Here's an interesting article about Google that appears online today on haaretz.com, Israel's main newspaper:


"Alan Cohen is a senior vice president at a company
that specializes in wireless Internet services. He
told New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman that
when it is possible to access the Web search
engine Google by a wireless connection to the
Internet, Google will turn into a kind of God.
"God is wireless, God is everywhere, God sees and
knows everything," he said, and isn't that a
little like Google?

Google has already become a
kind of supreme power. The
Internet is loaded with
billions of pages containing
information of every sort, and
only Google appears capable of
putting them in any order. A
person clicks into Google, asks
a question and in an absolute
majority of cases, is directed

precisely to the place where the answer can be
found. But there's a price to be paid for the
world's growing dependence on search engines.

Another company called Search King, claims that
Google distorts results to keep users from
finding it (www.searchking.com). According to
the company's lawyers, Google is so powerful
that it seems anyone who doesn't appear in its
results doesn't exist. A court rebuffed Search
King, but the question remains in the air.

When a sophisticated reader scans one of the
daily newspapers, he or she is quite aware
there are owners with commercial interests
behind the newspaper. Many users believe that
search engines are different - they are
objective. All a search engine does is create a
huge data base with a smart algorithm,
providing innocent users with the best answers
to their questions.

And why does the search engine do it? The
companies operating the search engines believe
that if the user is pleased with the results,
the users will come back and that way the
engine becomes more popular, enabling it to
sell more advertising. But that's only part of
the picture.

Here's a test. Go to msn.com and type in the
word Linux. The top result is strange - a link
to amazon.com where you can buy books about the
Linux operating system. The second result is
essentially financial - a link to MSN's
technology channel offering to sell Linux
packages (for each sale, MSN gets a
commission). The third result is completely
ridiculous. MSN sends users to Microsoft where
the company offers software that replace
applications based on - what else - Linux.

No surprises here - MSN is a subsidiary of
Microsoft, which is fighting Linux, the open
source system. MSN and Microsoft have a clear
interest in hiding Linux from users. MSN
Israel's search engine is not much better.

Typing in "Oracle," the name of one of
Microsoft's biggest competitors, yields bizarre
links. The first result is a link to a site
that recommends books. It takes a very fertile
imagination to find the link between that site
and Oracle, which produces database software
that competes with Microsoft.

Try finding a direct connection to MSN from the
Walla search engine. After a few desperate
tries, it turns out that Walla doesn't
recognize its biggest competitor, which draws
1.5 million Israeli users every month. An
attempt to find "communities" in the Tapuz
engine will not yield a single link to the
blossoming communities at Walla, Nana, Ynet and
others.

Nana has a joint venture with the sports site
One. Is it possible that's why the links to the
Sports Channel, its competitor, shows up in
59th place on its list of Nana's results?

If a user is looking for legal information from
the trial of Ofer Nimrodi, the owner of
Ma'ariv, they should try the Ynet site, owned
by Yedioth Ahronoth.

The site provides five links to sites and
articles that offered special coverage of the
trial, including the full transcript, an
article in the Seventh Eye, a magazine about
journalism, special coverage from Walla and
Haaretz, and more. Ma'ariv's site has a deal to
use the Tapuz engine. Typing in Nimrodi at
Tapuz yields only one link - accident,
apparently.

It's inevitable that users are being enslaved by
search engines. The reason that Google is
perceived by so many users as the Internet's
divine being is apparently because it is a god
that still tries to be objective. Users who are
not monotheistic are invited to remember that
the other gods want us to worship mostly their
own interests. "