[re-search] Questions for Google

Jürgens, Pascal pascal.juergens at uni-mainz.de
Tue Jan 21 11:14:30 CET 2014

Dear all,

sorry for the high volume of messages, but going through your mails, I remembered one detail that is rather important:

Regarding the auto-complete function, the engineer insisted that it was "purely a popularity" metric. That meas that what appears in the autocomplete boxes is solely dependent on the terms that other users typed. There must be at least some minimal filtering for obscenity etc.

Following a high-profile court ruling in Germany, Google has been forced to exclude certain keywords from autocomplete suggestions. They did, however, stress that this would be too complex to do in a dynamic fashion and can only work with small sets of precisely defined keywords.

We did ask several questions about personalization; unfortunately, none of them could be answered (they couldn't say or didn't have the data).

All the best from Mainz,

Pascal Jürgens M.A.
Research Associate, Dept. of Communication
U of Mainz, Germany

On 14 Jan 2014, at 00:39, Richard Graham <richardnvgraham at gmail.com<mailto:richardnvgraham at gmail.com>> wrote:

Dear Pascal,

What a great opportunity, I hope it ends up being as valuable as it sounds.

If it fits with your discussion could you ask about autocorrect/autosuggestion please? Particularly the process whereby Google decide certain queries (words, or phrases) should not be suggested. Its an area that fits with all three of the topics you raised above. Privacy in terms of limiting slanderous autosuggestions relating to specific people. Personalisation: might a version of the filter bubble be working through autocomplete suggestions relating to previous search behaviours or geographical localisation? And media literacy in the way users, on the whole, have little understanding of why certain suggestions are being presented to them.

Google have given small indications to some of the things which are excluded or removed from autosuggest in the past but in a vague and guarded way. I'd be very interested to hear more detail about the way in which Google feel the feature functions, who is responsible for its direction and the decisions and guidelines taken towards its continuing and future developments.

Hope its a productive meeting,


Richard Graham
AHRC Doctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities
Exeter University

On Mon, Jan 13, 2014 at 2:41 PM, Jürgens, Pascal <pascal.juergens at uni-mainz.de<mailto:pascal.juergens at uni-mainz.de>> wrote:
Dear list members,

(sorry for the short notice)

As part of a larger research project, I'll be meeting with several Google representatives including search engineers tomorrow.
We'll have the opportunity to ask questions, and I wanted to hear if anyone of you has an issue that is particularly dear to your heart. If it fits in, I'd love to ask them about any of your questions.

I don't yet know about NDAs, so I can't promise a full disclosure, but I'll try my best!

The main topics will be privacy, personalization and media literacy.

Best regards from Mainz,

Pascal Jürgens M.A.
Tel. +496131/39-25638<tel:%2B496131%2F39-25638>
Research Associate, Dept. of Communication
U of Mainz, Germany

re-search mailing list
re-search at listcultures.org<mailto:re-search at listcultures.org>

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://listcultures.org/pipermail/re-search_listcultures.org/attachments/20140121/24efcdbd/attachment.html>

More information about the re-search mailing list