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10/19/11 – Filters II

20 October 2011, 3:22

Considering Google’s laizez faire attitude concerning search engines and the regulation thereof, one must always be conscious of one’s search habits. If no government will regulate Google and what happens with the search engine, it must fall then to individuals to mind their behavior online. Things that would be the responsibility of the state to regulate must fall to each person.

And given Google has a partial, non-traditional monopoly, lack of regulation means the industry, what there is, will need to deal with there always being a juggernaut of a search engine.

The real question comes from whether it is right to enforce regulation on a business simply because of its success. After all, the reason Google has grown so large is twofold: it provided a service better than the ones offered by other search engines, and once a network springs up, people will favor the network that others already do so as to share a network with them. This is why World of Warcraft systematically crowded out every other fantasy MMO. People want to play a game their friends are on. Same for networks.

One possible form of regulation would be to place a cap upon the amount of money a company can charge for ad space. Since Google is already ensured that companies would buy ad space from them, it wouldn’t make sense to have them charging outragious prices for the right to advertise on their site. However, there would inevitably be the problem of how to determine what price would be acceptable to cap at, since prices are traditionally determined by market forces. Designating an otherwise arbitrary amount as a max would artificially alter the natural free market process. And what if Google has a need to charge more because of various business concerns, but cannot because of an arbitrary amount?

A possible private solution would be a non-government ratings board for search engines, created by the industry itself, that would call for sites in searches to be marked for content. For example, a program searching a site would find certains words and, by some algorithym, determine if the site is safe for a particular age group. Sites containing content that may be offensive to certain groups can be marked.

In fact, perhaps Google should do this in house. Create a feature that allows the user to hover over a search result and have a box indicate whether the site has explicit content and/or what it contains that may offend people.

Not every solution to a social problem needs to have a state solution.


From → ATEC 2321

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