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Hello there and good morning, good afternoon, good evening depending on wherever you are. Today we’re
going to look at a website every one of us has definitely used in our lifetime, the massive
machine that is Google.
The first ever website came in 1991 and Google launched in 1998. In 2013, there were 672
million active websites with 2.7 billion internet users worldwide. That’s four users per website.
It doesn’t sound like a lot, but for search engines and aggregators, factors have to be
taken into account to rank pages higher according to relevance.
In 2007, Google beat Microsoft to become the most visited site on the web and has been
ever since, closely followed by facebook and YouTube.
What goes on behind the scenes are things called algorithms that are defined as “a
computable set of steps to achieve a desired result.” Google’s famed prominence is
down to a patented algorithm called PageRank that helps rank web pages in search engine
results and the name comes from one of Google’s founders Larry Page.
According to Google, “PageRank works by counting the number and quality of links to
a page to determine a rough estimate of how important the website is. Algorithms are computer
programs that look for clues to give you back exactly what you want.”
PageRank is one of over 200 invisible algorithms amongst other criteria that Google are known
to notoriously protect, the specifics of which are kept secret to beat off competition, or
eradicate other sites by giving a lower page ranking and help Google maintain an edge over
its competitors globally.
And it seems it will remain confidential as Eric Schmidt, the Execuitive chairman of Google
had this to say in 2010.
This is why YouTube and Gmail are so successful. Moz say if you promote content on Google+
it will do better than other social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. Even after
Googling Moz today Moz ads are now appearing throughout my web searches.
If I search for something online and you search the exact same thing now at the time, we would
get very different results. There is no standard Google and we can’t see how our search results
are different from others.
But what relevance is this? These sites notice what we click on so advertisers can target
us and pay to appear at the top of the search bar without even consulting us, deciding what
we are shown. Governments can control and show information that they want.
On June 2nd this year, Google was blocked in China for the two days leading up to, during
and after the 25th anniversary of the pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square. The Chinese
government was behind the block, targeting Google’s search engine and Gmail. GreatFire,
an online censorship group in China said," because the block lasted for four days, it's
more likely that Google will be severely disrupted and barely usable from now on.”
The internet is showing us what it thinks we want to see, or is it? In a broadcast society,
the editors controlled and were criticised for what stories were covered and what stories
they chose to ignore. The internet changed that. You don’t get to decide what gets in or what
gets filtered out. So control has been passed onto algorithms on Google, Facebook, Twitter
and so on.
There have been no ethics to algorithms...until the right to be forgotten ruling in the European
Court of Justice this May. The court said links to irrelevant and outdated data should be
on request. Google said it would assess each request and balance "privacy rights of the
individual with the public's right to know and distribute information."
So should Google and its algorithms forget us? Earlier this week Wikipedia’s founder
Jimmy Wales swore to fight censorship and the right to be forgotten ruling. He is one
of ten people appointed to a panel charged with drawing up guidance for search engines
on how to handle requests to remove links to web pages under the right to be forgotten
legislation. The panel also funnily enough includes Google’s Eric Schmidt and David
Drummond.
Wales said Google had been asked to remove five links that were on Wikipedia in the past
week and as a result Wikipedia decided to publish these notices online here. They included
articles from search results of an image of young man playing a guitar, a page about Gerry
Hutch, a former criminal and a page about Rento Vallanzasca, an Italian gangster.
Google revealed last month that it had received more than 91,000 requests to delete a combined
total of 328,000 links under Europe's right to be forgotten ruling.
So does Google have algorithms to promote one site over another? Are they controlling
what exactly what we search for? Do you have any examples of this you have come across?
The lack of competition is great for Google’s revenue and a company is yet to take them
on. Perhaps Apple should give it a go. Oh yes, I went there. You know where to let me
know your thoughts. My video on Putin and his $40billion fortune from last week is here.
Get subscribed if you’re not already here. See you with a very special guest next Friday.
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Does Google control what you see and the right to be forgotten online? - Truthloader

2308 Folder Collection
Karen Chan published on November 15, 2015    brieven translated    Kristi Yang reviewed
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