Googlegate!

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No. Don’t get all your hopes up, all you conspiracy people out there. This is nothing really big and probably just has to do with how the mysterious inner machinery of Google works. I have absolutely no idea about how it works. To me it is just an amazing piece of machinery.

We know Wiki is infamous for its gatekeeping of climate content. But can we trust Google to deliver fair and balanced information searches? I bring this up because on the 31st of May I wrote a harmless blurb about Naomi Oreskes Naomi Oreskes Denial of Nonconsensus. After I posted it, I googled “Naomi Oreskes Denial” and my post appeared on page 1 at position 5 or 6, meaning anyone googling those words would have found it easily – right there on the first page. I remember feeling quite pleased about it.

But if I had been Ms Oreskes, I probably would not have been too happy about that. After all, in her world, there’s nothing but consensus out there, and so we can’t have any dissent, now can we?

A day later on June 1st I googled it again, and this time I was relegated to page 2, position no. 17 – meaning at that point I had already been put on the Google conveyor belt to obscurity. Today, 5 days later, I googled “Naomi Oreskes Denial” again. This time Google had moved my post down to page 5 position 56, meaning most searchers probably would not find it. Moreover, clicking on the link they provide no longer takes you directly to the post itself, but to my homepage instead. This assures that over time the post eventually gets buried. Naomi Oreskes’s illusion of consensus thus stays undisturbed.

I don’t know if other bloggers have had similar experiences. If so, it could be interesting to hear about them. There are lots of experiments we could try, like applying various inputs and to see what outputs are produced.

Try googling Googlegate! and see what happens.

As this is a harmless post, and I think Google may leave it at the top of their search results. Right Google?

Update: Many have already written about Googlegate. This is interesting: nationalpost lawrence-solomon

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4 responses to “Googlegate!”

  1. Ed Caryl

    If we make Google (and Bing) aware that we are aware of their tricks, they will stop. I regularly use the advanced search features on Google to get around their “steering”.

  2. Bob of Castlemaine

    This post* by Anthony Watts WUWT December 2009 tends to reinforce your comments. Clearly Google (and Bing?) heeds its senior advisers when it comes to defending the faith (“the CAGW consensus”).

    *http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/02/google-trends-on-climategate-show-public-interest-increasing-but-troubling-questions-loom/

  3. Derek

    Compare the results of any search phrases or words in google and (for example) Firefox.
    They are always (considerably) different.

  4. Shub Niggurath

    Google tries to guess the most ‘relevant’ content for any search term. So it is not a simple brute search result that is delivered to the user.

    Content always shows up initially reflecting the raw search results. The rank then drops or rises up depending how many other people are searching for this content.

    This, is of course a simple explanation – Google’s algorithms try to ‘interpret’ your search term and impose its vision what it thinks you are searching, on you, the searcher, in many other ways as well.

    For example, if your Naomi Oreskes denial of noconsensus’ phrase becomes famous, your page will pop up first.

    Or course, this does not mean Google is anything but a cold-blooded warmist. It is. There is enough proof, as you point out.

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