Let’s get this out of the way: I love Google and have literally moved through Adulthood with the search engine. I recall first learning about it in 1998, through a friend, in Oakland. At the time, I was working as Economic Advisor to Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris, and that thing called “The Internet” was still used by a relative few, except in what I call “The Inner SF Bay Area”: a nexus that includes Oakland and San Francisco, Berkeley, up to Richmond, and stops in the Oakland / East Bay Hills, and San Leandro in the East Bay, and SF down to Palo Alto in the West Bay.
Google was this cool website where you could find exactly what you searched for. It was made by two Stanford Students named Larry and Sergie, and that’s pretty much about what I knew. Except that the site was, what we say today, fast.
Then, Google really took off when Google AdSense and AdWords were created and the bucks flew in. Then, Google Trends was born in 2006, and for the first, oh, year and a half, “sex” was the dominant topic searched. Then, I think around 2009, Google engineers figured out how to filter that out. But Google’s search engine’s birth and growth pretty much matched that of blogs and blogging. So, blogs, many linked together, and all fighting for attention on Google (mine included, including Oakland Focus and Zennie’s Zeitgeist.)
Google first gave blogs their own search home, then, as mainstream media was forced on to the Internet due to the rising cost of newsprint, and the movement of people from paper to digital in search of interesting (what we now call) content, Google basically went from tolerating legacy media, to battling it in court (hello, Rupert Murdoch), to starting to alter its platform to favor it.
I recall my 2010 and 2011 talks with Phil Bronstein (when I was an SFGate City Brights Blogger) about, in part, Murdoch and his battles against Google:
Google Deprecates “Hot Trends” In 2012 And Detroit Freep Turns To Zennie Abraham For A Quote
I happened to see a Facebook post which basically saved my “appearance” in the Detroit Free Press or “Detroit Freep” from oblivion. Look:
Google updates, cools down its Hot Trends feature
Google Trends, which tracks the most-searched topics across the web, has a new look, but bloggers who pay close attention the site’s list of trending search terms seem lukewarm on the change.
Before the change, announced Tuesday on Google’s official blog, the feature offered a list of the 20 hottest search terms at any given moment. This has been replaced a much smaller list of “only the truly hottest news stories of the day,” with an enhanced visual presentation of the items.
At this writing, for example, the only topic qualifying as “truly” hot for today is basketball star Kevin Durant.
Google claims the new Trends/Hot Searches feature is the product of a “filtering system” that makes it more accurate, and the results are more detailed. But bloggers who rely on the service, partly or wholly, to provide a snapshot of what’s trending online might find the pared-down returns frustrating.
NBC Bay Area’s Barbara E. Hernandez writes, “We wish it had at least 10 because we’re programmed to think in Top 10 lists. Hasn’t Google gotten that memo? Secondly, why doesn’t Google incorporate the “Hot Searches” into the Google News section or even the search page? Right now, it’s too hard to find for the average user to find.”
Blogger Zennie Abraham notes Google’s history of slashing its Trend feature: “Google is on a mission to kill the news sources for bloggers, and it seems we bloggers are as a whole too stupid to see it. In 2007, Google Trends had the top 100, then that went to 60, then 40, then 20, and now it’s almost useless.” Ryan Miller at Search Engine Journal adds: “Hopefully, much like many of the current updates happening with Google, this is a work in progress, and we’ll be given a more robust list of Hot Searches in the near future. In the meantime, as an alternative, although it’s a pale comparison, there is always the Top 10 “Trending on Google+” list.”
Wow. Today, Google has blogs as part of its search, but the search engine uses code to deprecate blogs, and push up legacy media. That’s not a good thing. Blogs are governed by a more honest style that legacy media: you know what fake news is because blogs have been outing it as a matter of course from the beginning. Legacy media was clueless in dealing with how to filter such information, and still is. Why? Because doing so often means linking to blogs, which Legacy Media has shown a true allergic reaction to doing for a long time.
By contrast, one enduring rule of blogging is that linking to other platforms is necessary to track a story as much as it is to highlight or fact-check. This way, we are able to determine who broke the news. Legacy media has been so busy shunning blogs and vlogs, it will avoid any blog that’s the true breaker of a news story. This is still a big problem today.
Now, fake news more often comes from Legacy Media than blogs and vlogs – I can tell you a lot of stories that also show the ugly racist of Legacy Media. Have a read here.
Time for blogs, bloggers, and blogging and vlogging to be hip, again.
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