Google has done an impressive job in its news search engine’s ability to provide Africans around the world with access to thousands of information resources that delivers vital content and breaking news from across the continent. The recent complaints by rival search engines that Google is manipulating search results don’t seem to have any foundation. From close observation, it seems search engines like Bing or Yahoo do not commit to featuring African news in a massive scale. If you ask thousands of Africans surfing the net in search of relevant news about their country, they will tell you that they get their news from Google. The search king does not pick or choose whose news items it makes available to readers. As long as its algorithm considers the item relevant, it will be made available to readers. Yahoo and Microsoft has made it incredibly difficult from personal experiences, for African news services to be considered for inclusion into their news search engines. The reason for this is unknown, but there is ripe suspicion that African news is not very relevant to these two search and information giants.
Google stands out as the leader in providing the biggest information service to Africans around the world. As the EU prepares to investigate Google on accusations of search results tampering, they should tread carefully and not subject the search engine to any regulation that might affect the way information about Africa is rendered across the internet. Because, if Google is forced to adjust its algorithms capabilities, it will affect the way information is accessed around the world, and Africans will become the biggest losers. According to the statistics software that Newstime Africa uses to determine its visitor numbers, 65% of our visitors are led to our site by Google. This can’t be pure coincidence. It could be a deliberate attempt by other major search engines to omit African news search results from their engines. If this is found to be true, then it is a disgraceful attempt by Yahoo, Microsoft and other major search engines to limit access to information which in turn provides a unique opportunity for our people to be educated about what is happening around them and around the world.
I must say that Google should be commended and indeed congratulated and urged to continue in its effort to make Africa relevant. And Africans around the world should show support for the search engine by making it their point of entry into the internet gateway each day. Newstime Africa is also urging Microsoft’s Bing and Yahoo Search to give Africans more access to news and information from around their continent. I know most major African news services like ours would share the views expressed in this article that they have been deprived as well. For the world to truly discover Africa’s potential, the information highway has to be a level playing ground. But unless Bing and Yahoo play catch-up to Google, this all seems to be a far cry from happening.
Newstime Africa will conduct further investigations as to how Yahoo Search and Microsoft’s Bing determine what is relevant or not to their respective search engines. Whatever the reasons, considering the current low level of access to African news, it will be difficult for these two companies to successfully argue that their actions are not deliberate!!
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