Lack of Neutrality in Google Results
Because of their ease of use and efficacy in sorting through the vast amount of information available in the internet, search engines have become so popular that they are almost always one’s first choice when needing to find something. Among these search engines, Google easily beats out competitors such as Bing and Yahoo and reigns supreme. However, all search engines use an algorithm to determine which search results show up on the first page. Showing up on the first page is crucial for any website because the websites on the first page receive exponentially more views than those on even the second page of results. This is where things get murky regarding the neutrality of search engine results in general. It is extremely easy for the company funning the search engine, i.e. Google, to be biased towards a company that they have a business relationship with. Therefore, it is probable that google would ensure that the theoretical company would show up on that first page of search results, even if the company is not immediately relevant to the key words that were typed in the search bar. Another example would be that if Google favored, for example, Hillary Clinton, in the recent presidential election, they could theoretically ensure that more pro-Clinton and anti-Trump adds showed up on the first page; thereby influencing peoples’ political opinions. It is very easy to see the problem with this sort of system, especially in today’s intellectual atmosphere where many people assume a viewpoint based on the first convincing article they read, often regardless of its validity.
My personal experience regarding the neutrality of Google results is an example of one of the phenomena that I mentioned earlier. I used to run a small business where I taught fly-fishing and fly-tying lessons. In order to secure clients, I built my own website. However, it was always exceedingly difficult to make my business show up in the first page of google results, even when the correct key words were entered. At the time, this occurrence made no sense to me because I was the only fly-fishing instructor in the Myrtle Beach area, yet, whenever I typed in “Myrtle Beach fly-fishing lesson” or something else along those lines, I always found difficulty locating my own website while using Google. I am certain many people have had the problem of seemingly “random” results as the product of a search. While I do not see any sort of easy fix for this issue, it is nevertheless one that must be addressed in order for search engines in general to carry out their intended function: helping people find information that is relevant to what they are searching for.