Google Could Decide the Next U.S. President

For years, Robert Epstein and his colleagues have been conducting numerous experiments in the US and India in order to determine whether search results can impact people’s political opinions. Now, we are beginning to find answers.

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Today, a senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology in California and the former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today told us of an insidious and pervasive new form of mind control that search results have transformed into – and of course, they mean Google.

Epstein shows that around 50 percent of our clicks go to the top two items on the first page of results and over 90 percent of our clicks go to the 10 items listed. Thus, it is very important how Google decides which of the billions of web pages to include in our search results and how to rank them.

Surprisingly, Epstein found that the proportion of people favoring the skewed search engine’s top-ranked candidate increased by over 48 percent. Additionally, 75 percent of the subjects in the study did not know that they were viewing biased search rankings.

In another study that involved more than 2,000 people from all 50 US states. In that experiment, the shift in voting preferences induced by the researchers was 37 percent, and as high as 80 percent in some demographic groups.

According to the Pew Research Center. Google has a near-monopoly on internet searches in the US with 83 percent of Americans specifying Google as the search engine they use most often. If Google did favor one candidate in an election, its impact on undecided voters could easily decide the election’s outcome.

So what if Google decided that it was in the best interests of all concerned to do whatever it could to help us select our next president? Epstein said, “If Google set about to fix an election, it could first dip into its massive database of personal information to identify just those voters who are undecided. Then it could, day after day, send customized rankings favoring one candidate to just those people. One advantage of this approach is that it would make Google’s manipulation extremely difficult for investigators to detect.”

Remember that in the 2012 presidential election, Google and its top execs contributed more than $800,000 to Barack Obama and just $37,000 to Mitt Romney. Is it possible that they would use more than just their money?

I’m skeptical. I don’t think that Google would act so nefariously. Plus, Silicon Valley tends to be full of free-market Libertarians. However, I’d love to hear what your opinion is – please share below.

Is There Something Between Google and Ford?

Insiders have been speculating for a long time now that Silicon Valley’s technology firms would team up with some of the big automakers to develop self-driving vehicles. Well, that day has come. Sources at both Ford and Google have confirmed that the companies are in discussion of forming a partnership. This makes me wonder – Who would get the better end of the deal?

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Obviously, both companies would declare that they won if the deal goes through. However, more than one analyst is wondering if Ford would be making a deal with “the wolf at the door.” This includes Joe Spak, a RBC Capital analyst who wrote that he believe automakers, “would be reluctant to hand over the keys to Google (or another tech player), as this moves [them] down the path of being a contract manufacturer.” To explain the point that Spak is making, this would make it more difficult to sell vehicles on brand. This was seen in trends among computers and mobile phones. However, this could be an expansion of Ford’s Smart Mobility plan, which aims to explore new business models.

Surely, both companies would stand to gain in one way or another from a partnership like this. By working with such a large global manufacturer like Ford, Google’s auto program would receive an enormous boost that could help it accelerate the development of self-driving cars on a much larger scale.

On the other hand, Ford’s expertise in autonomous-drive vehicles would surge by working with Google, who has already built self-driving vehicles that have logged over 1.3 million miles in California and Texas.

Of course, details about this possible partnership are very limited – both companies are declining to comment on the talks. Sources are admitting that if a partnership does take place, it would not be exclusive. It is very obvious that automakers and tech companies are about to team up in more complex ways than we think.

A few months ago, a lucky group of reporters got to test-drive the latest autonomous drive vehicles. Google’s director of the self-driving car project, Chris Urmson said that their goal was to “get this technology out so that everyone can use it.” Wait, there’s more. He added, “We think the right way to do that is in partnership with those folks, you know the car companies of today, who make these vehicles do [an] amazing job doing it and have been doing it for 100 years.”

That last comment points the finger at Ford and their CEO, Mark Fields knows that the road to an autonomous-drive future runs through Silicon Valley. “There is a lot of interest in [self-driving cars] and a lot of innovation going on,” he recently told CNBC from the company’s new research and development facility in Palo Alto, California. “That is why we are here, because we want to be part of this community.”

Marketing in 2016

There are rumors that another Google Algorithm update will occur before the end of the year. This kind o
f update always creates tension for the online marketing community.
They want to know what type of changes to expect so that they can understand how their site will be impacted. These updates have to be taken seriously because they can cause a lot of trouble like broken links caused by being part of an unauthorized link building program, maybe lack of updating and too much reliance on a domain’s name.

Each time that this happens, it is important to focus on linking your company brand name with its location and services you perform. Make sure that all five of these things appear.

  1. Company name and location- continued focus on brand name recognition
  2. Location – locally, regionally and nationally
  3. Product(s) / Service(s) descriptiondownload (4)
  4. Name(s) of company representative, stressing client service
  5. Value Content – blog, content marketing, reports
  6. Marketing Channel – where to invest time in delivering the company message

This list should look very familiar to you. Yes, we work on building our reputation through SEO and content marketing, but there is another side. The part that I feel the need to stress on is mobile.

Mobile Apps

Many companies think that apps are a long-term strategy, but for now we are still in the erly stages. This audience will definitely grow, but we are still missing almost three-quarters of the population – it is just too early in the game.

Strong Brand Recognition

It is now more important than ever to link all six of the above listed items together. If you leave one thing out, your audience will now see the overall value. More emphasis needs to be made to connect all of these things together. That means that you may need to provide more information to emphasize points like price and personnel.

Valuable Content

The definition of content has drastically changed. It is more than just knowledge information. Now, content requires more information such as specific reports and video presentations. It is critical for companies to look at the content production process from a news media standpoint to product higher quality content and delivery.

The Right Mix of Channels

Where are people going for their information? There is a huge disruption right now with Internet and technology. Now, companies need to find the right channels within the two to make them succeed.

Google Finally Took an SEO Agency to Court

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This is not the first and this is not the only unethical SEO agency that has claimed to be working for Google and guarantees to give your business first page placement in search results.

However, on September 2015 Google finally did it, they filed a lawsuit against Local Lighthouse that performed the actions that I mentioned above. After taking a look at the case, it seems to involve these three issues: false or misleading advertising, trademark infringement and unfair competition.

Advertising

The SEO industry is full of operators making promises that they don’t plan to keep. Google’s case against Lighthouse is mainly concerning the guarantee of first page placement in Google’s search results. They make these false claims on their website as well. Lighthouse representatives were also introducing themselves as ‘Google Local Listing representatives.’

P.S. Even though Google is prosecuting this case in California, it seems that it is a problem in the UK search results as well.AAEAAQAAAAAAAAXmAAAAJDdkZDcyNWM1LTA3ZWUtNDJkNC1hMjMxLWIxYzMzMGMwNWQ4Zg

Trademark

Local Lighthouse illegally used the Google trademark as part of their selling process to help deceive customers into believing that they have an approved relationship with Google.

Robocalls

In the mean time, Google has been receiving hundreds upon hundreds of complaints – mainly from small business owners that complain about automated calls from businesses that claim to be a part of Google. As you can guess by now, they complain about misleading offers, promotions for improving Google Search and AdWords ranking, all promising to improve their Google My Business profile.

The California court case actually makes specific references to “incessant, unsolicited automated telephone calls” and states that the sales representatives of Local Lighthouse “harassed consumers with unwanted phone calls.”

The UK has already been taking action. Last month, the Information Commissioner fined Called Call Elimination Ltd, a Chichester company a total of £75,000. The company was making illegal cold automated calls in order to sell cold call blocking devices, makes sense right?

Protect yourself. Google does not do this kind of marketing. If you get a call from “Google,” you can be pretty confident that it is a scam. Google makes it very clear on their support form that they do not make automated sales calls, ask you to update your front-page listing or claim your free website or ask you to pay to be included in Google Search or Google My Business.

If you see Google’s trademark being used illegally you can report it here.

Google has created a support document describing the various scams out there and how to report them.