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Google Answers Question Removed  (View post)

or [PersonRank 10]

Thursday, June 22, 2006
16 years ago5,097 views

This sounds normal. Questions about google should be directed to google support, not Google Answers. Am I missing something?

David Berkowitz [PersonRank 1]

16 years ago #

It doesn't make sense. If I have a question about Google and the information does exist somewhere in the public domain, I should be able to get the answer. Whether I'm coming up with a business plan, mulling advertising opportunities, or doing a school project, I should be able to ask that question and get an answer if it exists out there.

In my book, this is a clear-cut case of censorship.

Stephan Locher [PersonRank 9]

16 years ago #

To me this sounds a bit like the story about Eric Schmidt in a main stream news paper.

Maybe google is jealous if someone outside the google plex finds out anything which their algorithm doesn't ;-)

While talking about google answers: Is there some similar service available fro german questions anywhere?
There are a lot of topics about something in Europe or Switzerland which where interesting but I'm not motivated or don't have the time for my own investigations.

Quinn K [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

Of course it is possible that Google is just trying to protect their interests, and users, by limiting the risk of false information about the company and its practices being widely disseminated. I don't consider that unethical – I consider it responsible.

Baker [PersonRank 1]

16 years ago #

Quinn K.: It would be quite sufficient to add a little remark to answers about Google on Google Answers. Something like "Note that this answer on the inner workings of Google is given by an independent researcher and is not approved by Google Inc." Cutting the whole thing out leaves a bad taste. If the answer made Google look bad in some way I could understand a removal, but there is no reason for this. Besides, I found the particular question weird. How is anyone outside of Google's search engineering department supposed to know that?

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

Stephan: There are plenty of active Google Answers Researchers from Germany: scriptor-ga, till-ga, politicalguru-ga etc.

So, although the terms of the Google Answers service require that your question is phrased in English, it's a good place to ask questions about Switzerland or Europe.

(I am a Google Answers Researcher myself)

Missy [PersonRank 4]

16 years ago #

David Berkowitz writes: "In my book, this is a clear-cut case of censorship."

I do not think that word means what you think it means.

That aside, the question wouldn't have been answered anyway, as Google Answers Researchers are contractually prohibited from answering questions about Google.

Why is that? Because, as Quinn K. already notes, they need to minimize the risk of false information being widely disseminated. This is hardly unreasonable.

(Hall does admit that he didn't really mean just Google information anyway, so he's got some responsibility here, too. Words mean things, and when you're not saying what you actually mean, results may not be what you want.)

Cristian Mezei [PersonRank 5]

16 years ago #

GA researchers have answered pagerank information in the past, and even now.

How is Steve's answer so different ?

People answer there every day about different Pagerank issues, which are NOT made public on any page. They are not employees. So ?

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

Maybe it's a pre-IPO post-IPO thing for Google? I dunno really. In any case I think the question "What percentage of Google searches are contextual?" is kind of begging for inside knowledge :)
I think though that the explanation email of why something was removed should go right along, timing-wise, with the deletion, or else it's really, really unclear for users what's happenin.

Stirrer [PersonRank 1]

16 years ago #

In a parallel universe, the policy might have been this:

Questions about corporations are not allowed because researchers are not employees of those corporations. Researchers don’t have access to any “inside” information. The information they do have access to is available for free on search engines and by contacting the public relations department of the corporation.

Humphrey Bogus [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

Stirrer, I don't think this line of reasoning makes any sense. If researchers were corporate employees and did have access to "inside" information, then Google would have reason to be concerned, as they would be facilitating the potential theft of confidential information and trade secrets. If the only information available to answer this query is public, then Google has nothing to worry about and should let this question be answered. Otherwise, they would ban the answer to the question, "what was Google's revenue in 2005?" (because the information is available publicly) while allowing the question "what is Eric Schmidt's direct extension?" (as this would be information that would have to be provided by an employee).

Stirrer [PersonRank 1]

16 years ago #

Precisely so, Humphrey. I was being sarcastic, and attempting to reduce Google's policy to absurdity by using analogy. (So much for my career as an effective writer...)

Most Google Answers Researchers have no inside knowledge (of Google or of any other corporate), so there should be no problem allowing them free rein to research answers (about Google or about any other corporate) from publicly-accessible information.

Of course, it must be made clear that the answers are not "official" Google answers, because no doubt many of the Google Answers customers imagine that they are having a direct dialog with someone at the Googleplex.

Missy [PersonRank 4]

16 years ago #

Stirrer writes:

"Of course, it must be made clear that the answers are not "official" Google answers, because no doubt many of the Google Answers customers imagine that they are having a direct dialog with someone at the Googleplex."

Precisely so, which is why the policy exists.

It doesn't matter how many times it gets plastered on the website, on various question and answer pages, in the FAQs...people assume (because they don't pay attention to the detaily bits) that they're getting an "official" answer from Google. It's really much less problematic to just say "No" than it is to clean up wrong answers later.

ringlerun [PersonRank 0]

16 years ago #

Always good to remember: "GIJABACANM" (Google Is Just Another Big American Corp And Nothing More")

I asked a question once about how researchers were selected (aka, what questions they had to answer to become researchers)... got deleted by google for the same reason mentioned in the blog – but the way i see it... the researcher is the PERFECT person to answer that question as they went through that process... i was not asking for "insider information" ... but the process and questions asked of the researchers... the WORST part is that google deleted the question and did not even give me access to my oroginal posted content – i had good spent time on constructing the original question and wanted to copy/paste that question on yahoo answers or something (undoubdtedly there are google researchers who are probably yahoo researchers as well?) ... but no, google did not give me back the content i created (the question)!

Always Remember: GIJABACANM

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