Google Fails Miserably

If you do a Google search using the keywords “miserable failure” the top hit returned by Google is President George W. Bush’s biography posted on the White House website.

You can’t even find the words “failure” or “miserable” in the text of the biography. Apparently, this trick is possible because Google searches more than just the contents of web pages – it also counts how often a site is linked to, and with what words. Thus, members of an online community can affect the results of Google searches – called “Google bombing” – by linking their sites to a chosen one.

So now even Google searches have a political agenda! When you run your next Google search, keep in mind that the results may be politically biased.


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Comments

  1. Will Vehrs Avatar

    This was an organized effort, led by bloggers. It’s the kind of thing that leaves bloggers and blogging open to criticism and detracts from their seriousness.

  2. George Croft Avatar
    George Croft

    Here is documentation on the organized effort:

    http://www.snopes.com/politics/bush/google.asp

    I understand how google cannot fix all abuses, but they should fix something this blatant and well publicized. Google is supposed to be a search engine and this harms that purpose.

  3. Phil Rodokanakis Avatar
    Phil Rodokanakis

    George: I wholeheartedly agree. This isn’t a new problem apparently; it goes back to 2003. It’ hard to believe that in more than 1.5 years, Google hasn’t been able to fix this problem.

  4. Jim Bacon Avatar

    Hmmm. Google is located in a blue state. It wouldn’t be surprising to discover that more than a few Google employees sympathise with the organizers of the “miserable failure” effort.

  5. Phil Rodokanakis Avatar
    Phil Rodokanakis

    Google’s response on this is nothing short of callous:

    Craig Silverstein, Google’s director for technology, says the company sees nothing wrong with the public using its search engine this way. No user is hurt, he said, because there is no clearly legitimate site for “miserable failure” being pushed aside.

    Moreover, he said, Google’s results were taking stock of the range of opinions that are expressed online. “We just reflect the opinion on the Web,” he said, “for better or worse.”

    What about the fact that search results like these undermine the reliability of Google’s search engine–the mainstay of the company’s bread and butter?

  6. Jim Bacon Avatar

    Time to start a “crappy results” campaign, driving links to Google. I wonder what effect that might have.

  7. It’s called Google bombing, and it’s not particularly difficult or interesting. Bush won the election, so apparently the mass population is not letting the top slot on Google sway their opinion on matters of national importance.

  8. No surprise there since Google’s rating is Dark Blue – 100 % at BuyBlue.org “due to political contributions for the 2003-2004 election cycle.” The site also reports that “[d]uring the past election cycle Google’s CEO contributed solely to Democratic candidates.” If this troubles you, try the equally good search engine at Yahoo!, which gets a White – 47 % rating since “during the 2003-2004 election cycle their CEO donated heavily to conservative candidates.” Also, the site reports that Yahoo! Has “a PAC and this PAC contributed fairly significant amounts of money during the last election, mostly to conservative candidates.” Do you Yahoo!?

  9. Jim Bacon Avatar

    Amazing. Now even our choice of search engines constitutes a personal political statement!

  10. Phil Rodokanakis Avatar
    Phil Rodokanakis

    I liked your earlier idea, Jim to start a “crappy results” campaign, driving links to Google.

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