Hugo Martins

"Google's nemesis..."

An excellent article, Google’s nemesis: meet the British couple who took on a giant, won… and cost it £2.1 billion, written by Rowland Manthorpe, in Wired:

For the Raffs, this remains the burning issue, which the technicalities of auctions and algorithms all too often obscure. They see it simply: Google, or any other search engine, should present only impartial results that do not benefit it financially. It sounds idealistic, but why should it? “After all,” says Shivaun, “this is what people want, and what they believe Google still delivers.” This is the end the Raffs keep in sight: an internet in which search is neutral. And to get it they must keep stepping forward, again and again and again.

Just another account of the subtle, obscure and frightening power that companies like Google have. This shouldn’t come as a surprised anymore, given the behavior of these types of companies which has recently come to public. Yet, it is increasingly important to mention. Algorithms are everywhere nowadays and, as long as they become increasingly complex, this black-box view over their actions and outputs will need increased and persistence scrutiny to avoid what has, effectively, become a reality.

The judgement, that is described and analyzed in this article, took more than a decade to reach a tipping-point, involving several high-profile tech giants as plaintiffs (Microsoft, TripAdvisor and Expedia, to name a few). If those companies are afraid to battle Google, what’s left for the rest of us? I wonder.