Google, "completely wrong," and does it really matter?

Summary:Recently the media discovered that if someone visited Google, selected image search" and entered the search phrase "Completely Wrong," images of Mitt Romney appeared as search results. Google says this is just a result of their search algorithm. Some see sinister intentions. Does it really matter?

One of Google's strengths is its capability to show what's important to users of the Internet on a moment-by-moment basis. This strength can also be a weakness. The company's search algorithm is designed to make an attempt to bring up relevant results when someone enters a search phrase. One of the more challenging problems is defining the word "relevant." What is relevant to some might not be to others.

Google has attempted to direct the search results based upon who conducted the search, where they are located, what searches this person has conducted in the past and then scans its massive internet database. Furthermore, the database results are then sorted by a number of factors, including when the subject pages were published and then presents the results. This is how Mitt Romney's photo came up.

Why did this photo come up? Google would explain this is a direct result of scanning through all of the media accounts of Mr. Romney's speeches and the fact that he came back later to say that some of his statements supporting his view of "the 47%" were completely wrong. So many stories were published, in fact, that other uses of this phrase were pushed to the back of the search results.

Some would claim that Google was taking an official, political decision on the campaign for the U.S. presidency and have roundly criticized Google. Others, having a better understanding of how Internet search works, would say this is just a snapshot of what users of the Internet are saying and thinking and has little to nothing to do with Google's take on what's happening.

Does this event change your view of Google and other search engine players, such as Microsoft and Yahoo, or is it a non-event being made important by media organizations hungry for content to fill their 24-hour online and broadcast operations?

Topics: After Hours

About

Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He is responsible for research, publications, and operations. Mr. Kusnetzky has been involved with information technology since the late 1970s. Mr. Kusnetzky has been responsible for research operations at the 451 Group; corporate and... Full Bio

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