Saturday, May 19, 2012

Google's New Search Tool to Use CIA and World Bank as Sources for 'Facts'

Eric Blair
Activist Post

Google is making a big change to how it displays results in its dominant search engine.  It is rolling out a new feature called the Knowledge Graph which breaks from the traditional practice of matching keywords with webpages.

According to an article on Blog Tips about Google's Knowledge Graph, immediate answers or "facts" from pre-selected sources like the CIA Factbook, Wikipedia, and the World Bank will be provided in search results along side the organic results:
Instead of using the typical search strength of a particular answer, this new feature will draw 'facts' from places like Wikipedia for historical information, CIA World Factbook for geopolitical answers, the World Bank for economic facts, Freebase for information about people and other predetermined sources.
Google image

This move by Google seems eerily similar to Orwell's Ministry of Truth in that search results, or "answers and facts", will no longer be gathered based on the algorithmic popularity of content, but rather selected by Google.

Sure, most would argue that Wikipedia does a pretty good job through its open-source format to nail down basic facts.  However, the CIA and the World Bank are organizations with agendas sometimes counter to the truth, and making them the authority on facts gives them tremendous power to shape public knowledge.

Google also explains how it will collect data on you using the Knowledge Graph:

Google-owned Freebase will also be used in the Google Knowledge Graph.  Freebase is a massive database, which according to Singularity Hub already "has data on over 24 million people, places, and things."

Google then combines its Freebase with Metaweb algorithms to connect everything and everyone.  For the purposes of improving searches, this may be wonderful, but it's the exact type of software that can easily build and organize a profile on all Internet users.

Watch how they're already connecting your data points below:

So besides relying on the CIA and the World Bank to force feed Internet users "facts", they will also construct and display how each person appears in these new searches.

Please share this and comment below with how you think this will affect the organic search for information.

See more articles by Eric Blair here.

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Anonymous said...

This is exactly why I get frustrated with these smart things after a while. In a benign sense it's an annoyance.

For example Slacker or Pandora radio. I intitially like them when exploring a genre of musik, but after a while it is limiting and your pigeon holed into just one type of musik.

I found after awhile I had to make over 30 different stations because the thing each time would start to find the same things again.

People do not like being put into boxes and that's what this is. Like I said, it's a nice way to explore a new genre, but then it's a quagmire after that if you like to have a change.

On a more dangerous level it can censor you without knowing it by directing you to places away from what you are searching for. StarWars one of the new ones demonstrated this when a planet disappeared from the computer archives and everybody doubted the computer could have been programmed to delete this information.

moffin01 said...

you mean this CIA?
They have a fact book?
Yep, what's the saying? "He who controls the information..."

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I was in facebook yesterday trying to fill in the box called "people who inspire me"

Of course, they would not let me put in my own preferences- can you imagine??

Just give it a try...

Anonymous said...

Hence google's recent policy change, where you have to maintain a single cohesive identity across platforms and products they own.

Anonymous said...

Google is selling out to cia, yahoo to china... and facebook to wallstreet... what is next?

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the world of Jewgle. Same people who own the MSM own Jewgle, FB etc.

? Why on a troof site that is apparently trying to inform the people do I need to unblock googleapies and googlesyndication scripts in order to post a comment????

moffin01 said...

I've just changed over to Yippy search engine.
How about someone cleverer than me doing an article on good alternative search engines?

Gemma said...

There is a contradiction here. It is one that the article should have covered were Activist Post trying to be completely honest with its readership.

That contradiction is the fact that in order to post, one must first enable all the surveillance systems that the article rightly complains about.

Perhaps the writers are unaware of the needs that privately owned blogging software has. Especially one that is owned by Google itself. However, this oversight does nothing to help the reader understand the full extent of the problem.

There are seven tracking systems enabled on this site, which will place twenty four cookies in your system. This is way more than the usual four or five. Perhaps the Editors of Activist Post would like to explain why they need so much surveillance?

For those of you who do not know, Eric Blair was the name of a policeman who worked in Burma in the 1920s. He happened to write about his experiences under a pen name.

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