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No trust for Google search and the power it wields

Back in June 2011 we asked if you trusted Google search to return the best objective results. The poll results indicate that the majority does not, but they do worry about the power that gives the company.

On June 24, 2011, I asked two straightforward questions about Google search in this Google in the Enterprise Blog post:

Be honest, do you really trust Google?

The question stemmed from the announcement that Google was under formal investigation by the Federal Trade Commission for violations of federal anti-trust laws. The overarching question was whether manipulating search results really constitutes anti-trust behavior rising to the level of an FTC investigation? I suggested that perhaps it was just an indication that we should try different search engines.

For the poll questions, I went straight to the heart of the matter: is Google that powerful and do you trust them. The poll results were yes, powerful and no, Google cannot be trusted. Yet, when I have asked before which search engine TechRepublic members use it is Google by a huge margin.

How do you explain the dichotomy? Why use Google search if you do not trust the accuracy of the results?

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

20 comments
SThurlbeck
SThurlbeck like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 4 Like

My opinion has always been that the internet provides the ability for anyone (people or companies) with some smarts to step up on a soapbox and preach "the way it is". I believe it is up to us as consumers of search utilities (and any other service either virtual or physical) to do our due dilligence. Much like the earlier posters above, when doing any type of research I use a variety of search engines, but also leverage my human peers and friends. So do I trust Google? Not any more or less than any of the others - but try using the internet without them ;)

mckinnej
mckinnej like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

I recently started using these guys instead of Google. So far I'm pretty happy with them. The fact you can do searches with ssl adds another layer of security and privacy. They're worth a spin at least. https://duckduckgo.com. In a slightly humorous vein, does anyone else see the paradox between Google's motto and the fact they're a corporation obligated to make money for their shareholders? After all, isn't money the root of all evil? :)

Kent Lion
Kent Lion like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

The statement "money is the root of all evil" assumes that the word "evil" is well and consistently defined in our language, which it is not. Most of the "evil" that is meant when the statement is used is caused by ignorance (not knowing better) or stupidity (should know or knowing better but doing it anyway) or a combination of the two. Henry Ford may have been big business, but he understood that if the people who manufactured automobiles couldn't afford them, he was not going to be able to sell a lot of automobiles. (If you don't understand this, expand it across all products and you might...) At some level, he understood that his workers gave money its value, and were therefore the source of his enormous power as an industrialist. The boards of big business today do not understand this, and therefore use and abuse their power as if it were their own. Shareholders also don't understand.

Bduffel
Bduffel like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 4 Like

nuff said

Lazarus439
Lazarus439 like.author.displayName 1 Like

but it does give rise to a different class of problems. :)

bclomptwihm
bclomptwihm like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

I was always taught the LACK of money is the root of all evil

skyeenter
skyeenter

Just went through the motions on duckduckgo. Refreshing change from all the Google crap. it's like my Google experience before they IPO'ed.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 4 Like

I don't trust Google as a company to [b]Do No Evil[/b] so I expect them to Hack & List all WiFi connections that they find when doing a Google Maps drive. I expect them to advertise the most disagreeable things because it's what brings in money to them and I also expect Google to list the right results a high % of the time because that's what generates the Adds that they get their income from. So do I expect Google to do the right thing all of the time, Most Certainly no but I do expect them to give the desired results so that they stay at the top of their game. After all if I was to be getting the wrong results on any search like I do with Bing and Yahoo I wouldn't be using Google. ;) Col

Lazarus439
Lazarus439 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

Most of the time, I'm searching for information, not products. Google is very good at finding what I'm looking for, frequently better than the web site that has it (are you listening, Symantec?). When I am looking to buy something, I'm unlikely to buy from some site I've never heard of just because the price is the cheapest, particularly for software. If the deal is too good, it probably isn't a good deal after all - I got burned on an Acrobat purchase that way and I don't plan on doing so again.

crcgraphix
crcgraphix

With a page for Safari and Firefox, who's complaining...? It also has the lowest mb count in it's time to load and start-page file size. I say G-O-O-G-L-E all the way!

HAL 9000
HAL 9000 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 4 Like

[i]Google is very good at finding what I'm looking for, frequently better than the web site that has it are you listening, TR?[/i] Personally I find things harder to find on TR than on most other web sites Symantec included. For instance start a discussion on TR leave it for 2 or 3 hours and then try to find it. You'll be flat out finding it searching the TR Site but Google will pick it up straight away. Maybe the Web Developers at TR should be listening. :^0 Col

DuppyPog
DuppyPog

Acronyms frequently stump me.

bboyd
bboyd

you are where you stand...

seanferd
seanferd like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 4 Like

the native search at all the sites I frequent most is fantastically awful, even getting worse during the course of improvements. It's sort of odd, really. And then there are sites whose content is so poorly and inconsistently organized that search engines probably creak under the strain.

bboyd
bboyd like.author.displayName 1 Like

I have no trust for any corporate entity. They simple have more rights than I do. I give Google the privilege of gleaning information and advertising money for my filtered and ranked results. The convenience of the results they give may make it worth suborning my privacy. I don't think the lack of trust involves the accuracy of the results, its the tracking and form fitting. If I want different results I'll use Yahoo. If I want results with privacy I'll use scroogle.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin like.author.displayName 1 Like

Why use Google search if you do not trust the accuracy of the results?

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