Friday, March 17, 2017

Google Responds with Half a Loaf

Readers may recall Tuesday's post documenting an account in which a post to an anti-Semitic blog received a page rank second only to a Wikipedia article. According to an article by Barbara Ortutay in the Business Report section of this mornings San Francisco Chronicle, Google plans to do something about this. They will deploy a new process under which those reviewing search results will see a flag classifying the article as "upsetting-offensive." Such a flag will also be taken into account in recalculating the ranking of the article.

It would appear that Google has also recognized that such flagging cannot, at least at present, be automated. So the search for articles that need to be flagged will be assigned to human being known as "quality raters." Admirable as this may be, all quality raters will be contractors. In other words Google does not see the work they do as significant enough to assign it to full-time staff. Mind you, we all know about how contractors have become "the new labor force;" but were quality of results is concerned, one would have thought that this would have been a core priority. If it does not, then just what is important to Google these days?

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