Google explains search rankings after complaints in Europe
IDG News Service - Google has offered a general explanation of how it ranks its search results, one day after the European Commission said it was looking into antitrust complaints against the company.
In a blog post Thursday, Google Fellow Amit Singhal also referred to a recent op-ed piece suggesting that regulators should control how search engines rank results. He stressed that developing search rankings is very difficult, implying perhaps that regulating search would be hard for any government to do well.
Laying out the challenge, Singhal said Google processes hundreds of millions of queries a day, with at least 20% of them totally new. To handle the volume and variety of queries, the company uses a collection of algorithms to sift through data.
"Our algorithms use hundreds of different signals to pick the top results for any given query. Signals are indicators of relevance, and they include items as simple as the words on a webpage or more complex calculations such as the authoritativeness of other sites linking to any given page," he said.
On a typical day, Google makes one or two changes to the signals and its algorithms to try to improve results, he said.
The company doesn't manually choose any results, however, he said. "We believe that approach which relies heavily on an individual's tastes and preferences just doesn't produce the quality and relevant ranking that our algorithms do," he wrote.
To show there is room for improvement in its own rankings -- and perhaps to suggest that Google doesn't favor its own sites -- he noted that the query "search engine" does not list Google in the top few results.
There is nothing in the post that Google has not revealed before, but the company said news of the Commission's investigation had prompted "lots of questions" about how Google's ranking works.
On Wednesday, the Commission confirmed it was looking into three complaints against Google in the preliminary stages of an antitrust investigation. Google pointed to Microsoft as the source of the investigation, since Microsoft owns one of the companies that complained and is linked to another.
One of the complaints was filed by Foundem, a U.K. price comparison site. Foundem's co-founder wrote the op-ed piece that Singhal links to, which suggests that regulators should set rules for how search engines rank results. The editorial accuses Google of exploiting its dominance in search by displaying its own services at the top of search results, something that Google denies.
- Yahoo can't stall Bing rollout in Taiwan, Hong Kong
- Google keeps Bing, Yahoo at bay in search business
- Google updates Google Now, makes it more prominent on phones
- Yahoo to focus on search -- and Google
- Microsoft's Bing counters Google with Yelp partnership
- Mozilla dumps Yandex as default search for Russian Firefox
- Google aims to make search smarter, easier
- Microsoft Bing goes social in search war with Google
- Facebook tries to out-Google Google with new search tool
- Google, Microsoft each seek search 'game changer'
This state transportation department uses computer science students from a local university as programming interns, and everyone is happy with the arrangement -- until one intern learns how to bring down the mainframe.
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Changing the Way Government Works: Four Technology Trends that Drive Down Costs and Increase Productivity
- This paper discusses four technology-based approaches to improving processes and increasing
productivity while driving down department and agency costs.
- Path Selection Infographic
- Path Selection Infographic
- Hyperconvergence Infographic
- A wide range of observers agree that data centers are now entering an era of "hyperconvergence" that will raise network traffic levels faster...
- Preparing Your Infrastructure for the Hyperconvergence Era
- From cloud computing and virtualization to mobility and unified communications, an array of innovative technologies is transforming today's data centers.
- How WAN Optimization Helps Enterprises Reduce Costs
- If you wanted to break down innovation into a tidy equation, it might go something like this: Technology + Connectivity = Productivity. Productivity... All Government IT White Papers
- Cloud Knowledge Vault Learn how your organization can benefit from the scalability, flexibility, and performance that the cloud offers through the short videos and other resources...
- LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users?
- On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Mobile Security: Containerizing Enterprise Data In this on-demand webinar, Fixmo's Lee Cocking, VP of corporate strategy, explains why Apple-ization trends like mobility and "bring-your-own-device" (BYOD) are driving the...
- Endpoint Data Management: Protecting the Perimeter of the Internet of Things Not surprisingly, "Internet of Things" (IoT) and Big Data present new challenges AND opportunities for enterprise IT. Teams need to harness, secure and...
- All Government IT Webcasts