Fresh out of Depth


There’s going to be significant changes in the way the millions of search queries are handled. Google has announced that its newest algorithm update is going to reward ‘freshness’ in some searches, deciding that certain searches demand newer results than others, even if they may seem less relevant.

There are apparently technical concerns with this change. But I also think it’s indicative of how we as a society deal with news. Blogs are particularly susceptible to this – everyone wants to get the news first, throw up the first updates. We insist on knowing everything instantly, and reading a news story more than a day old is nigh unimaginable. The offshoot? Everyone has an opinion on the news before they fully understand it. I remember when the US invaded Iraq, my conservative friends breathlessly IMing me that we had killed Saddam the first day, that we had already found the weapons of mass destruction. The same occurred when Gabrielle Giffords was shot (remember the reports that she had died?) or the false reports surrounding the conflict in Libya.

Google isn’t the cause of this development (although the communication revolution they helped spur has contributed to it), but the fact that they see it as a trend worth altering their algorithms for shows its pervasiveness. This makes it all the more important to read a little deeper, find the background, and, almost unthinkably, wait a couple days, before developing a hard and fast opinion on fast-developing events.

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