Advertising Vs Editorial: The Church-State Relationship at Google
Google has always been alert to the danger of advertising and even accepting advertising at all because it might corrupt or lead the people running the search engine to want to corrupt the results in favor of advertisers.
From 1999 to 2005, Doug Edwards was was director of consumer marketing and brand management for Google. He is the author of I'm Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59. Other work experience includes stints as online brand group manager for the San Jose Mercury News, communications director for KQED FM, admission officer for Brown University and Novosibirsk correspondent for the public radio program Marketplace. He blogs athttp://xooglers.com, a gathering spot for ex-Googlers to reminisce and comment on the latest developments in search.
At Google there was always—and this is one of the things that surprised me because I came from a newspaper and in newspapers there was a very clear distinction between advertising and editorial—a religious differentiation between what was paid content and what was developed by reporters and journalists.
And what surprised me when I came to Google was they had that same vision of search engine results. And it surprised me because it was a business—not that newspapers aren’t a business—but they serve a special role as media. And it was clear to me that Larry and Sergey really believed that the integrity of the results was paramount and that Google needed to be trusted, and the only way to be trusted was if our results were not paid for, were not influenced by outside monetary forces.
And in fact, if you go back to their original paper at Stanford describing the search engine that became Google, they talked about the danger of advertising and even accepting advertising at all because it might corrupt or lead the people running the search engine to want to corrupt the results in favor of advertisers.
So it was an issue they engaged very early on and one that they took quite seriously. They devoted a lot of time and effort, and the engineers at Google have devoted a lot of time and effort to weeding out the influence of paid search. And that might be people who have developed content farms where they’re basically generating kind of false results just in order to get higher rankings.
And so I think it’s an ongoing struggle because it’s not easy to determine what is genuine content of value to users and what is just content that is being shoveled onto the Internet in the hopes of improving the page and its rank in the search results. So it will always be a struggle.
The more important Google has become as the major player in search, the more motivation advertisers and website owners have to try to gain those results, because if they can get high in Google that can make or break their business. So I think there will never be a day that Google can declare victory and say we’ve solved all the problems of promoting sites that don’t deserve to be promoted, but they have a lot of people working to try to prevent that.
In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.
Explore how alcohol affects your brain, from the first sip at the bar to life-long drinking habits.
- Alcohol is the world's most popular drug and has been a part of human culture for at least 9,000 years.
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If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx a team of DNA sequencers has figured that out.
- A team at UMass Amherst recently sequenced the genome of the Canadian lynx.
- It's part of a project intending to sequence the genome of every vertebrate in the world.
- Conservationists interested in the Canadian lynx have a new tool to work with.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx, I can now—as of this month—point you directly to the DNA of a Canadian lynx, and say, "That's what makes a lynx a lynx." The genome was sequenced by a team at UMass Amherst, and it's one of 15 animals whose genomes have been sequenced by the Vertebrate Genomes Project, whose stated goal is to sequence the genome of all 66,000 vertebrate species in the world.
Sequencing the genome of a particular species of an animal is important in terms of preserving genetic diversity. Future generations don't necessarily have to worry about our memory of the Canadian Lynx warping the way hearsay warped perception a long time ago.
Artwork: Guillaume le Clerc / Wikimedia Commons
13th-century fantastical depiction of an elephant.
It is easy to see how one can look at 66,000 genomic sequences stored away as being the analogous equivalent of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. It is a potential tool for future conservationists.
But what are the practicalities of sequencing the genome of a lynx beyond engaging with broad bioethical questions? As the animal's habitat shrinks and Earth warms, the Canadian lynx is demonstrating less genetic diversity. Cross-breeding with bobcats in some portions of the lynx's habitat also represents a challenge to the lynx's genetic makeup. The two themselves are also linked: warming climates could drive Canadian lynxes to cross-breed with bobcats.
John Organ, chief of the U.S. Geological Survey's Cooperative Fish and Wildlife units, said to MassLive that the results of the sequencing "can help us look at land conservation strategies to help maintain lynx on the landscape."
What does DNA have to do with land conservation strategies? Consider the fact that the food found in a landscape, the toxins found in a landscape, or the exposure to drugs can have an impact on genetic activity. That potential change can be transmitted down the generative line. If you know exactly how a lynx's DNA is impacted by something, then the environment they occupy can be fine-tuned to meet the needs of the lynx and any other creature that happens to inhabit that particular portion of the earth.
Given that the Trump administration is considering withdrawing protection for the Canadian lynx, a move that caught scientists by surprise, it is worth having as much information on hand as possible for those who have an interest in preserving the health of this creature—all the way down to the building blocks of a lynx's life.
The exploding popularity of the keto diet puts a less used veggie into the spotlight.
- The cauliflower is a vegetable of choice if you're on the keto diet.
- The plant is low in carbs and can replace potatoes, rice and pasta.
- It can be eaten both raw and cooked for different benefits.
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