In 2010, Matt Warman the Consumer Technology Editor for the UK’s Telegraph, reported that Amit Singhal, Google Senior VP, characterized Google as “…the biggest kingmaker on this Earth”. [REF]
This was probably a Freudian slip on the part of Singhal, but the statement betrays what I believe to be the inherently narcissistic corporate worldview held by Google, Inc. At least I hope it was a Freudian slip, the alternative interpretation is much more disturbing: does Google truly presume to not only possess the power to make kings, but the right to do so?
Warman astutely concluded “With that unique position, however, comes responsibilities – when Google makes small changes, users’ behaviour can change enormously. The fortunes of whole companies and countless careers live and die by their rankings in [Google’s] search results.”
I found that a common thread exists in Google’s historical rhetoric and defense of their claims to be neutral in search. It seems that the basis of their defense is that search results are essentially not of human origin, but algorithmic origins. I see this rhetoric repeated over and over again, not only by Google, but by those who would otherwise appear to be objective observers, who for all appearances, seem to be thinking people gifted in logic, grammar and rhetoric. Notwithstanding, very little weight seems to be given to the fact that algorithms are human creations, Google’s employees program the algorithms. Ergo, Google search results are a 100% human decision-making process; albeit heavily automated.
In the same telegraph article, Singhal stated, "All rankings are decided algorithmically, and the focus is on user benefit, not advertiser or commercial benefit. We ask ourselves, 'Can a random company who does not want to be part of any Google system be harmed by a change we're proposing?' If they are, we won't do it." I find that this statement goes beyond the usual smoke-and-mirrors spin in defense of the neutral search defense, and exposes Google’s duplicity. An example is found my “aspersion algorithm” hypothesis whereby, Google deliberately elevates negative content about a person or business, even if it is factually incorrect, so that Google can earn additional advertising revenue from the competitors of the person or business being defamed by the demeaning search results.
Furthermore, I can't believe that Google's Chairman Eric Schmidt said the following prediction out loud in 2010, and Google's "Auto-Suggest" popups search suggestions come creepily close to fulfilling the same:
“We don’t need you to type at all because we know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less guess what you’re thinking about … Is that over the line?” – [REF]
To summarize, my main concerns with Google’s unprecedented power over global human thought are:
- Google presumes to know the best answers to the questions we ask (search results)
- Google presumes to even know what questions we want to ask (Google auto-suggest)
- Google presumes immunity for any damage that it does because it is merely a conduit of other people’s information. Whereas, it is clear that Google search results actually constitute new information, essentially 10 snippets that have been taken, out of context, from 10 original sources of information, and reconstituted as new information and in a wholey new context. Google is not merely a conduit of “innocent dissemination”. Google is the author and creator of its search results.
On a personal note, I intend never to serve a King, except the One sent from Heaven, so I have no need of a kingmaker, be it Google, or anyone else.
See also “HOW TO SUE GOOGLE for DEFAMATION” http://badforpeople.org/how-to-sue-google-for-defamation-and-internet-libel-or-slander/
I asked a trusted friend her thoughts on this article, her response:
“My thoughts are that any company that has that much power, and is that irresponsible to not allow people to remove their content in anyway, and facilitates criminal activities in their search results is just as guilty as the parties publishing it. Being that profitable and that cowardly to hide behind federal laws is both negligent and disgusting.”
See also Google’s “Trust Us” is not enough: http://www.fairsearch.org/trust-us/
Victim's Advocate, Forensic Analyst and Litigation Support Consultant
Licensed Private Investigator # 3589109
Internet Litigation Support Consultant
Journalist # A 10450 LAPC