Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Google: Slouching Further Towards Evil?

We already know that Google has been complicit in helping the Chinese suppress free speech, but now it seems that they're trying it over here. There's a new feature in the works that allows websites to control the search results that their users can see (thanks to the Anchoress for the hat tip):

The Google juggernaut has just launched the next step in bringing us a Brave New World, the world according to the Leftists’ manifesto of thought control. It’s a new version of Google Search called Google Custom Search Engine that allows a website operator to add a Google search box to his/her website — and then control what content is being searched, and also the prioritizing of the search results.

In plain English: If you are a proponant of Global Warming, and you want your readers to only be able to find articles supporting your position…well, Google’s gonna help you do that. If you’re pro-life and you want your readers to only be able to find articles supporting your position…well…I think Google is going to help you do that. You can never tell with Google. They may simply decide that your stuff is not the “right” stuff and suppress it.

Yeah, I agree. This is frightening in every way it can be. Regardless of what side you're on, this thing is a threat to free speech on its face. I'll not get into a debate about whether this is being fueled by the Left or Right (obviously some people have already made up their minds), but the impulse behind this move is dangerous at the least, and totalitarian at worst.

Can someone tell Google that they might have to change their motto, "Don't be Evil?" Or better yet, perhaps they could just stop being evil?

6 comments:

Not Your Mama said...

I'm ambivalent. I think it's more part of the ongoing trend in all media to cater to niche audiences than an evil attempt at mind control by Google.

Face it, we've been doing this on our own for quite some time.

The major TV networks are struggling to compete with smaller cable channels both in programming and as a source of news. People are choosing the media that suits them and blocking out what doesn't.

Rafique Tucker said...

Good point, but there's a real potential for abuse here. The idea of limiting information or ideas is troubling.

Not Your Mama said...

There is of course. The incurious will fall behind.

If I am interested in "global warming" I deliberately search out both sides of the issue. Built in screened searches on individual sites would be a convenience.

For people who would never do that it will limit their worldview even further.

I'm going to leave it right there before I go on a rant about the inability to integrate complexity being at the heart of extremism LOL.

Rafique Tucker said...

Good point. This new feature is really just a tool after all, and I think you're probably right that those who fail to search out both sides of an issue are ready-made extremists anyway.

Tully said...

I'm going to leave it right there before I go on a rant about the inability to integrate complexity being at the heart of extremism LOL.

Go ahead, preach it! It's true.

Walrus said...

Yikes! Is any of this going to be going on on their main page?