Here in the ShadowLands, we love a good conspiracy theory as much as the next Senator-Elect for the New World Order. Say, did you hear that Pepsi is part of a Zionist plot? However, the story about Google deliberately blocking “Climategate” from their auto-suggest is not going to fly.
As JF Beck outlined earlier, when you type in “Climategate” into Australia’s or the US version of google, you will get all kinds of obscure suggestions, such as “climate Guatemala” before you eventually type out the whole word. This is despite the fact that “Climategate” is now returning more than 32 million search results. It’s understandable when you see these kinds of numbers that suspicions arise.
However, as a Google employee explains here:
We haven’t made any adjustments to our suggestions to limit the appearance of [ climategate ] in Google Suggest. So you know, it’s totally normal for a suggestion to take time to appear consistently in our query suggestions (it’s even normal for it to appear in some but not all cases)…
Since [ climategate ] is a growing search trend, it’s likely to start appearing more and more consistently over time. I can’t promise, though — suggestions are generated automatically, and Internet fame can be fleeting :)
If Google does have some kind of conspiracy happening, I think it would be kind of neat, and really, I wouldn’t mind being part of it for a small retainer and an eyepatch. (Hey, is anyone from Google reading this? Anyone?) But a quick test shows that the truth is sadly, much less interesting, though still somewhat embarrassing for Google.
Like Climategate, Tiger Woods’ alleged affairs blew up in the media quite recently, and like Climategate, it is now returning more than 30 million results on Google.
However, as of tonight, if you type in “Tiger Woods affair” into Google, the auto-suggest will not get you there until you finish typing. Sure, the unfortunate term “Tiger Woods cheats” comes up, but these prophetic websites are actually about ways to get ahead on the X-Box golf game.
All of the phrases in Google autosuggest (including “Tiger Woods fart”) currently have way fewer results than “Tiger Woods affair”.
It may be that the Google Auto-Suggest Overlords have also decided to suppress news of Tiger Woods’ alleged affairs (and wow, how’s that working for them?), but the truth is almost certainly that their autosuggest program is simply way too slow to keep up with the Internet.
Also, if it’s true that Google was suppressing the Tiger Woods story, then the whole organisation needs to get with the program, because I saw “Tiger Woods affair” first pop up on Google Trends a few days before the story broke in the media.
Much more good stuff on this subject explained here in further detail.