New-York-Times

Wait, Google Is Responding To Algorithm Criticism Behind A Wall?

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The New York Times ran a controversial op-ed piece yesterday entitled “The Google Algorithm.” Basically, the piece wonders if the government shouldn’t step in to control the way Google tweaks its search engine results. Obviously, Google is going to want to respond to that. And now they have. Bizarrely.

Marissa Mayer, Google’s Vice President of Search Product and User Experience, has written a post for the Financial Times today. Okay, normally Google responds to these things on its own blog, but whatever, that’s not that strange. What is strange is that it appears the post is a whole two paragraphs in length. That’s because it’s actually behind a registration wall. Yes, Google is responding to this important issue behind a wall. So much for open data.

Of course, Google offers a way around it thanks to its search results, but stil, why do that? Why not just put the post on their own blog which is open to all?

This is Google, the company that wants the world’s information open to all. And they’ve buried this important bit behind a registration wall? Odd.

Update: An earlier version of this post noted that Mayer’s post was all of 2 paragraphs long. That’s not the case — as I noted above, it’s simply because the post is behind FT’s paywall (which FT oddly didn’t bother to mention anywhere on the page). We’ve updated the wording to reflect that.

Update 2: As Jeff Jarvis notes below, Mayer’s response actually came the same day as the NYT post, so she wasn’t directly responding to that — but rather an earlier, similar post in the Financial Times. (Obviously, it’s hard to tell what she was responding to when the entire thing was behind a wall). Still, Google has now posted the post in its entirety on their Public Policy Blog — and also prominently links to Danny Sullivan’s take on the matter, which is in direct response to the NYT post.

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