Tuesday, March 26, 2019

most popular google searches

most popular google searches


Google Downplays Searches for News of No New Indictments in Mueller Probe - Washington Free Beacon

Posted: 24 Mar 2019 05:00 PM PDT

Google CEO Sundar Pichai / Getty Images

BY:

Google search is hiding auto-completed text related to the Robert Mueller special counsel investigation, according to a Washington Free Beacon analysis.

Mueller's investigation has finished with no further indictments, the culmination of a story that has dominated the news for the better part of two years. But the most popular search engine is avoiding the topic.

Using Google search on multiple browsers and on private-browsing mode, the Free Beacon found Google search had an aversion to the search term "indictment."

Using either "Trump" or "Mueller" as the subject, the following word "indictment" was not suggested even after spelling out most of it. For example, putting "Trump indi" into Google's search bar does not lead to "Trump indictment" but rather to "Trump India," "Trump India Pakistan," Trump India tariffs," and "Trump Indiana."

This problem did not occur with Google's search engine competitors, Yahoo and Bing. Those search engines suggested news about the indictments when you typed in the related words.

Bing

Yahoo

"As a professional data scientist with at least some expertise relating to searches and profiling, I can say with near certainty that Google should have pushed me news stories relating to this and yet I had to search on my own to find the actual results of the report," a tech industry source told the Free Beacon.

As users spell out "indictments," Google offered highly unusual search options besides "indictments." One top suggestion was "Trump indicator," which leads to pocket-sized playing dice for pinocle or bridge.

Searching specifically for "Trump indictment," the Free Beacon found Google preferred the result "Trump indictment advent calendar," which leads to a humorous story in which indictments of Trump family members are seen as gifts around Christmastime. (The Free Beacon had not previously searched for such a calendar and it was not on our search history.)

Google was previously accused of pushing positive stories about Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai has denied this kind of bias occurs in its search results, saying so repeatedly in a congressional hearing last year. Democrats, however, seemed to undermine Pichai's message by arguing in that hearing that Google is free to suppress conservatives in its search results if it so desires. Pichai said such suppression of different views would violate the company's "core principles," although an executive was caught emailing about making sure Google services helped Hillary Clinton in 2016.

The company's fidelity to principles of free expression has also come under scrutiny as it has continued to work with Xi Jinping's autocratic regime in China. Because of severe free speech restrictions in that country, Google had been developing a special search engine "Dragonfly" that would block topics disapproved by the regime, including history about China and the Communist Party. Dragonfly was put on hold after it spawned an outcry against Google, but employees have expressed concern that it's being developed in secret.

Domestically, the Silicon Valley giant is also dealing with pressure to have its products more strictly regulated. Democratic presidential candidate and Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren (D.) has called for breaking up major tech companies on anti-trust grounds.

Why you should change your default search engine - Quartz

Posted: 18 Mar 2019 10:00 AM PDT

Google might be stunting your online experience. Today, 75% of desktop and laptop searches pass through the world's most popular search engine. Google's next closest competitor, the Chinese search giant Baidu, accounts for just 12%.

Like compasses, search engines are useful tools, guiding us through the oceans of online information. But unlike compasses, they are often dynamic and personalized. Search engines gather data and learn from each input. While that customized aspect makes our searches more efficient, it can subtly undermine our autonomy.

"[W]hen you search, you expect unbiased results, but that's not what you get on Google," Gabriel Weinberg, founder of DuckDuckGo, a privacy-focused search engine, writes on Quora. "On Google, you get results tailored to what they think you're likely to click on, based on the data profile they've built on you over time."

On the surface, that may seem innocuous. But if our options are algorithmically curated, that removes our choice and diminishes our exposure to challenging viewpoints. Weinberg believes filtered searches engines like Google create echo chambers and further polarize society. Through clicks, we construct our own barriers, and eventually, we might become too blind to know they exist.

Alternative search engines like DuckDuckGo and Qwant—a French company—are growing in popularity. Because these tools don't track users, they are less precise than Google, but they help users avoid "filter bubbles" that limit what they see. DuckDuckGo recently surpassed 35 million daily direct search queries. Google, meanwhile, processes 5.5 billion searches per day. Obviously, that's a massive gap, but the market for privacy-preserving search is growing worldwide.

Google's advertising machine is another reason to consider other search engines. By studying our search behavior, products are promoted to us by advertisers who have a direct line to our most intimate thoughts and desires. Our online profiles are caricatures of our true selves, but in a very real way, our searches can shape who we become. Advertisers are interjecting themselves, almost invisibly, into this information exchange.

We often treat Google like our personal encyclopedia. The search engine's sleek design can make us forget that it's not a private getaway or even an extension of ourselves. Alternative search engines, though, do not fit seamlessly into our digital lives. That honesty is refreshing and it helps remind a person of the physical-digital divide.

If changing your default search engine seems too inconvenient, you can opt out of Google's personalization, revoking access to search and location histories. Although it's a mild annoyance, it can help us acknowledge the blinders Google has erected around our queries.

About six months ago, I created a new Google account, so my username would sound more professional. As I used the new profile, I was amazed by how little Google knew about the "new" me. YouTube had forgotten my love of basketball and ice hockey highlights. Instead, I saw recommendations for Vine compilations and prank videos. On search, I no longer saw advertisements for cryptocurrency conferences. Making a new profile showed me that I could recreate myself and have an entirely different online experience. That was unsettling, but eye-opening.

By changing your privacy and advertising settings, you can climb out of Google's digital silo to encounter the real and unfiltered world. It might require more effort to find what you're looking for—but at least you'll know that you're doing it on your own terms.

most popular google searches


Google Downplays Searches for News of No New Indictments in Mueller Probe - Washington Free Beacon

Posted: 24 Mar 2019 05:00 PM PDT

Google CEO Sundar Pichai / Getty Images

BY:

Google search is hiding auto-completed text related to the Robert Mueller special counsel investigation, according to a Washington Free Beacon analysis.

Mueller's investigation has finished with no further indictments, the culmination of a story that has dominated the news for the better part of two years. But the most popular search engine is avoiding the topic.

Using Google search on multiple browsers and on private-browsing mode, the Free Beacon found Google search had an aversion to the search term "indictment."

Using either "Trump" or "Mueller" as the subject, the following word "indictment" was not suggested even after spelling out most of it. For example, putting "Trump indi" into Google's search bar does not lead to "Trump indictment" but rather to "Trump India," "Trump India Pakistan," Trump India tariffs," and "Trump Indiana."

This problem did not occur with Google's search engine competitors, Yahoo and Bing. Those search engines suggested news about the indictments when you typed in the related words.

Bing

Yahoo

"As a professional data scientist with at least some expertise relating to searches and profiling, I can say with near certainty that Google should have pushed me news stories relating to this and yet I had to search on my own to find the actual results of the report," a tech industry source told the Free Beacon.

As users spell out "indictments," Google offered highly unusual search options besides "indictments." One top suggestion was "Trump indicator," which leads to pocket-sized playing dice for pinocle or bridge.

Searching specifically for "Trump indictment," the Free Beacon found Google preferred the result "Trump indictment advent calendar," which leads to a humorous story in which indictments of Trump family members are seen as gifts around Christmastime. (The Free Beacon had not previously searched for such a calendar and it was not on our search history.)

Google was previously accused of pushing positive stories about Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai has denied this kind of bias occurs in its search results, saying so repeatedly in a congressional hearing last year. Democrats, however, seemed to undermine Pichai's message by arguing in that hearing that Google is free to suppress conservatives in its search results if it so desires. Pichai said such suppression of different views would violate the company's "core principles," although an executive was caught emailing about making sure Google services helped Hillary Clinton in 2016.

The company's fidelity to principles of free expression has also come under scrutiny as it has continued to work with Xi Jinping's autocratic regime in China. Because of severe free speech restrictions in that country, Google had been developing a special search engine "Dragonfly" that would block topics disapproved by the regime, including history about China and the Communist Party. Dragonfly was put on hold after it spawned an outcry against Google, but employees have expressed concern that it's being developed in secret.

Domestically, the Silicon Valley giant is also dealing with pressure to have its products more strictly regulated. Democratic presidential candidate and Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren (D.) has called for breaking up major tech companies on anti-trust grounds.

Why you should change your default search engine - Quartz

Posted: 18 Mar 2019 10:00 AM PDT

Google might be stunting your online experience. Today, 75% of desktop and laptop searches pass through the world's most popular search engine. Google's next closest competitor, the Chinese search giant Baidu, accounts for just 12%.

Like compasses, search engines are useful tools, guiding us through the oceans of online information. But unlike compasses, they are often dynamic and personalized. Search engines gather data and learn from each input. While that customized aspect makes our searches more efficient, it can subtly undermine our autonomy.

"[W]hen you search, you expect unbiased results, but that's not what you get on Google," Gabriel Weinberg, founder of DuckDuckGo, a privacy-focused search engine, writes on Quora. "On Google, you get results tailored to what they think you're likely to click on, based on the data profile they've built on you over time."

On the surface, that may seem innocuous. But if our options are algorithmically curated, that removes our choice and diminishes our exposure to challenging viewpoints. Weinberg believes filtered searches engines like Google create echo chambers and further polarize society. Through clicks, we construct our own barriers, and eventually, we might become too blind to know they exist.

Alternative search engines like DuckDuckGo and Qwant—a French company—are growing in popularity. Because these tools don't track users, they are less precise than Google, but they help users avoid "filter bubbles" that limit what they see. DuckDuckGo recently surpassed 35 million daily direct search queries. Google, meanwhile, processes 5.5 billion searches per day. Obviously, that's a massive gap, but the market for privacy-preserving search is growing worldwide.

Google's advertising machine is another reason to consider other search engines. By studying our search behavior, products are promoted to us by advertisers who have a direct line to our most intimate thoughts and desires. Our online profiles are caricatures of our true selves, but in a very real way, our searches can shape who we become. Advertisers are interjecting themselves, almost invisibly, into this information exchange.

We often treat Google like our personal encyclopedia. The search engine's sleek design can make us forget that it's not a private getaway or even an extension of ourselves. Alternative search engines, though, do not fit seamlessly into our digital lives. That honesty is refreshing and it helps remind a person of the physical-digital divide.

If changing your default search engine seems too inconvenient, you can opt out of Google's personalization, revoking access to search and location histories. Although it's a mild annoyance, it can help us acknowledge the blinders Google has erected around our queries.

About six months ago, I created a new Google account, so my username would sound more professional. As I used the new profile, I was amazed by how little Google knew about the "new" me. YouTube had forgotten my love of basketball and ice hockey highlights. Instead, I saw recommendations for Vine compilations and prank videos. On search, I no longer saw advertisements for cryptocurrency conferences. Making a new profile showed me that I could recreate myself and have an entirely different online experience. That was unsettling, but eye-opening.

By changing your privacy and advertising settings, you can climb out of Google's digital silo to encounter the real and unfiltered world. It might require more effort to find what you're looking for—but at least you'll know that you're doing it on your own terms.

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