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Does Google give too much prominence to Wikipedia


Recent research has raised concerns about the overwhelming prominence of Wikipedia links consistently in the top spots of google searches. According to the research conducted by Intelligent Positioning, 96% of noun searches in google were positioned in the top five ranking spots on page one. The article discusses that it certainly makes sense for nouns to generate top ranking Wikipedia results because these tend to be informational searches. For example, searching the world “flower” positions its Wikipedia page at the second spot on google. If a search is so broad and general, in my mind it makes sense for Wikipedia to be a top result. Wikipedia gives the most basic and straightforward information on the internet, so a basic and straightforward result should be generated back. However, it is interesting that searches relating to specific brands (proper nouns) would generate such a high result for Wikipedia as well. While some people seem to think that google is intentionally favoring Wikipedia, I personally have my doubts. Wikipedia is a non-for-profit company whose mission is to empower and engage people across the world by providing information to them. Due to the fact that they have no monetary incentives driving their motivation for this encyclopedia it seems like a stretch to say that Google would purposefully be favoring them.

This article explains how PageRank can seem spit back results, due to the algorithm, that may sometime seem biased. However, Wikipedia is ranked so highly because it is linked in so many other pages. As seen in class, websites that are linked in many other sites garner a higher ranking. However, it is interesting to point out that many other Wikipedia pages are linked to each other. They also include extremely specific parameters within each page. Additionally, they include well defined boundaries, which can easily be identified by keywords and links to other Wikipedia pages with related content and information. Based on my understanding of this concept from lecture and the article, it makes sense that Wikipedia would rank so highly. Before the internet, if people needed to find information, a hardcopy encyclopedia was a good place to start.




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