The MetaSieve Blog

Google: A mechanical turk ?

I always wondered what Google was doing with The Collection of the 19.000 College Kids they acquired in the last years. Obviously they were not using them to improve the search engine algorithm, because the over-10-year-old rusty engine PageRank is still running quite unchanged in the heart of Google.

Obviously they use them as a giant army of helpers that keep the mechanical turk Google alive. 10.000 of the Googlers work as “human evaluators” meaning they read your search engine results and tweak Google’s database so your next searches get better. Not only is this a privacy nightmare much worse than anything I anticipated from Google, it explains why their technology does not evolve.

Obviously Page didn’t want someone to temper with his brainchild, otherwise Google wouldn’t look so old and medieval from an algorithmic standpoint.

My suggestion: Throw out the 10.000 people and start building a better search engine. Or better: Don’t throw them out. Let them build search engines. That was what anybody supposed they were doing anyway.


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