Is Google Censoring Climategate? Google Says No.

Dec 7, 2009 • 7:55 am | comments (22) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine
 

A Google Web Search Help thread I have been tracking since November has an interesting history. In short, some searchers are suspecting that Google is censoring the search term [climategate] from the search results.

On November 28th, Richard Sharpe asked if Google was censoring the term:

If I use Google to search for pages about ClimateGate, it does not put up any search suggestions after I have entered "Cli" however, Bing offers many terms, with "ClimateGate" at the top of the list.

In addition, google says there are about 10M pages that match my search, Bing says there are as many as 50M.

If Google is going to censor the pages I can search for, then I am switching to Bing.

Then on December 2nd a different member noticed Google started showing search suggestions, such as "climate-gate" and "climate gate scandal" on Google Suggest. In fact, a Googler named Jem confirmed this saying:

Thanks for voicing your concerns. We haven't made any adjustments to our suggestions to limit the appearance of [ climategate ] in Google Suggest. So you know, it's totally normal for a suggestion to take time to appear consistently in our query suggestions (it's even normal for it to appear in some but not all cases).

So why wasn't it showing before? Well, she explained that before it wasn't such a popular topic and now it is. She added:

Since [ climategate ] is a growing search trend, it's likely to start appearing more and more consistently over time. I can't promise, though -- suggestions are generated automatically, and Internet fame can be fleeting :)

If you're interested, below I'm linking to some Google Insights for Search data about [ climategate ].

So why today is it no longer showing up in Google Suggest? Isn't today the big climate conference? Looking at the search data does show it is still very popular.

Danny Sullivan has a ton of details, with pictures and additional analysis at Search Engine Land, he concludes:

Overall, there’s no doubt that Climategate is a popular topic, no doubt. However, those who want to demonstrate how popular would be better advised to use Google Trends, rather than the far less dependable web search results counts.

As for Google, I’ll wish again that they’d provide better results counts. I’d also hope for more consistency on how, when and why it shows suggested terms. Finally, I’m still hoping that Google will show precisely what it searched for when it looks for more than the word you’ve entered. Last year, Google grew more transparent about how it customizes results but failed to deal with broad searching as part of that. Clearly, that type of disclosure is overdue.

I am just shocked it was removed 'automatically' a few days after it came up, especially after Googler's Jem response.

Forum discussion at Google Web Search Help.

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Comments:

GPB

12/07/2009 02:59 pm

Google has cut the term "climategate" from the autosuggest feature although it still turns up over 30 million hits online. It had "Climate gate scandal" for a bit, but that disappeared. It then had "Climate gate emails" for a bit, but that too is now gone. It only has "Climate gates" ???

Matt

12/07/2009 03:10 pm

Everybody on the left got the message. The MSM isn't report, google supresses searchs in the same manner that the CRU was supressing science and the white house is pretending that it still has credible data. Simply amazing. Especially since they destroyed their raw data so their phony conclusions can never be replicated, as far as I'm concerned, Global Warming is dead until it gets studied again by independant scientists with a real peer-review process where the foxes aren't gaurding the hen house.

garyc

12/07/2009 03:53 pm

Amazing, today at 10:50 EDT, 7 DEC, using "google suggest", I can type "climategate" and google suggest gives me the following: "climate guatemala" and "climate guatemala city" I'm sure there are go-zillons of folks searching for the weather in guatemala.

chuck

12/07/2009 08:31 pm

First Climate gate. Now,Googlegate. The MSM is made up of largely Liberal elitistists. The internet is the next CNN. Remember ho wmany networks laughed at news 24/7? If we let the internet takeover happen then expect to be lied to. It's just as easy for the right to grab it as well. It'll be interesting how many MSM's will report it when nopenhagen is over.

chuck

12/07/2009 08:33 pm

First Climate gate. Now,Googlegate. The MSM is made up of largely Liberal elitistists. The internet is the next CNN. Remember ho wmany networks laughed at news 24/7? If we let the internet takeover happen then expect to be lied to. It's just as easy for the right to grab it as well. It'll be interesting how many MSM's will report it when nopenhagen is over. Also google is blocking googlegate and nopenhagen.

jj

12/07/2009 08:35 pm

Those interested in this story may want to check out Harold Ambler's experiences and his interactions with Google - http://talkingabouttheweather.wordpress.com/2009/12/02/google-gate/

Susan

12/07/2009 10:31 pm

They did have this indexed on 12/2/09 and they have scrubbed it. Here is a thread where you can find the screenshot. Scroll down to this post at 2009-12-02 19:46:16. http://tickerforum.org/cgi-ticker/akcs-www?post=119707&ord=1664343#1664343

Andrzej

12/07/2009 10:41 pm

Search for "Climategate" using deifferent search engines results in following hit numbers December 7 2009, 23.40 CET: Google: 31.300.000 hits Yahoo: 24.700.000 hits AltaVista: 41.700.000 hits Bing.com: 56.900.000 hits Is Google cooking numbers?

Aqua Fyre

12/08/2009 12:39 am

Little wonder Google won the contract with China. Google is now shaping up to the Lefitsts best friend on the internet. Marshall Marshal McCluhan once stated that the "Medium is the message." Extending from that ; What Google has learned is whoever controls the Medium controls the Message. This is how the left works. By controlling the medium / debate, setting down its terms, obstructing other points of view and creating language that best pushes their agenda aka words like Denier, flat earther, God Botherer etc. Little wonder Google has cut the autosuggestion on Clmategate. It's their way of chocking off the story.

Tim

12/08/2009 02:56 am

It's no wonder... Isn't Al Gore on the Board of Directors for Google?

MikeM

12/08/2009 04:22 am

Wow! You're right. Climategate won't even come up without copenhagen being added to the search window. So, this means your search will be tainted by those MSM news bytes that dismiss climategate as a non-issue. I smell a big, fat Gorey rat. The smell of greed is reaching all the way up to Heaven. Just like the Holy Bible said it would. I'm shocked at how fast & how many mens' hearts have waxed cold with indifference to that which is Godly.

Mike Dammann

12/08/2009 05:57 am

Let's keep it simple: Being too new is the excuse? Why don't you go ahead and type in Holly Sampson, Tiger Woods' mistress' name. She was not getting any results before. Now Holly Sampson Tiger Woods is the first result popping up. So bring me another excuse :) Mike Dammann

Martin

12/08/2009 08:03 am

Well, Bing.com has a new customer. :) Cya Google! I don't trust you at all anymore.

Will

12/08/2009 07:06 pm

So...I type "cli" into Google, no climategate. I type in "clim", bingo: "climate-gate" at the top of the list. Same for "clima", "climat", and "climate". Do you folks not look at the list while you type? Or does paranoia just generate an irresistable endorphin rush?

jj

12/08/2009 08:56 pm

Will - you're correct in your observation, but it's not paranoia. The term(s) have been sporadically appearing/disappearing from autosuggest since the story broke. My own experience was that they vanished from autosuggest yesterday and this morning, but re-appeared this afternoon. Same (unexplained) behavior has been reported by others, elsewhere.

jj

12/09/2009 03:18 pm

Just an update - as of this morning, various forms of "climategate" are again gone from autosuggest.

Robin

12/10/2009 06:08 pm

Climate-gate was working in the UK until last night - today any reference to it has gone.

jj

12/10/2009 06:43 pm

No sign of it in autosuggest in USA today... Can we get some other observers to comment, please?

TIRM

12/11/2009 04:54 am

Various versions of "climategate" have been coming and going over the past couple of weeks. As mentioned above, no version of the word currently autosuggests. Ironically, shortly after COP15 started Google would suggest "climategate copenhagen" and "climategate emails". It seems that shortly after a new version appears it is quickly blocked out. There is no doubt in my mind that google is intentially removing anything related to climategate from autosuggest.

jj

12/11/2009 04:13 pm

Still not there today.

David

02/07/2010 01:06 pm

As of today... Feb 7th, 2010 Auto suggest is working correctly for me but I think it should be noted that the google search results keep going down. Google is now showing 2,920,000 results for climategate vs 51,300,000 results at Bing.com From 30 million hits to less than 3 million hits in one month? Can you say coverup? How about conspiracy? If a google coverup isn't already obvious to you, I suggest you check the link below so you can better understand the Obama - Gore - Google relationship. Obama & Google (a love story) http://money.cnn.com/2009/10/21/technology/obama_google.fortune/ Of course we can't leave Al Gore out in the cold. Al Gore has more stake in Google than just Senior Advisor. He is a ranking member of the Venture Capital Firm KPCB. In 1999, KPCB and another venture capital firm, Sequoia Capital, “paid $25 million for 20% of Google.”[/b] Coming soon to a country near you....The Obama / Gore GoogleGate Scandal

Kevin

03/01/2010 05:04 am

Actually, Google's algorithm is able to identify "astroturfing" of websites and search queries. Most of the pages and queries were probably auto-generated by secret PR teams paid by big oil so the term "climategate" would appear high up on the list. While the scientists may have f'd their research, the whole roll-out of the story was manufactured from the start. Big Oil made $600 billion dollars under Bush. You think they wouldn't try and protect that by any means necessary?

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