Googlegate? Maybe not...

Published Sun, Jan 17 2010 4:23 PM

Walter Block just posted A Pretty Good Critiqe of Google on the LRC Blog, the post is basically just a link an article blaming Google for worldwide arbitrary filtering of search results. In this particular case it is about Google supposedly suppressing Climategate but he makes a references that they have done it before.

Note that as I was writing this Walter Block has already amended his post:
Error of mine on google?

I have tried to verify the information in that article:
Search for “Googlegate” on Google and you’ll get a paltry result (my result yesterday was 29,300). Search for “Googlegate” on Bing, Microsoft’s search engine competitor, and the result numbers an eye-popping 72.4 million.
I get
Google: 30600 results
Bing: 3550 results
So 3555=72.4 million I guess...

A search for google-gate on Google even give some 23 million results, while only about 700 on Bing.

Sometime around then, in early December, Google began to minimize the Climategate scandal by hiding Climategate pages from its users. By Dec. 17, the number of climategate pages that a Google search found dropped by almost 10 million, to 22.2 million. One day later Google dropped its find by another 8 million pages, to 14.1 million. By Dec. 23, Google could find only 7.5 million hits and on Dec. 24 just 6 million. And yesterday, when I checked, Google reported a mere 1.8 million climategate pages.

Bing, in contrast, didn’t make climategate pages disappear. As you’d expect from a search engine that wasn’t manipulating data, search results on Bing climbed steadily until they peaked at around 51 million, where they have remained since.
Today I get:
Google: 2680000
Bing: 2280000

I also get "climategate" as the top suggested search after just typing "clim".
The top results except the Wikipedia article are calling global warming a scam. That Wikipedia show up on top at Google is rather usual. The fact that Wikipedia have redirected to and hidden the original article is hardly Google's fault and the Wikipedia editorial wars is a whole different matter.

There are a understandably idiosyncrasies in Google's algorithms that can make weird things happen, they aren't so secretive about there algorithms without reason. It is cutting edge technology.
People are also actively trying to figure out and manipulate these algorithms constantly which can screw them up.

Google results are also personalised and localized.

The reason why Google would want to cover this up given in the article is also rather lame. Directors and executives have investments in green energy. You really think any risk of loss to Google high-ups would be smaller from Google playing censorship like they want with fully legal sites then the potential damage Climategate can cause any green energy projects?

Yahoo supposedly also have some idiosyncrasies concerning the search term climategate by the way. It sais "Did you mean: climate gate" which generates almost no results in comparison. This must be a global conspiracy of internet search providers and the green energy industry that seems probable...

There are also other reports a specific article has been suppressed. But it still shows up as result 11 for climategate to me.

There has been some fuss about this already it seems and I thought it best stop the nonsense. There are however real concerns about unethical filtering done by Google relating to legally questionable material. Maybe this can shed some light on that?

Further reading: