Dear Google must have its reasons. [2]

I happen to be reading and writing a lot about search engines lately. Their rising power as information gatekeepers and all that. And further to an earlier post of mine, I am still pouting about Google not at all recognising this site (while Yahoo does).

I promise that this is not about a blogger’s ego. At the OpenNet Initiative conference in Oxford last May, each attendant was given before the start a flyer saying “Please note that the network is monitored continuously and any illegal activity results in a machine being disconnected”. Jonathan Zittrain then prefaced the event by wittily pointing out getting disconnected from a network is the very “death penalty” to the machine in our time. So my pouting is more about that.


And Technorati even says out loud: “There is nothing in the known universe about yawningtree.” Ouch. Of course I understand it’s nothing personal. Indeed, algorithms are a funny thing. When I was doing my DEA at l’ICM, the conclusion of the course Interfaces and Practice of Human-Machine Communication after a whole term was that natural language processing would never work. Le point final. How encouraging. It’s probably not a very good attitude for scholars to have, but when I look at Google Ads, for example, I don’t have high hopes that we will come up with a computer system that will understand the paralinguistic and contextual aspects of a message. I can laugh off about getting an ad like “Don’t Teach English [in] Korea – Teach English in Taiwan. Better lifestyle+climate“, despite neighbourhood competitiveness. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But this one…


Why would I want an international private investigator (with 38 years’ experience)? Which part of any of my emails exactly makes Google think I would want/need one? It really leaves me scratching my head.


6 thoughts on “Dear Google must have its reasons. [2]

  1. I do not find it inconceivable. After all, researchers and detectives share, do they not, certain similarites. They look for information, conduct interviews, observe, analyse patterns. Perhaps you were discussing such matters?

  2. Yenn said:
    “Arenโ€™t they chased after instead?”

    That’s when you find yourself looking down the barrell of a snub-nosed revolver … ๐Ÿ™‚

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