Google agrees that often content doesn’t show up when someone looks for it simply because it doesn’t exist.
“Our algorithms are primed and ready to give you the answer you are looking for, but the pipeline of information just isn’t there,” said Gabriel Stricker, Google’s spokesman on search issues. “The challenge for searches, in particular in many foreign languages, for us no longer is search quality. Our ability to get the right answer is hindered by the lack of quality and lack of quantity of material on the Internet.”
Mr. Stricker outlined all the ways information eludes the search engine — wrong language, not digitized, too recent, doesn’t exist but should. Feeding the maw is clearly an obsession of Google’s. After all, the search engine’s comprehensiveness is an edge against a new, well-financed competitor, Bing from Microsoft.
There are the gaps in the Internet, because large populations in Asia, the Arabic world, Africa and much of India lack the means to create Web sites and other online content. In rich nations content has not been written, created, digitized or not organized for search engines to fill these gaps.
Google’s efforts to digitize books in libraries and universities unleashed a storm of controversy from authors and publishers. The Company started scanning many so-called orphan works, for which copyright holders could not be found, and digitized without securing permission. Only recently has Google tried to settle with the authors and publishers.
In Kenya and Tanzania, Google is sponsoring a contest to encourage students to create articles for the Swahili version of Wikipedia, mainly by translating them from the English Wikipedia. Translation could be the key to bringing more online content to non-English speakers. It is the local knowledge that is vital from African contributors.
Travelindex Network throught its unique, and free, database and worldwide travel directory and by reasearching and publishing a large collection of content rich travel guides contributes to enrich the pipeline of information for which Google is so hungry.