Wednesday, September 21, 2011

In data we trust...

To counter accusations of unfairness, Google should rely on the most trustworthy ally: Data

Becoming everybody’s prime gateway to the internet has its drawbacks, as Google is finding out. People are bound to suggest that a company that enjoys such a pre-eminent status misuses that privileged position.

In countering this accusation during a US Senate Judiciary Committee hearing scheduled for later today, Google Chairman Dr. Eric Schmidt should rely on the most obvious and trustworthy ally: data. He should display a table that summarizes the results of a few hundred sample searches, and makes it plain that Google serves up results that do not “favor its own content” (as they’re accused of doing).

For dramatic effect, he can actually demonstrate a few searches online during the hearing, that attest to the above. Of course, he should be prepared for committee members to suggest their own searches, and should have verified in advance that there really isn’t any bias in Google results !

On the committee’s part, one hopes they recognize the most basic principle of fairness in justice: the burden of proof lies squarely on the accuser.