Googles lack of transparency.

I've fought with the urge to produce this piece for some time – but after much deliberation, I've decided to go ahead with it. I'll try not to make it a "hater" piece, and instead go with the "we should know" angle (though to be honest, some of you will still rush to their aid :D)

Googles Transparency Report – is basically of no real use or interest to almost anyone.
It's not a real transparency report, it doesn't contain any vital data, it doesn't permit the public to scrutinize Googles actions etc.
At best, it's a "look at us" tool masquarading as a transparency report

Googles Transparent Posts – their blog, their employees blogs/sites ... again, little real transparency here. Most of the time you either get confirmation of what was already known or strongly apparent, or some suggestions that some things may be of influence, or may not be.

So what is my beef with Google and their claims of transparency?
Well, I want to see the "real data" – the stuff that would not only permit the public to see G's statistics, but to allow them to see just how bad some things can be.

Yes, I want to see the "fun and fluff" figures. Things like search request volume by country, number of returned results over a year, the amount of energy consumed per quarter etc.
Soem of the more detailed information, uch as product/platform usage, cost and earnings would be nice too.

But – what I'm really wanting is, of course, the dirt!

Where are the DMCA report details ?
Being told how many DMCAs were received/acted on is one thing, but being told how often G had to actually revoke/reverse a decision is another.
Why are we not told what % of DMCAs were denied incorrectly, and how many granted when they shouldn't have been?

Where are the removal statistics?
Google pushes some sites out of the SERPs via filters, and some out of the public index ... and possibly even some out of it's real index. Where are those figures? Why can we not see how many sites/pages G have (roughly?) indexed, how many it refrains from displaying, and how many it has actually booted?

Where is the Algorithm effect data?
G like pushing out all these algorithms and making tweaks – they like telling us it will only affect n% etc. But we don't get to see the actual data.
Why can we not be told that out of a total X sites/pages, that Y% of sites were affected negatively, Z affected positively? Why are we not given actual figures (think of it, 1% of a billion is a huge number!)?

Where are the "since we implemented" numbers?
Google likes to promote it's own services, and alter the SERPs display. This obviously has an impact on what the Click Thru Rates are, and what the click dispersal patterns are.
Why can we not be told how things have changed since G included it's credit card comparison block, or how the click rates changed when they shifted to a 3 pack etc.?

Where are the "oops" figures?
This one is possibly my biggest bugbear – Google refuses to publicly acknowledge when they get something wrong in regards to deranking or deindexing a site.
I want to know just how many sites G thinks it may have accidentally shot down with Algo-X.
I want to see figures (even estimates) on what % of affected sites shouldn't have been hit.
I want to know what G thinks is an acceptable "collateral damage" figure.


Now, the reasons for not doing these things will obviously be numerous and complex. 
II'll utterly ignore the "they'd look bad" and the "could go legal" ones.  Instead, I'll show a little empathy and understanding.
* Complicated and convoluted – the data will vary depending on country, search type, time of year etc.
* Then we have to consider the "competition" – some of the "others" out there have no qualm about pointing the finger of disgust at Google (even if they are guilty of the same/worse themselves). G would simply be supplying them with additional ammo.
* There's also the "cost" - I doubt if all of those figures are "ready" - they'd have to be dug out and put together ... and that is costly in time and effort - for no real gain (bad business sense straight away).  Further, it could impact other avenues and slow down development etc. elsewhere.

So no – I don't expect hard, solid, specific data.
But a darn good rough estimate, some sort of ball-park figure, some sort of review/audit and publication should be done.

That would be real transparency!

#googletransparencyreport #googletransparency  
Photo
Shared publiclyView activity