Google and the Algo’s: Welcome To Our World

The headline sounds like it should be said by some aging disc jockey on a classic hits station. However it’s probably the newest phenom that Google® itself never envisioned happening to them. After all, if you’re the crowned ruler of the algorithm machine (some might call it more of a monster) then you never think the robots can turn on you.

But these bots don’t belong to the Google kingdom, nor do they answer to their servers. Just like Google, they can’t be reached by phone or seemingly anything else if you disagree with what they’re doing – or what they’ve done. Regardless if it cost you money, time, reputation, or business disruption.

I do want to say Google has been a fantastic enabler, and disruptor for both people and companies. We all take for granted what we can do today for free with Google of what previously cost us exorbitant amounts of money. But now Google faces a beast just as powerful, disruptive, ruthless, or enabling of the algorithm world as itself: High Frequency Trading aka HFT.

Many have had issues with the heavy hand of some platforms. For many like myself, I have had issues and felt the impersonal hand (and hammer) of Google’s algorithmic side. Dealing with any issues is more akin to talking to a wall or worse.

A while back I had an issue with YouTube™. Personally I never liked the YouTube format for my own content. Then there came a time I was experimenting with some different ideas, and I thought; “Hey why not?” So I put a few things up.

A few weeks went by when out of no where I received a notice stating someone had accused me of copyright infringement. Yet not to worry. They were going to allow me to leave my material up with one caveat: The accuser was now allowed to put commercials on my material, and there was basically nothing I could do about it.

I can’t tell you how taken back I was about this accusation. Reason being I actually instruct people how to be aware and respectful of copyright, trademarks, and others. The insult to injury was: “Who were they (Google) to give anyone the right to make money using my copyright material without my permission? For what ever the reason!”

Immediately as instructed (you get a hyperlink to click on) I emailed to state this as a mistake and stated my case. I received an email a day later that the accuser didn’t agree. (No kidding?) The problem was they had no idea of what they were claiming infringement for. However the “algo’s” flagged my material as a possible infringement so they assumed they must be right. After all the algo’s must always be correct. That’s why they’re algo’s!  Which is what many misinformed people think.

It’s a long story, and you can read it here if you wish. But the issue and accusation was frivolous. Yet, there was nothing I could do except try to resolve it using the impersonal “reference” sections within the Google machine. All the while someone else has control of my material.

I even went as far as filling out the so-called “legal” form that by all intent and purpose alerts everyone involved that you are taking this serious and willing to push this into court if needed. The response? I still haven’t received one to this day. (I closed and pulled all my material within 48 hours of no response.)

The algorithms don’t care what you say, what you think, if you’re right, if you’re wrong. They don’t care – and seemingly neither do their owners. And they have made it near impossible to not deal with anything other than – the machine. Even if the machine is at fault. Remember, there is no phone number. Just send an email and wait-and wait-and wait-and wait-and…

On Thursday of this week Google by way of someone elses algo’s lost nearly 10% of its total market cap. (about $25 BILLION) in mere minutes. Why? Because of an earlier than scheduled release of their earnings. The algo’s saw the info – flagged the info – and executed on that info. Regardless if it is correct, wrong, mistaken, or anything else one can conjure up.

And just like Google itself there are no phone numbers to call that a mistake was made. No one to complain to that the information was not handled properly. No one to plead their case to that something erroneous happened. No, just the same helplessness one faces if mistakenly wronged by the algo’s.

Later this same day Google released its earnings at the originally scheduled time. We heard Mr. Page himself make claims, and assertions that everything was great and will only get better. Yet the algo’s don’t seem to care. As of this writing the stock is not only falling farther – it seems the algo’s don’t care for the reasoning why they shouldn’t continue. After all, they are in control now of Google’s material (stock) and they can do with it what they wish. In their world, they are judge and jury. Google is just another user like us.

Maybe Google should look on the HFT sites as for the proper forms (or F.A.Q.’s page) to fill out if they feel wronged. After all, that’s what you do on their site if you have an issue, or you’ve been harmed by a possible mistake by the algo’s.

I wonder if they’ll be a question to answer on the form like: “Did this answer help you?” Because if it’s anything like mine. I’m still waiting for an answer.

© 2012 Mark St.Cyr