The MetaSieve Blog

September 18, 2008

Google: Just a mechanical turk

Filed under: Uncategorized — metasieve @ 8:35 am

A mechanical turk is a chess playing “machine” that was “invented” in the 18th Century. Publicly promoted as an automaton and given its common name based on its appearance, the Turk was in fact a mechanical illusion that allowed a human chess master hiding inside to operate the machine.

I always wondered what Google was doing with its collection of the 19.000 college kids. It seems Google is nothing more than a giant mechanical turk. Over 10.000 of the 19.000 Googlers are Human Evaluators, meaning they read through your search data and tweak the engine so next time hopefully it delivers better results.A privacy nightmare worse than I expected. I hope my neighbour is not a Google Human Evaluator.

This explains why Google is a bit better than 10 years ago though their algorithm has not changed a bit in that time. Obviously Page does not let anyone play with his brainchild and is more ready to accept the mechanical turk solution than upgrading the old and tired Google engine.

No wonder Powerset looks a bit neutered: They obviously lack the manpower Google has.

Not only is Google yesterday’ tech: Most of Google is not even tech anymore. Whether you call it mechanical turk or potemkin village, Google is not a technological marvel, just a giant sweat shop.



  1. Interesting take. With all that money and all that “brainpower,” I’m sure they’re trying not to be a mechanical turk. Let’s imagine we could identify the smartest guy in the world who could solve any of Google’s problems, wouldn’t you think they could afford him?

    Comment by Allan — October 9, 2008 @ 2:46 am

  2. […] and the resulting rankings they turn to more important things: 1.) Improving search results by having human evaluators do the work their once renowned PageRank algorithm doesn’t seem to capable of anymore. 2.) Adding nifty […]

    Pingback by Google: The Bling Bling Search Engine « The MetaSieve Blog — December 19, 2008 @ 3:26 am

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