A truth engine ? Well that’s what some people think. Google may be many things, but it doesn’t deserve that distinction.. no search engine does.
After reading an article a few days ago it got me thinking about the “truth” perception that people have about this massive search engine.
How often do you find yourself in a situation saying, well I’ll just Google it ?
Just Google It
As a matter of fact, I was in church last weekend and one of our pastors was talking about a ministry camp that he was a leader at. In a room full of middle schoolers who he was in charge of everyone got a little rowdy in response to something they saw on tv pertaining to a sporting event.
He immediately thought, hey I should know this (being a man amongst a bunch of other boys ya know and he didn’t want to be the “one guy” that didn’t know what they were getting all rowdy about) and you know what his first thought was ?
He thought to himself, I should Google this. Of course he was also thinking this to obviously help himself save face in a room of other guys as well.
Nevertheless, we have been conditioned basically to see that (e.g. Google) as our first response in many many similar situations. You know those situations where you discretely pull out your phone and find Google and type in that question that you are desperately hoping that Google can answer for you “quickly”.
How often have you and someone else been out somewhere and the term came up.. just Google it. Googling has become synonymous with finding out information that people ultimately deem to be accurate.
Truth Engine And Trust
But here’s the truth.. no pun intended. Google isn’t necessarily the source of truth and we have to be careful to unconsciously equate this engine with where we find truth.
If there’s one thing that we know about search engines.. we know that just as much as there certainly is accurate information, there’s a ton of misinformation out there too.
What this really highlights is our dependencies online and how normative this has become in our lives.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of instances where Google is entirely truthful and accurate and checks all the right boxes for us to develop a high degree of trust.
This is evident because we use it for reference in some of our most intimate, dire and important scenarios in our lives. It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about finding pertinent information about what to do in regards to our children, medical needs, finances, spirituality, business and recreation.
However with such great usage in various areas of our lives, it creates a level of trust that can lead us down pathways that give us a false sense of truth or more plainly just blatant lies too.
Danny Sullivan, the founder of Search Engine Land and Search Engine Watch explains it well when he plainly says that Google is basically an algorithm. That algorithm works in the same way that any other search engine does.
You give it a question or a query and it goes out on the web to find the answer for you and guess what..
Sometimes you get good answers and sometimes you get bad answers.
The engine doesn’t know whether it’s delivering the truth to you or not. This is true for any and all search engines that exist today.
At best, I think you can land in the arena of Google being a guide that leads us to an undetermined degree or percentage of accuracy with respect to information that we are seeking but even quantifying that changes depending on the query.
The Difference And The Search Engine Job
The difference between you and me and the search engine.. and yes even between the mighty Google is that while we can do the same research that Google does, we sort and sift through that information to find the accuracy and Google does not.
Now granted, Google does research on a much larger scale than you or I can or would or even have the time for but all the search engine is going to do is spit out the results for you, good, bad or indifferent. It’s done it’s job.
What job is it ?
The job of giving you results. It’s job is not to tell you whether it’s the truth, yet the common thing that we do is take those results and accept them as truth because those are the results the search engine gave us.
We don’t filter those results through the lens that Google is operating off a set of rules contained in the algorithm that determine the results that we are going to see.
We see this in action best by comparing search engines to each other. Even if we take for example queries that we put into Bing vs the same queries put into Google, we can at times get vastly different results.
That’s an easy answer.. it’s because of the rules set forth and defined in their respective algorithms.
Going Beyond The Links And The Truth
Now years ago, Google had been working on trying to look beyond the “links”. To date, that interest has evolved into what’s called the Knowledge Graph. Even the purpose there was to make search results more relevant and place a greater focus on the content and not just the links.
Have they succeeded ? Well let’s just say that it’s an ongoing process. Relevancy doesn’t equate to truth and short of Google becoming a living, breathing person, it will always be a goal for the search engine to provide more truth but likely never getting there entirely.
It’s an engine and Google is a machine.
In seeking out truth through outlets like Google, it can be surmised that truth in this arena as it is currently constructed is highly unlikely to come from something that is engineered. In this case we're talking about a search engine called Google.
Thanks for reading this post !
#candidwriter #truth #google