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Google Experiments On Humans

Over at the Google blog, Ambar Pansari, a Google product manager, and Marissa Mayer, VP of search products and user experience, admit that Google is experimenting on its users.

Thomas Claburn

April 24, 2006

1 Min Read

Over at the Google blog, Ambar Pansari, a Google product manager, and Marissa Mayer, VP of search products and user experience, admit that Google is experimenting on its users.

The two confess, "From time to time, we run live experiments on Google--tests visible to a relatively few people--to discover better ways to search. We do this because there's no good substitute for understanding how real people, in real-world situations, actually operate."Victims may see an enhanced results listing when googling for jobs (Craigslist beware). Or they may see navigational enhancements.

Perhaps the most intriguing part of this trial is that Google is testing the option to remove certain search results so that they no longer show up.

I predict it won't be long before spyware appears to exploit this new feature. Just think how many companies would pay to keep users from being able to google competitors.

About the Author(s)

Thomas Claburn

Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful master's degree in film production. He wrote the original treatment for 3DO's Killing Time, a short story that appeared in On Spec, and the screenplay for an independent film called The Hanged Man, which he would later direct. He's the author of a science fiction novel, Reflecting Fires, and a sadly neglected blog, Lot 49. His iPhone game, Blocfall, is available through the iTunes App Store. His wife is a talented jazz singer; he does not sing, which is for the best.

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