Can Google Ever Provide "Exactly The Right Answer"?

Sep 7, 2009 - 8:32 am 1 by
Filed Under Google

Arrington from TechCrunch is posting his interview with Google's Eric Schmidt over the course of a few days. In one of those pieces, Arrington titles the post Search connecting it straight to your brain. Schmidt told Arrington, "So I don't know how to characterize the next 10 years except to say that we'll get to the point - the long-term goal is to be able to give you one answer, which is exactly the right answer over time."

That phrase has caused a lot of discussion at WebmasterWorld. Questions such like, can Google really ever provide the exact right answer to any one person? Is it even possible? The right answer can change over time, it can differ from person to person, it can have multiple correct responses.

Tedster, the admin at WebmasterWorld said:

I am struck nearly dumb by that statement. The absurdity of thinking that there can even BE "the right answer" just jumped out at me. Has he been living with data so long that he lost touch with the real human world?

His fear is that Google may ultimately lead to telling us what is correct, even if there are other alternatives. His fear is that we will stop thinking for ourselves and let Google think for us.

But Brett Tabke, the owner of WebmasterWorld, feels Google can know the exact right answer to each individuals question. Brett explains:

Google will know your entire 'search' history - probably your entire email history (gmail), tracked your life via gps (android), your preferences and tastes (google news), your browsing habits (chrome/toolbar) your purchasing habits (g checkout), and a host of other things there are to know about you.

Given all that, if you ask Google a question, they should be able to give you the 'one' answer you are looking for with a very high degree of certainty. There are currently around 6 billion people on the planet. Sorry, we all do the same stupid stuff. A couple thousand variations in the algo is probably all it will take to nail most of the human population.

Of course, that drives other fears. Okay, so maybe Google is not thinking for us - but anticipating what I might be thinking through the vast knowledge that Google knows about me or you.

John Andrews expresses other concerns, on the publisher side. Not only is Google thinking for us or anticipating what we want to hear - but they are 'forcing' publishers to hand over their content in structured formats (i.e. rich snippets) so that there is no need for a searcher to click through to your content, but rather just go to Google and stay on Google.

Lots to make you think on this really nice Labor Day weekend.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld and Sphinn.


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