Google Strikes Back

I do the majority of the news aggregation for the TZP weekly email alert. Despite my dislike of Google, I have been making use of its news search function to find articles for a preset collection of phrases (“gun control,” “victim disarmament,” “common sense gun laws,” “gun free zone,” “firearms legislation.” Google sucks in many ways, but its news search function used to work better than most search engines.

Until this morning. Today, I discovered that my Google news bookmarks no longer work. For one, they no longer lead to just the news feed; it’s all web results. Not terribly useful for what I’m doing.

For another, Google now resets all my other search terms to “gun control.” “Victim disarmament?” Never heard of it. Ditto the rest. So cleared cache and cookies, and…

Search results are bizarre, as well. When I finally get to news for “victim disarmament” (I must now first hit the “news” tab for another term, then manually type “victim disarmament” and enter; repeat for every search phrase), I get…

Land mines. Military atrocities in the Ivory Coast. Columbia and FARC.

“OSU attack” gives me “Muslim Community Fears Backlash After Ohio State Attack” as the top result. You have to scroll down a bit to discover that a good guy with a gun stopped a car/blade attack.

I’m reminded of how Google disappeared Climategate search results a few years ago.

Here’s an interesting comparison. First up, we have the initial results page generated by Startpage (a privacy-enhancing frontend to Google, which strips out personal identifying data from queries to Google). The search phrase is “does google favor gun control?a”.

google-gun-control

Nothing to see here. Now to Bing (being Microsoft, not normally a preferred search tool).

bing-gun-control

How ’bout that first result? “Google Exercises Gun Control – Freedom Outpost”.

If anyone else cares to test Google’s bias, feel free to post results in comments. Myself, Google is gone from my search tools (mostly; I’ll keep on bookmark for future comparison testing).

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