Google's bias is a temporary anomaly

Dave Sims, my editor at, has blogged something that's been nagging me for a while now. Playing devil's advocate, Dave wonders about how and why Dave Winer and Tim O'Reilly have become Google's authoritative sources on (among many other things) Michael Eisner. Writes Dave:

Tim's blog is interesting, but even though he signs my paycheck, I can't convince myself that his comments on Eisner's testimony are the most important source on Eisner on theWeb. [ Dave Sims ]

It's a great point. I am, for example, the seventh Jon on Google. Ego-gratifying though that may be, I don't kid myself as to why. My web footprint just happens to be larger than that of many more famous and accomplished Jons, including two US Senators ( 1, 2, 3, 4).

Another example: I recently discovered that Glenn Fine, who went to junior high school with me, is now the Inspector General of the US Department of Justice. He's nowhere near the top of Google's list of Glenns. However Glenn Fleishman (a brilliant guy, I hasten to add) is Google's fourth Glenn.

These are anomalies. I don't, however, think Google's doing anything wrong. Rather, I'd say we're living through an odd historical moment in which web pundits, simply by virtue of abnormally large web surface area, wield disproportionate influence.

In the long run, the problem is not with Google, but with a world that hasn't yet caught up with the web. I'm certain that in 10 years, US Senators and Inspectors General will leave web footprints commensurate with their power and influence. I hope that future web will, however, continue to even the odds and level the playing field.


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