Google just posted a video of the internal weekly meeting where its engineers get together to figure out how to improve search quality. It happens every Thursday, and brings in employees from around the globe via teleconferencing.
Why did they post this video now?
Our guess is it’s meant to calm critics who are afraid that Google makes changes to its search results without thinking about the consequences, and in the process hurts businesses who rely on Google Search for Web traffic. Or worse, that it uses search to guide users to its own sites.
About a year ago, a set of search quality changes known as “Panda” totally changed how sites were ranked, and some sites lost a ton of Web traffic as a result. More recently, Google decided to highlight information from its new social network, Google+, into search results and a Twitter lawyer complained that it buried information from Twitter.
Regulators are also looking at whether Google Search favours its own services over competing services like Yelp, and whether this might violate antitrust laws.
Anyway, here’s one thing they discussed on December 1 — spelling suggestions for long queries. As Google notes, the search team relies on experimental data and has a “dedicated search quality analyst assigned to study the impact” of every single change.
If nothing else, it’s a rare look at Google’s highly analytical culture.
(Side note: look at all those Macs. But it does look like a couple old Chromebooks made it to the meeting.)