Ok, so I finally break down and change my side-bar on the right to include an entry for “Jew” to help knock a certain anti-semitic organization out of the #1 result spot on Google, when I find that that site no longer seems to appear in the search results at all.
Google’s letter of explanation about offensive results appears, though.
Then I found this article: (ADL Praises Google for Responding to Concerns About Rankings of Hate Sites) that implies that Google agreed to manually intervene in the results in order to remove the offensive site.
I wasn’t sure whether I was happy about this or not. On one hand, I’m happy to have that nasty site lose influence. But, on the other hand, I don’t want Google to be responsible whenever somebody is offended by automated search results, nor do I want political campaigns to force Google to reduce the effectiveness of its searching in order to be “politically correct”. The strength of Google’s automated search results is that they do very well at predicting the sites that the average searcher will be most interested in. I like that, and I don’t want it to suffer from the oversensitivity of the community.
On reflection, though, I don’t think this instance of manual intervention will reduce the quality of the search results, and if Google wants to occasionally intervene in a way that makes sense to the company, then they have every right to do so. And, if they limit it to cases like this, it’s probably a good choice for them to make.
I only hope that this intervention doesn’t set them up for some stupid law suits in the future from people upset by results in cases where they chose not to manually intervene (or were simply unaware, or chose to intervene and upset others…).
It seems like that site is back on the top of the results. I saw somewhere that it just got temporarily dropped from the results because the home page was down for a while.
Oh, well…It’s still an interesting issue.