Over the past 24 hours, Social Media has been awash with news of some strange yet alarming Google search results. Conspirators are debating the possibility that Google may be involved in some kind of conspiracy…. conveniently timed with Google’s recent settlement with HMRC.
As much as we love a good Google conspiracy…. this isn’t one of them. The results are perfectly normal, and here’s why.
Type into Google “SNP are”, and stop typing. Google will predict your next action based on what people have searched on. It’s important to remember that the results displayed are real, human past searches…. not computer generated. Look at what appears..
Ok, some pretty nasty searches there…but all real, so we can’t really judge Google at this point. Lets try “Labour are”
OK….moving swiftly on. Lets try “conservatives are”
Hmm interesting…no suggestions at all from Google. Maybe we should try “Tories are” instead….
Wow…still no suggestions!! So, on face value it would appear that Google are in fact being biased in favor of the Conservative Party. But let’s compare each search in more details.
The first two searches refer to a political party, the SNP and Labour party. The last two searches do not…. they refer to members of the party, i.e people.
Just as a conclusion, try typing “The Conservative Party are” instead, which references the actual organisation rather than the individuals.
Historically there have been many cases of some unpleasant instances of people being targeted by malicious search, in order for their name to be discredited. For example, if enough people conspire to type “Joe Bloggs is a thief”, sure enough when you type “Joe Bloggs is”, you would end up seeing a prediction of “Joe Bloggs is a thief”. If you happen to be “Joe Bloggs” this would be a little like trial by Google, and is obvious hugely open to abuse. This is why predictions involving humans, either individually or collectively are filtered.
It’s also worth noting that campaigns against companies and organisations do sometimes happens. In these cases Google has open forums where representatives can explain the issue, and request that the assumptions are removed from the Google algorithms. A well reported instance happened in 2014, when certain UK cities were the victim of racist results being displayed in search predictions. Read the article here.
Nothing like spoiling a good SEO conspiracy…..