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American Public Sides With Google, Not Government, on Search Neutrality
Fast Company ^ | 1/10/11 | Austin Carr

Posted on 01/22/2011 3:21:54 PM PST by LibWhacker

Search neutrality, the belief that search results ought to be impartial, is quickly becoming a hot-button issue in Washington. Critics have accused Internet giants Bing and Google of producing self-serving results, implying that, say, the latter engine's algorithm has been tweaked to push links to Google Maps or YouTube, rather than a competitor's site. Though Google has denied any such action, the question now is: Should federal authorities be tasked with regulating search results on Google and Bing, or might that amount to a "government takeover" of the Internet?

According to a new report by Rasmussen, the vast majority of Americans are opposed to any new regulations of the search engines. Released on Sunday, the survey found that 77% of U.S. adults were against government oversight of how Google and other engines rank their search results. Just 11% of respondents said regulation was necessary, and 12% were unsure.

This is great news for Google, which has been very vocal with its opposition to government regulation. Several months ago, the company engaged in a public debate with the New York Times editorial board, with both sides publishing competing op-eds on the issue. The NYT labeled Google the "gatekeeper of the Internet," arguing the company has far too much control over the Internet (roughly two-thirds of all search queries are handled by the service), and that with its algorithm kept highly secret, any tweaks to the system are unmonitored and potentially self-serving.

Coming to Google's defense was top exec Marissa Mayer, who ticked off the downsides of government oversight. She argued that about 70 million queries per day have never before been seen by Google, and that engineers must constantly update the algorithm with tweaks and improvements. Could federal commissions and bureaucrats ever keep pace with Google?

Most importantly, she wrote at the time, regulation would stifle competition.

"The strongest arguments against rules for 'neutral search' is that they would make the ranking of results on each search engine similar, creating a strong disincentive for each company to find new, innovative ways to seek out the best answers on an increasingly complex web," she argued. "Without competition and experimentation between companies, how could the rules keep up?"

And it seems this market-knows-best approach to search has won the day with the American public, with more than three-quarters of respondents in Rasmussen's survey siding with Google.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: net; neutrality; search

1 posted on 01/22/2011 3:21:57 PM PST by LibWhacker
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To: LibWhacker

I side with the people that have a multi-billion dollar profit motive. Obviously they have the consumers best interest at heart....


2 posted on 01/22/2011 3:24:00 PM PST by Tempest (I put money ahead of people)
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To: LibWhacker
This one is easy. What part of the Constitution gives congress the power to regulate internet searches? NONE!

Next case.

/johnny

3 posted on 01/22/2011 3:27:35 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: LibWhacker

How to make a problem infinitely worse. More government regulation.

At one time, Google were the good guys. I don’t even remember their predecessors, but they planted spyware on your computer if you used them. So I switched over to Google, and the other guys gradually died as everyone left them.

At the moment, my default search engine is Bing, but I switch over to Google if Bing can’t find what I’m looking for. At some point, if Google abuses it’s position enough, someone will take their place, and they will die, just like Watchacallit did earlier. Can’t even remember the name any more.


4 posted on 01/22/2011 3:31:43 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: JRandomFreeper; Tempest

Definitely the evil spawn of net neutrality, imo. I suppose the ‘rats are going hit us with a blizzard of harebrained neutrality schemes now.


5 posted on 01/22/2011 3:34:05 PM PST by LibWhacker
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To: FReepers
The Wolves Are At The Door!

Stop Them With The Truth

Donate To Free Republic

6 posted on 01/22/2011 3:34:23 PM PST by DJ MacWoW (America! The wolves are at your door! How will you answer the knock?)
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To: LibWhacker

Back in the dark days of the internet when html browsers were a novelty and most content consisted of government documents and unix source code downloaded with ftp or telnet, it was understood that no commerce of any kind was to be tolerated, much like amateur radio is today. Then seemingly overnight... wham... all sorts of revenue generating webpages began to appear, resulting in what we see today. Did a law change somewhere along the line that I’m not aware of?


7 posted on 01/22/2011 3:35:01 PM PST by SpaceBar
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To: LibWhacker

If you don’t like Google search results, don’t use Google. It’s that simple.

Personally, I think Google’s has been too successful; so much so that their citation algorithm has become self referential. Which is why for any given search you perform you’ll get dozens if not hundreds of pages of extremely similar results; and if you want more variety you have to go to some other option (like my still beloved but destined for obsolescence AltaVista). In any event, I believe that Google’s prime as a search engine has passed, and in a few years it will be replaced by competitors. There’s certainly no need for government regulators to step in and muck with the process; what are we toddlers that have to have our hands held by a state nanny when we use the internet? People will decide for themselves what the most effective search engines are; unless the state comes in takes over, removing all differences between the various competitors.


8 posted on 01/22/2011 3:45:02 PM PST by eclecticEel (Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: 7/4/1776 - 3/21/2010)
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To: LibWhacker
Critics have accused Internet giants Bing and Google of producing self-serving results, implying that, say, the latter engine's algorithm has been tweaked to push links to Google Maps or YouTube, rather than a competitor's site.

It's OK when the Obama administration pays them for the results they want, though.

9 posted on 01/22/2011 3:57:56 PM PST by E. Pluribus Unum ("If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun." -- Barry Soetoro, June 11, 2008)
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To: LibWhacker

I hate google it pulls up far too much random junk. I far prefer dogpile.


10 posted on 01/22/2011 5:00:40 PM PST by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: yldstrk

And my kid says google is the government.


11 posted on 01/22/2011 5:01:48 PM PST by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: LibWhacker

Search results are speech. If you don’t like them, go find another search result utterer.


12 posted on 01/22/2011 5:05:10 PM PST by cynwoody
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To: Cicero
At some point, if Google abuses it’s position enough, someone will take their place, and they will die, just like Watchacallit did earlier. Can’t even remember the name any more.

AltaVista? They were the one I used before Google came along. I don't remember any spyware, though. I always hated Yahoo. Too hairy a home page. And the concept of humans categorizing sites like librarians! What a cockamamie idea!

At first I didn't like Google. They didn't offer enough ways to tweak your query, as AltaVista did. But then I noticed I was getting better results from Google without having to tweak. Google had figured out to harness the linking smarts of the web authors to rank their results. Now, of course, all the search engines work that way.

13 posted on 01/22/2011 5:11:06 PM PST by cynwoody
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To: Cicero

>> I don’t even remember their predecessors,

DejaNews IIRC.

Google rocks but it would be cooler if it worked harder at being apolitical.


14 posted on 01/22/2011 5:11:22 PM PST by Gene Eric (Your Hope has been redistributed. Here's your Change.)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
It's OK when the Obama administration pays them for the results they want, though.

How much is this result worth to Zero?

15 posted on 01/22/2011 5:17:37 PM PST by cynwoody
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To: LibWhacker

At one point yahoo was said to be the only search engine that had human input rather than pure algorithms. Also fact checkers liked it because a company’s own website would always come up first when you search for that company, no matter how much other stuff was on the Net about that company, and that saved time.


16 posted on 01/22/2011 5:27:00 PM PST by firebrand
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To: LibWhacker

Statists don’t like impartial results. It means someone wins. They need to fix things to make things “fair” and “equal”.


17 posted on 01/22/2011 6:01:56 PM PST by Cacique (quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat ( Islamia Delenda Est ))
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To: LibWhacker

It is unconstitutional for the feds to regulate C O N T E N T in any manner whatsoever.


18 posted on 01/22/2011 7:12:42 PM PST by Mariner (USS Tarawa, VQ3, USS Benjamin Stoddert, NAVCAMS WestPac, 7th Fleet, Navcommsta Puget Sound)
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To: eclecticEel
for any given search you perform you’ll get dozens if not hundreds of pages of extremely similar results

What if there was a service/system that could give you articles related to news/information/viewpoints/editorials/commentaries, and could link you to all forums/websites where those articles had ongoing discussions:

The system would give you:
* News Articles
* Columnists
* Editorials and Commentaries
* Informational Articles
* Discussions related to the Articles

With look-ups via:

* Title Search (3 sub-methods):
o Exact Title Match (up to 100 characters)
o Match On All Entered Words
o Match On Any Entered Word
* Detailed Search (May include any, or all, or any combination of the following):
o Categories & Sub-Categories (Search May Include Multiple Categoreis and up 4 levels)
o Subjects covered within article (Multiple Subjects/Topics may be selected)
o Authors (Writers) / Columnists
o Publishers
o Publisher Types (Newspapers, Magazines, TV, Radio, etc.)
o Dates or Dates Range
o Country, or Region, or City related to the news in the article
o Number Of Hits (To select from the more popular articles)
o Any Combination(s) of the above


And, let's suppose that all search results were produced in an apolitical fashion.
19 posted on 01/22/2011 7:16:30 PM PST by adorno
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To: LibWhacker; JRandomFreeper

hairbrained how? like silly notions of equal bandwidth that cannot be influenced by self serving interest?


20 posted on 01/23/2011 11:23:14 AM PST by Tempest (I put money ahead of people)
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To: LibWhacker

I can’t wait for the New York Times to have all FreeRepublic traffic redirected to their site.

Yeah!!!


21 posted on 01/23/2011 2:19:39 PM PST by Tempest (I put money ahead of people)
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