Google shows different search prompts because its users are different from those that use Yahoo, and they in turn are different from the users of Bing. None of the three is up to anything sneaky. It’s just a product of the types of users they tend to attract.
The three main search engines, google.com, bing.com and yahoo.com all do the same basic three functions.
- They automatically “walk” the web and catalog what information is where,
- Remember what people have searched for in the past, and
- As someone types in a search, show the most common probable searches based on #2.
If one group of people searched for something on Google, then went to Bing and did the same search, and finally, did an identical search at Yahoo, then the “most common probable searches” would be the same for all three.
But that doesn’t happen because different groups use the three search engines.
It is my contention that if Google appears to show an anti-Hillary bias as the media suggests, it is because users of Google are more likely to search for negative information about Hillary.
And if Bing shows a pro-Hillary bias when doing typing completion of search terms, it’s because Bing users tend to search for positive information concerning Hillary.
Here are some contributing factors.
- Google.com has been around for a very long time. It started during what I’ll call the “Geek era” when the only ones using computers were big-brain tinkerers who were good at making the world — their computers — do what they wanted. They were, to be somewhat impolite, control freaks. And, lacking any significant reason to go elsewhere, they’ve tended to stay with Google as their primary search engine. This group, long accustomed to working with computers, is skeptical of what the magic machines tell them. They know that computers lie, sometimes intentionally but, far more likely, because the programming is wrong. And they tend to view people, especially authority figures, the same way. They question authority because they’re convinced the programming (of those authority figures) is wrong.
- Yahoo.com came along later and most got to know it through the AOL.com dial-up service. Those users knew much less about computers and used them for email and web surfing but little else.
- Bing.com, the new kid on the block, is a Microsoft creation. In later years, it has been the automatic default search engine for every PC sold that came preinstalled with any version of Windows. These users tend toward web surfing, Facebook and maybe a little of that old thing called email, but only if they can find a real message amidst all the spam. They know there’s something called a “spam filter” but, until the grandkids come over and help, they’ll just ignore that backlog of 25,762 unread messages. This group of relatively naive computer users tends to trust what computers say. They don’t know, as do the old guys that gravitated toward Google to prove or disprove their suspicions, that computers kill and maim humans. (You can Google that, or Yahoo it, or Bing it for yourself.)
So, here’s the question, why would Google users tend to search for negative information about Hillary? Because for more of them than not, Google’s users don’t trust other people. They are a suspicious lot and, when push comes to shove, they’ll think of problems and look for them first.
What about the majority of Yahoo users? Are they a more trusting lot? Have a more positive outlook and, therefore, look for the good in people instead of the negative?
Bing users, I think, represent the opposite of Google. Bing users tend to use what Microsoft has provided because, frankly, they don’t know how to use anything else. (Am I being too negative? Ok, then let me just say that they use Bing because it’s right there at their fingertips. Easy-Peasy!) They don’t think, don’t challenge authority (as geeks tend to do [at Google]) and instead look for someone to fulfill their happy dreams.
In a nutshell, Google’s users tend to be pessimists while Bing’s users are more likely to be optimists. Yahoo’s users probably fall more toward the Bing end of the scale. (It’s those anti-social geeks using Google that’ve given that search engine such a bad attitude.)
Since the story broke in the media several hours ago, all three search engines have changed the results shown from partial prompts. This will be true for any “hot topic” because all three track what their users are requesting, and we — the users — are responding to what we hear in the media and going to Google or Yahoo or Bing, which ever is our personal favorite, and searching.
The search word prompts displayed by the three search engines are a product of their users, and those users are not a uniform, homogenous sampling of humanity.
Google gets the geeks who distrust authority while Bing gets those who blindly follow what someone else has provided. Yahoo? It’s closer to Bing because they both are avoided by the geeks who give Google’s computers such a bad attitude.
Which do I use? Google, of course. I know that computers lie. Ask me about the Scrabble game we used to play that cheated. Really, it did.
4 thoughts on “Search Engine Prejudice”
I bet AltaVista would feel the Bern…
Ooh, forgot about them!
What social strata would gravitate to AltaVista?
D.E.C. employees. Didn’t it run on DEC Alphas, or was that Northern Lights?
And just whered Aggregators like DuckDuckGo fit into the mix?