Google and Data: Doing Stuff Without Data?

January 25, 2020

The Verge has been one of the foot soldiers carrying a pointy stick toward the Google. A few days ago, Google mobilized its desktop search results. The idea was to make search results look the same; that is, virtually impossible to determine where a link came from, who paid for it, and how it was linked to a finger tap or an honest-to-goodness thumb typed word or phrase.

The Verge noted the difference because its experts looked at a page of results on a tiny display device and then on a bigger device and noted the similarity or differences. “Google’s Ads Just Look Like Search Results Now” stated on January 23, 2020:

In what appears to be something of a purposeful dark pattern, the only thing differentiating ads and search results is a small black-and-white “Ad” icon next to the former.

Yikes, a dark pattern. Tricking users. Changing to match mobile.

A day later, The Verge reported that “Google is backtracking on its controversial desktop search results redesign.” The write up stated:

The company says it will experiment with favicon placement.

But the point is not the Verge’s useful coverage of the Google shift. For DarkCyber, the new interface illustrates that the baloney about Google using data to determine its actions, the importance of A B testing, and the overall brilliance of Googlers illustrates that the GOOG does what it wants.

If Google’s “data” cannot inform the company that an interface change will irritate outfits like the Verge, users, and denizens of the Twitter thing — maybe the company’s data dependence is a shibboleth?

If Google cannot interpret A B data in a way to avoid backlash and crawfishing, maybe Google’s data skills are not what the PR machine says?

DarkCyber thought experimenting and analysis came first at the Google. It seems that these steps come after guessing. Ah, the Google.

Stephen E Arnold, January 25, 2020


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