Google.com is probably the only website I use on a daily basis. I cannot think of one single workday that goes by that I do not use Google for something. I have noticed for about the past 2 years, they upgraded their site to allow for suggestions. At first I thought these suggestions were just based on what Google deemed to be the most popular search items, based on search statistics. Then I realized that, on average, two out of every three suggested results (in the top 3), are businesses. Then I realized that the suggested words are not universal, but based rather on the specific country Google site. For example, if I go to “Google.com”, I will get different suggestions that if I go to Google.ca. Now, on top of this, the suggested words are then filtered a 5th time, based on your location within the country. Google uses your IP information to determine what city you are in, or at the very list which major city you are near, then gives you suggested words based on all this statistical data.
First and foremost, if you were not alarmed half-way through the paragraph, then wake up. These suggestions are paid for, by the companies first and foremost. Secondly, if there is no paid for suggestion for a certain letter, Google then gives you results based on your location. Again, these are still not purse results, since someone in one city might get the suggestions, but someone else, halfway across the globe might never find what they need. I believe this is deceptive on Google’s part, so I went through the entire alphabet, and posted below the top 3 suggestions for each letter. Check it out…
Bank Of america
Bed, Bath and Beyond
Dallas Morning News
Quotes about life
Reverse Phone Lookup
Rooms To Go
Zip codes by city
Just for kicks, I then browsed to Google.ca, and started over again with the letter “a”. My results were completely different, not even one word was the same until I got to “F”…I received “Facebook” on both the default and Canadian sites. Google was now suggesting words that it deemed Canadians would be more desiring to see, and I am sure they were as filtered down as the default domain was, perhaps even more so.
I don’t know about you, but I believe that everything in our society is already filtered so much that it is hard for us to really know what the truth is. Is Google really going to be a part of that? When you want to know the truth about something, you want the rawest, most pure data you can get, right? So that your decision is based on an accurate starting point rather than a list of assumptions and judgments already made by a corporate entity. With Google being the number one search engine that the public uses, they not only have the responsibility, but the duty to give the public information that is unfiltered. By not doing this, they are in fact giving you a polished, cleaned up, and pre-filtered list of results and suggestions that THEY deem to be important. The word important here means “someone paid Google enough to make it on the first page by buying AdWords”. Never heard of that term? Yes, “Google AdWords” is a product that companies can buy to boost their rankings, and get closer to the page one results. Most people do not go past page two when trying to get results, much less page three, so Google has created this system whereby companies can pay tons and tons of money; I am talking about millions a year to Google, to end up on the first page. I guarantee you, that every one of the big companies that are listed in those suggestions above have marketing teams that have the sole task of funding Google with enough money to keep them on top. I find this to not only be deceptive, but inaccurate.
If I were to do a history report on the Revolutionary War back in 1996, when the World Wide Web was only a few years old, then I would most likely get hard data from search engines like InfoSeek.com/Go.com and Lycos (way before Google’s time). If I were do conduct those same searches now on Google, in 2010, I guarantee you I would get some kind of sponsor or company influenced in my results which would then lead to a site, possibly owned by that company, giving me information about so called “history”. What is to prevent these companies from taking part in revisionist history practices that better fuel their company’s agenda?
For example, Wikipedia was created and owned by a guy named Jimmy Wales, who claims to be an “Objectivist” (his own made up word); but how objective can one person be? In fact, it has been the complaint many times that Wikipedia is a front to fuel the liberal agenda.
And here I am giving you a man-made site as a source, to refute another man-made site as being bias and filtered…you decide for yourself what the truth is. My point, in this blog, is that in the same way Wikipedia cannot be trusted as a source of fact, neither can Google. Through million dollar contracts with major heavyweights in the corporate world, influencing search results on every topic, Google can no longer be an empirical form of truth and knowledge. It is sad that a company parades around as a virtuous white knight, doing no evil, and providing everything for free, when at its core, it values profit much more than knowledge. Don’t get me wrong, capitalism is good, but you don’t go around pretending to be a humanitarian when your bottom line is all that matters to you in the end.
Google is just like all the rest; don’t go falling in love with them just because they “appear” on the surface to be do-gooders. If anything they are doing more harm in how they filter and taint results, since the results found by users are what fuel what is considered “popular”. If those results are based on spoofed and cherry-picked data, then the results mean nothing.
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