Google is negligent by not having the software coded mechanisms to prevent or rapidly repair vandalization of search results.
People can use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and other means to adjust search results. There are ways that people can manipulate search. This is a matter of concentrating resources and effort beyond to make a competition for ranking unfair to get the desired result.
An example of this in a different real-world situation would be a Hollywood studio spending millions of dollars to win the campaign for an Academy Award (aka Oscar). It costs about $10 million for a campaign to win Best Picture.
There are technical solutions for more manipulation resistant search. Google does release updates like the Panda update (the project name of last major search update) which invalidates old SEO methods.
The Oscar example is one where it is an ongoing marketing effort to come out on top in high-value competition. There is an economic and marketing battle to be the winner.
At the smaller scale, there are less costly gaming of less important lists. Search engine results are a lot of mini-competitions. Competitions over terms.
The Google business model is predicated on providing consumers with the right valuation of those listings which are generated in an automated way.
Manual adjusted search is worse than automated search as a business and as a service. This was shown when Yahoo lost to Google. Most people did not want to use Yahoo.
Google is technically capable of adding in automated parameters to rank how toxic an article on a webpage is. They are technically capable of using AI and programming to determine where something is on a political spectrum. They can use AI to recognize images and whether images have highly charged logos.
IBM has the Debater AI program which form automated arguments both for and against any topic.
Other companies that are far smaller than Google or IBM have automation to manage content with varying degrees of bias and toxicity.
Let us imagine that Google adds in a few more switches and parameters for this kind of management.
This will likely mean more lawsuits for Google. Every company and famous person would demand to micromanage their brand via the search results where they come up. There are lawsuits and many complaints now but enabling full control or a lot of outside control without massive care would be a bigger problem.
This would also end up with search results that serve the special interests of millions of companies. It would be search results sold to the highest bidder or the one with the most lawyers.
The overall pay for search results would be less useful to people and the users would go to a different search system. Google would not make more money from too much-paid or adjusted search since the money gained would be offset by lawsuit losses and would require far more staff and other expenses. They already have the separately paid advertising results.
This means the search result controls need to remain crude and broader. They need to be at the level of compliance with broad “universal” laws. All search companies have to be at the same national standards. Even though Google is the biggest and most dominant everywhere except China.
There are TV channels and other media who have voluntarily chosen very open bias as part of their business model. They are far smaller than Google. Google does not want to go from dominant to half or less.
Facebook has newsfeeds tailored for individuals. Twitter provides you only the tweet sources that you follow.
Google does provide customization of results based upon your profile if you login.
Those do not address the overall brand concerns. Companies and politicians do not care what they each will see in results. They care about what others are seeing.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.