If I had to answer that based on what I’ve seen over the last year, and especially today – I would have to say……YES.
Before I get into what I perceive as blatant bias from Google against certain political views, I want to let you know that I didn’t plan on writing a post about this topic. I had originally thought that I would do some weird searches on google squared to see if I could get any whacked out or interesting results that I could share - well, to that end, I guess they ARE interesting. And disturbing.
I’m just going to cut to the chase.
After running a bunch of different names and topics through squared (type in google, keep adding the recommendation squares and you get back hilltop algorithm, for example), I was actually having fun, and thinking how great this would be for doing school reports, or discovering hot topics related to my clients’ service offerings.
I wanted to see how good squared was at grabbing recent events, so I typed in Obama – which presented this (click each image to view larger):
Pretty cool. It includes members of his cabinet and campaign committee. Not bad.
Then I typed in George Bush and got this:
You’re kidding me, right? THAT’s the picture that google returns for George Bush? It doesn’t even SAY George Bush next to it, and it’s the 1st square on the page! I’m not a huge fan of George Bush, but I think he deserves a bit more respect than that. It’s got to be a fluke, so I move on – to Bill Clinton. If someone’s going to have interesting pictures associated with a president, I can’t think of a better choice….
Well hang on. It looks like an actual presidential photo. And nothing on Monica? hmph. What about his VP, Al Gore…..
Besides the fact that I had to MANUALLY put Al Gore into a square at the bottom, since Google has a tough time when you include first and last name sometimes, this is pretty much what I think most people would expect. To see how Squared treats Bush’s VP, Dick Cheney – just look at the image at the beginning of this post.
I’m not one to just immediately jump to conclusions though, so I go for one more – this time, Ronald Reagan.
Ok, it’s pretty hard NOT to think they’re being deliberately biased when you see results like that. Still, there’s always a chance that the “secret google algorithm” is pulling the most popular results from image search, so I go ahead and check to see….
Guess we can mark that as a big NO.
To sum things up – I really could care less what side of the political fence you’re on, and I think Google does 80-90% of everything right. But, with each year, Google grows a bit larger and a bit more powerful – so we need to keep things in check. I’ll let Mr. Reagan end this post with a couple of very pertinent quotes…
Concentrated power has always been the enemy of liberty.
To sit back hoping that someday, some way, someone will make things right
is to go on feeding the crocodile, hoping he will eat you last – but eat you he will.
Think I’m way off base? Have examples that show bias towards liberals? Let me know by leaving a comment!- I’m open to discussion!
*disclaimer: the thoughts and views represented in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of my company or clients.