The news that Google – our once warm-and-fuzzy Internet friend – has, in Reuters’ words, “applied for U.S. and international patents on technology to rank stories on its news site based on the quality of the news sources” is one of the more sinister revelations of potential mind control I have read in years. Perhaps not even Comrade Dzerzhinsky at the height of his powers could have invented a more devious method for the manipulation of information. Its convolutions are so various that I would imagine its instigators at Google have convinced themselves they are doing a public service in preserving the social order of “truth and justice” from the onslaught of the great unwashed.
What they are really doing is turning their search capabilities into the instrument of a form of censorship never before devised. No matter what supposedly impartial algorithms are built into their ranking system, I would bet my house that they will be constructed to come to the conclusion that, say, CBS News is to be trusted far more than the bloggers who correctly showed the network’s anchorman was lying. And all this will be done in the name of “science.” Wow.
It may be time to reconsider all those bad thoughts any of us had about Bill Gates. He never did anything nearly as creepy as that. Myself, I’m switching over to the new Microsoft search engine. It’s pretty good anyway.
UPDATE: Questioning my outrage, Greifer below makes some valid points about filtering. If I read him/her correctly, in essence he/ she is saying that Google is just another “filter” for news like the NYT or the WSJ and is just creating another “online newspaper” of sorts. True enough. But search engines have a “perception” of impartiality. Therein lies a problem.