Google’s getting tripped up again by its featured search result box. The Guardian has noticed that if you Google the phrase “who runs Hollywood” you will get a less than palatable answer:
For a little over a year now Google has been singling out certain search results and featuring the response in a special box before the rest of the results. This is intended to offer the most useful result to users, but as we can see above the process is not without its quirks.
Furthermore, this is not the first time it’s happened, nor is this Google’s fault.
A similar incident occurred around the release of Jurassic World. If you asked Google “what happened to the dinosaurs”, it quoted a creationist website which cited the Bible.
That was quite amusing at the time, but one detail that many missed was that all the other search engines gave you that same creationist website as the first search result. The site was at the top of the results because it had excellent SEO, and not for any other reason.
And the same would be true in this latest incident, which brings me to a related point. Back in June Bing, DuckDuckGo, and Yahoo all showed similar results to that dinosaur query, thus proving that their algorithms had similar flaws.
It’s almost as if they changed their algorithms in response to that older story. Now they’ll tell you about Google messing up, and at the same time avoid messing up themselves.
That’s smart, yes, but are they offering the best search results?
image by fujitariuji