The site utilizes Google’s own Custom Search Engine, which allows you to tailor your search to specific sites, topics and so on, to remove all the Google-owned sites from the results.
So searches on Google Minus Google will not show any results from YouTube, Blogger, Knol, Orkut and others, removing the potential bias that some are suspecting may be going on behind the scenes.
I wrote previously that I was skeptical that Google would allow Knol pages to rank artificially well, but I may have been too hasty. Much has been made in the search engine community during the last week of some results that are doing exactly that. At the time of writing, for instance, a search for ‘buttermilk pancakes‘ has a Knol page as the top result.
Is that page really the most useful one to be found throughout the whole Internet? Better than all the recipe sites which have been around for years, all the manufacturers, How-To sites and Wiki pages? Perhaps, perhaps not. What is more important, to paraphrase Lord Hewart, is not that Google be impartial, but that that Google is seen to be impartial.
Much has been made of Google’s ‘Don’t Be Evil’ policy. Something which initially helped establish the company as trustworthy and set them apart from the Big Business types at Yahoo and Microsoft has become something of a millstone around their neck. Every controversial move they make now is analyzed to a greater degree than perhaps it would be otherwise, and Google really needs to be careful.
There have been questions raised about Google’s role in shutting certain political Blogger accounts, silencing controversial videos on Youtube and skewing Google News results in China, among other things. All of which Google has answered with seemingly reasonable explanations.
The problem will be when there are so many questions raised about ethics, along with eyebrows raised at the search results, that people will begin to look elsewhere for their search. Google Minus Google is not going to be the answer, but it is a warning sign that Google would do well to heed.