website, which was #5 from the top. I'll give it a A-.

          -Duck Duck Go had the same results as Yahoo...hmmm...B- for possible cheating

          -Dogpile was as bad as lycos was 13 or so years ago, which really makes it a...dogpile. I only got one result, and it was the US Copyright office. A solid "F".

          -Altavista was up there with Google in its search results. A all the way!

          -Cuil didn't produce any results! A solid 'I' for Incomplete. It's worse than an F.

          -Yaggle didn't seem like a search engine, even when I searched for it with one of the aforementioned search engines.

          -Excite gave me the same results as dogpile. An F- for copying a F-student's homework.

          -Go was basically a yahoo search, so it doesn't count here.

          -Hotbot also got nothing. Same "I" as cuil.

          -Gigablast got me nothing as well. Also an 'I'.

          As a bonus.

          -Lycos had the relevant results as #1 and #2. It has really come a long way if this is usually the case now. A solid A+!

          So that's:

          Google: A
          Yahoo: B
          Ask: A+
          Ixquick: A-
          Duck Duck Go: B-
          Dogpile: F
          Altavista: A
          Cuil: I
          Excite: F-
          Hotbot: I
          Gigablast: I
          Lycos: A+

          So out of those, the best ones to me were Ask, Lycos, Isquick, and Altavista. Some others, like Duck Duck Go and Yahoo were close. Others failed miserably, like Excite and Dogpile. And Cuil, Hotbot and Gigablast didn't even try.

          So yes, I am satisfied. At the very least I got to know other other search engines. Some better, most worse. And I've found this is both a case for and against what Mike is arguing: For in that there are a lot of options besides Google, (some even better than Google). Against in that how the hell are we supposed to know about Google's competitors, some of which have made better results than Google, if Google is so huge? I realize you may say word of mouth, but I didn't know about some of the other companies until you told me! Then again, this could also be a case in favor of Mike's Argument because word of mouth established Facebook and Google to begin with...

           

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 2:33pm

    He flat out claimed that if Bing went out of business, the only way to find news would be Google. Huh?!?

    OK, I can see these senators being so old that they've never heard of blogs/Reddit/Digg/Wikinews/etc., but they've never heard of TV? Radio? Newspapers?! Just how old ARE these guys?!

     

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

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 2:33pm

    Dear congress,

    Please continue to focus on this week's "ruin the internet" effort instead of spurring job growth.

    Your employee,
    unemployment rate statistician stu

     

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    identicon
    anonymous, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 2:40pm

    as much as i dislike the 'Google tracking' that is done, i use Google because it gives the most and nearest results when doing a search for whatever information i want.
    all this hearing is really showing is how little knowledge and understanding the committee members have of the internet. before trying to accuse Google of 'being too big' and other things they dont like, these committee members should get some computer and internet lessons. having said that, the other side of the coin is, they didn't get any prior knowledge of how to make a movie or produce an album, they simply agreed with the industries concerned because 'they liked them'. there weren't any 'reasons' for them to like those industries, of course. yeah, right!!!

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 2:46pm

    Government and the Internet

    It's only a matter of time before they screw it all up. We have to keep vigilant, and transparent, and connected.

     

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

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    hmm (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 3:31pm

    well

    Microsoft wouldn't want google out of the competition, where else would they steall all their results for Bing from? hehehehe

     

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    hmm (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 3:33pm

    Due to a software bug the governments spin-machine(tm) it often forgets to display the word bribes...

    Bank's [Bribes] are too big to let them fail.......

    etc

     

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    hmm (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 3:34pm

    I think the funniest thing for Google to do would be to point out that you can use Google to search for rival search engines!

     

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    hmm (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 3:36pm

    and if you destroy Google, it becomes harder to find out about rival search engines, thus damaging google = anti-competitive.

    Also, WTF US Government? Why would you want to destroy a successful AMERICAN company????

    Maybe its like a "well everything else in the US has gone to shit and the government has 0% clue what to do next, so we'll just flatten everything and see if maybe theres an answer in their basements..."

     

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

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    Rob Pegoraro (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 3:37pm

    To expand on my tweet...

    ... the subtext of many of the questions today was this idea that there is such a thing, as Sen. Lee said, of "natural, algorithmic" search--like it's something available from the local farmer's market. I got the sense that he'd never heard of black-hat SEO, content farming, Google-bombing and all of the other tricks that require any decent search engine to make constant tweaks to its algorithm. He might want to talk to whoever who ran his campaign's online marketing about those things.

    (That said, if Google really did threaten Yelp and TripAdvisor with removal from its general search listings when each asked to be left out of Google Places listings, it's got some serious explaining to do.)

    - RP

     

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

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      The Infamous Joe (profile), Sep 21st, 2011 @ 4:01pm

      Re: To expand on my tweet...

      Is that why those reviews are missing? I noticed it this weekend, and was a little bummed; it was very useful to have them all in one place.

      Do you know what the result of not having them there was? I didn't click through to yelp once on my trip. They should be careful what they ask for, they just might get it.

       

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

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 8:56am

      Re: To expand on my tweet...

      That said, if Google really did threaten Yelp and TripAdvisor with removal from its general search listings when each asked to be left out of Google Places listings, it's got some serious explaining to do.

      Why would they have to explain?

      Google is building a service based on data in their existing data-stores. Isn't this whole inquiry about Google treating some data as "special" when compared to other data. Why shouldn't Yelp and TripAdvisor expect to show up in Google Places if they show up in Google searches?

      I'm very anti-monopoly and I think that the DOJ and Congress play an important role in protecting consumers. That said, I don't see any reason that the government should be telling a company (which isn't a monopoly) how to run their business. The internet is the greatest equalizer ever developed, so great, in fact, that I would venture to say "the greatest enemy to monopolies is the internet."

      As long as we are talking about the digital realm I don't believe it is possible to have a monopoly. Now if you want to talk about infrastructure or physical aspects of the internet then we might have ourselves a conversation.

       

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

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    identicon
    trish, Sep 21st, 2011 @ 5:24pm

    bunch of old men

    they like their cars and their money, so big banks and big auto-makers get free billions from the taxpayer. but big tech companies like microsoft and google get the evil eye for succeeding. WTF is wrong with society when the people making decisions about everyone's future are patently greedy and soon to die anyway?

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 8:24am

    Google is not big enough!

    Google should get into the banking business and become "too big to fail." Problem solved.

     

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


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