• spintreebob

    “google’s calculation of the total number is only an estimate”

    Translation: The numbers and the selections that appear based on the numbers are the result of a MODEL similar to the MODEL used for global warming. An attack on their modeling might bring our modeling under suspicion.

    I work beside a group of highly paid professional modelers. Their models are no more accurate than educated guesses of others with experience and with no modeling.

    I notice in technical searches that google provides strange suggestions that are obviously based on a bias about technology. google isnt the only one. it is common in our culture to be ‘ethnocentric’ in the sense that we only hear certain voices and filter out without even being aware of it, the voices of the new “invisible man”.

  • http://www.michael-martinez.com/ Michael Martinez

    There IS a “climate gate” in your first Yahoo! Suggest screen capture.

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    Thanks, Michael — missed that and updated.

  • Michael Gray

    reaches for tin foil hat ….

    early this week barry did a piece on “sex” related suggestions when you searched for [kids]

    http://www.seroundtable.com/archives/021280.html

    searching for [kids] now shows some different suggestions but the “sex” related suggestions are gone. Search for the word [adults] you’ll get a bunch more suggestions. Now try the word [teen] and you get zero suggestions. I find it kind of unusual that they can come up with suggestions for [kids] and [adults] but none for teens. If i had to wager I’d say it’s because of all the [teen] related sex queries people do would constantly populate the top suggestions with inappropriate terms, and they would never be able to keep up. So my theory is they made the decision to block any [teen] related suggestions from appearing … could they be applying the same logic to [climategate] …. well lets say I also find it interesting the offensive [michelle obama] picture disappeared two weeks after it was in the news and everyone stopped watching it … just sayin’

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  • http://www.twitter.com/GregBogdan Greg Bogdan

    As of this morning I see that Google has picked up on “climategate” in the suggest box and now shows it as the number 1 suggestion as you begin to type “climate” into the search box.

    So for Google, either their search suggest tool is behind Bing and Yahoo or there was some conspiracy. I believe that it was the former. Google’s search suggest tool is lagging behind others.

    Perhaps Google is using a different algorithm that takes longer to budge search suggest or the shear volume of searches on Google takes it longer to calculate and move the needle. All of this still presents a challenge for Google.

  • http://www.Match.ccom simons1321

    I interpret portions of Google’s responses as such:

    “…including popular searches that have been entered on Google over time…”
    The keywords here being “over time”, which to me suggests that the short period of the popularity of “climategate” might not be enough to consistently appear in Google Suggest compared with other keywords which have a much longer established history.

    “Google Suggest uses a variety of algorithms…”
    To me this says that perhaps Google suggest doesn’t look at search query volume alone. Maybe Google suggest looks at additional factors other than Search volume, possibly including: # recent pages indexed with those exact keywords, # of pages from trusted sources, etc, to determine popularity in Google Suggest. Again, over time, this might cause other keyword suggestions to be more popular than “climategate” because of it’s only recent popularity.

  • http://www.architechsw.com pavlicko

    Call me a conspiracy theorist too, but I’ve seen way too many of these incidents occurring on Google – over the last 2 or 3 years especially.

    Take the ‘climategate’ example – if I’m Google and I see that ‘climategate’ is related to climate change, and that there is a HUGE increase in searches for climategate, climate change scam, etc.. over the last few weeks, shouldn’t I start returning SOME of those results in with the regular search for ‘climate change’?

    I would think so – absolutely. Unfortunately, this ain’t happening. Even if you use their new options feature and search for results in the last week, you’ll be lucky to find 1 or 2 stories out of the first 5 pages of results.

    I noticed the exact same thing happening during the recent health care bill debate – opposing viewpoints (those against the bill) were very difficult to find, even though there were a ton of sites writing about it from both sides of the aisle.

    I could be a complete whack-a-do, but mistakes don’t just keep happening for one side and not the other. I even wrote a post on their political bias a few months back – http://tampaseo.wordpress.com/2009/06/05/google-squared-hates-conservatives/

    I WANT to trust Google, but there are definitely some shadows there that haven’t come into the light just yet.

  • yahoo777

    There has been a good ongoing discussion of this also on the google forums, many of which reference back to this article.
    See the discussions here: http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Web+Search/thread?tid=25112ee0c29cbd01&hl=en

    Please note that google has already listed this discussion as answered, even though only 5 out of 21 people found the answer provided by Google to be useful. Meanwhile, answers from other users which are 100% useful are not listed as the primary answer, so make sure you click and read “Show all replies”.

    ******
    Lastly, as a reply to Greg Bogden who posted earlier, you are not correct in your assumptions. The word climate-gate did appear several days ago as an option in the google suggestion list and was since removed, then re-added again (I’m assuming in response to the outcry…). And please note that google’s top stories always are stories playing down climategate, NOT stories that support. I doubt Google is using a different algorithm that takes longer to update than their competitors. That is simply not the case. As many others have noted in the ongoing discussion, many topics that are far less popular than climategate have appeared in suggestion lists in a matter of hours. Remember, if you control what knowledge people can access, you can influence public opinion, and believe me, google knows that…

  • http://incrediblehelp incrediblehelp

    Danny lets not forget that Google just released big changes to personalized search which is probably affecting auto-complete greatly now.

  • yahoo777

    Funny that these big changes to personalized search didn’t impact other similar search suggestions such as “climate change”, or even less popular searches like “climate gear” or “climate zones”, which remained constant during the same time period.

    Regardless of the suggestions list, Google’s first page search results for “climategate” have consistently displayed 2-4 day old links to stories that debunk climategate while other search engines show current links to stories that actually are about climategate. And when you use google to search for “climate change” you surprisingly get current stories only an hour or so old that support global warming.

    Google has already admitted that in China they DO filter content per the direction of the Chinese communist party. We know they have the ability to do advanced and complex filtering based on any number of criteria and methodologies. Lets not be naive and think they don’t use a toned down variation of this logic in the good ole USA to influence first page search results, which ultimately influences public opinion.

  • http://www.firetown.com firetown

    I am confused. A lot of speculating going on. Also whether or not suggestions make an impact or not makes me wonder why we have them to begin with.

    I have been searching for a few terms which are very new. Amazingly Tiger Woods’ mistress’ name immediately suggests him and her.

    I’m not wasting my life with conspiracy theories, neither am I a fan of drawn out answers which are not hitting the center of the discussion.

    Am I wrong?

  • ronabop

    “No, it’s not just crazy people. It’s people who have a general mistrust of any big organization.”

    AKA: crazy people. General mistrust of big organizations is a symptom of delusional paranoia,