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

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?

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TOPICS: After Hours
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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?

Topic: After Hours

About

Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He's literally written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. In his spare time, he's also the managing partner of Lux Sonus LLC, an investment firm.

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9 comments
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  • Looks accurate to me

    For what it's worth......GIS for "flip flopping douche bag", also displays a page full of pictures of Mitt.

    Don't blame Google though. Blame Romney for being a flip flopping douche bag.
    Tojuro
  • Welcome to politics.

    Welcome to politics. The search algorithm just shows what people are saying at the time.
    CobraA1
    • Agreed

      Agreed. A lot of people just don't understand how Google works. The algorithm behind this development doesn't even understand the meaning of the phrase "completely wrong", let alone the political implications of the results it returns for that phrase.
      Ajedi32
  • What if I search on Liar and "worst ever"

    I should get a full 5 pages of Obama, if Google is playing fair with their search hits.
    Role Guy
    • Amazing

      It's like you don't know how Google works.
      Michael Alan Goff
  • lol

    Well that simply shows how trustworthy that millionair really is.

    This research shows only ho a majority of people thinks sbout him
    Yann82
  • google translate Arabic israel

    a "bug" apparently used to exist in google translate that would translate incorrectly into Arabic ... but only when certain phrases about Israel were entered.
    Google isn't an indifferent internet monolith. It was designed and coded by humans with their own biases, agendas and sense of humour, so I wouldn't be surprised if an individual made a sneaky exception to the google algorithms. It would be hard to associate that with an official political stance by all of Google.
    justanumber
  • No surprise considering Eric Schmidt is one of obamas biggest donors.

    No one is more completely wrong than Obama. Im sure hed never let that come up. Left to algorithm alone Obama would full the first hundred pages for terms like socialist, failure, liar, crony, weak, follower, etc. etc. etc. So I think there's a bit more to it.
    Johnny Vegas
    • You're crazy

      I just felt the need to let you know that.
      Michael Alan Goff