Skip to comments.American Public Sides With Google, Not Government, on Search Neutrality
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.
I side with the people that have a multi-billion dollar profit motive. Obviously they have the consumers best interest at heart....
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.
Definitely the evil spawn of net neutrality, imo. I suppose the ‘rats are going hit us with a blizzard of harebrained neutrality schemes now.
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?
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.
It's OK when the Obama administration pays them for the results they want, though.
I hate google it pulls up far too much random junk. I far prefer dogpile.
And my kid says google is the government.
Search results are speech. If you don’t like them, go find another search result utterer.
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.
>> I dont even remember their predecessors,
Google rocks but it would be cooler if it worked harder at being apolitical.
How much is this result worth to Zero?
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.
Statists don’t like impartial results. It means someone wins. They need to fix things to make things “fair” and “equal”.
It is unconstitutional for the feds to regulate C O N T E N T in any manner whatsoever.
hairbrained how? like silly notions of equal bandwidth that cannot be influenced by self serving interest?
I can’t wait for the New York Times to have all FreeRepublic traffic redirected to their site.