Saturday, 5 December 2009

Google Climategate Censorship?

I noticed something quite strange when I did a Google search for "Climategate" earlier today. The Auto fill search function (see below) does not for some very strange reason include either "Climategate" or "Climate gate". I say this is strange, because surely this must be one of (if not) the most popular search queries over the past week or so.

I'm not the only one to notice some funny going-ons with Google and Climategate searches - The Telegraph's James Delingpole writes: Climategate: Googlegate? What is going on at Google? Richard North over at the EU Referendum blog also has some questions.

This may all be very innocent, and there may be a very simple explanation, but it does seem strange that such a popular word does not appear in Google's auto fill search function.

Click to enlarge.

Update: I've looked further into to this and it seems that others have already noticed this anomaly. What's going on?

6 comments:

Daniel1979 said...

There seems to be no official explanation (that I have seen anyway). A certain Mr A. Gore is an advisor to Google on "search quality" and this seems to be the favourite explanation for why Google is playing games with it's auto-search.

It was raised by the US blogs over a week ago, and it was returned to the auto-suggest on the US Google search, though I have just checked it and it seems to have disappeared again.

See also: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2009/10/15/al-gore-advised-google-about-its-search-quality

And my contribution: http://daniel1979blog.blogspot.com/2009/11/google-ethics.html

Daily Referendum said...

Daniel,

Thanks for the info. Also, I noticed just after pressing the publish button that I'd wrote Sensorhip instead of Censorship - I'm a tit.

Anonymous said...

yep

that's about the level I expected

Chris said...

I think people are fed up with -Gate! Sharongate should surely have been the end of the end of the -Gate thing. I'm in my forties and I was only eight at the time of Watergate and many young people have never heard of it. Perhaps people are searching for different relevant word combinations? Or perhaps many are put off by yet another -Gate and don't even bother checking it out? I spoke to my sixteen-year-old nephew yesterday, and he'd never heard of Watergate and thought that "Climategate" sounded "boring".

The Boiling Frog said...

I'm not convinced that it is anything other than an algorithm issue.

There's little point censoring the auto fill without censoring the results either - which Google clearly isn't doing - and other words are suggested like; global warming hoax, climate scam etc.

There's a good piece here on this

http://searchengineland.com/climategate-just-how-popular-is-it-according-to-google-31211

Conclusion? It appears to be a laziness problem on Google's part who can't be bothered to improve their match counts.

Anonymous said...

Something very strange happened today 7 december. At ± 16h05 West European time, google gave 250 million hits on climategate. I twice have repeated the search as I could not believe my eyes. Ten minutes later the count was reduced to 30 million.

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