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Google cranks up the Consensus Engine

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Old media is hooked on the drug that kills it

Today, the media organisations look to Google to explain what is really happening in the world. Convinced that they can't lead, the only option left is to follow. So they reflect ourselves - or more accurately, they reflect the unstinting efforts of small self-selecting pockets of activists - back at us. In the absence of editorial confidence, Google - the Monster that threatens to Eat The Media - now defines the purpose of the media. All media companies need do is "tap into the zeitgeist" - Google Zeitgeist™!

Take this example from a quality British broadsheet.

One journalist on the paper lamented that:

...it's becoming all too clear at The Telegraph, whose online business plan seems to be centred on chasing hits through Google by rehashing and rewriting stories that people are already interested in.

The digital director of the Telegraph recently suggested the newspaper could work even closer with Google... by subsuming its identity into the Ad Giant. Why couldn't The Telegraph run off a telegraph.google.com domain and allow Google to take care of all the technology? he mused.

Not all companies have the same suicidal lack of foresight as The Telegraph's resident guru - but many share the same apocalyptic conclusion.

Today, Google's cute little explanation of being "uniquely democratic" is no longer present on that page. A subtly different explanation has taken its place - one which acknowledges that in the new democracy of Web 2.0, some votes are more equal than others.

PageRank also considers the importance of each page that casts a vote, as votes from some pages are considered to have greater value, thus giving the linked page greater value. We have always taken a pragmatic approach to help improve search quality and create useful products, and our technology uses the collective intelligence of the web to determine a page's importance.
Google's New Age motto

Picture culled from Google's 2006 analyst presentation

So you see, it's not rigged! How could Google "rig" a system that only reflects our finest and most noble sentiments back at us - mediated by a technocratic priesthood of unquestionable moral authority?

Google has taken Googlewashing in house. ®

As always, Andrew warmly welcomes your comments.

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