Mark Richards


Friday, May 21, 2004

Kudos To Google

Anybody who is relatively familiar with me knows that while I consider myself Jewish, I am not the most devout Jew in the world. What does that mean? Well, it pretty much means that I celebrate the holidays and will have a Jewish wedding, but I did not have a Bar Mitzvah and do not attend services often. That being said, I do find anti-Semitism to be extremely offensive and very is all bigotry.

I was out last night with a bunch of people, and one of the guys I was with mentioned an issue that Google was having with some of its search results. Currently, if you go to Google and type in the word "Jew", mostly anti-Semitic site are returned. According to this Google sponsored link that appears at the top of the search in question, Google does not support the views of the sites that are returned but must still return the results because that is the manner in which their ranking algorithm works. The Google explanation goes on to state that people looking for actual information would normally not use the word "Jew" to find what they are looking for. Most people would use words like "Jewish" or "Judaism" because the word "Jew" has more of a negative connotation. Google then provides users with links to anti-defamation sites, as well.

I must commend Google for sticking by the rules that govern their business, while at the same time making people aware of the fact that they do not approve of the situation, as well as providing links to informational sites. The existence of these anti-Semitic sites does not surprise me, but the lack of positive results returned for the word "Jew" does. I could go on to ramble about what this says about our country, our world, our society, etc., but that is not the point of this post. Google could have publicized this issue and the actions they took, and in turn received a lot of positive PR...but they did not. I appreciate the professional and sincere manner in which Google has handled this situation. We "Jews" thank you.


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