September 30, 2023 at 5:29 p.m. PST
- Core Web Vitals is Google’s initiative to measure and rank websites based on real-world performance metrics.
- Chrome users opting into data sharing provide real metrics used in Core Web Vitals assessments.
- Stark differences between Core Web Vitals, other page speed tests, and Google’s direct page speed assessment indicate an unrealistic relationship between a site’s performance and supposed “real-world” data.
- Sites with favorable coverage of Google products, like The Verge and The New York Times, appear to have excellent Core Web Vitals scores, defying all other metrics.
What Is Core Web Vitals?
Over the past years, user experience has become a deciding factor in Google Search rankings. While a poorly designed and hosted site can rank well due to superior content or large corporate ownership (which Google mislabels as “authority”), performance statistics, such as loading speed and layout shift, are often critical to determining who’s number one.
As bad as Google’s corporate favoritism and YouTube-pushing are for independent publishers, CWV is yet another affront to the World Wide Web. While no one owns the Web, Google’s de facto monopoly on search, coupled with a clear favoritism for large, corporate websites, were bad enough. Then they let YouTubers rip off our content, pushing them to the top of SERPs to hog up more revenue. Now the Mountain View Web monopolists appear to be rigging performance stats to favor large corporations with slow, poorly-designed websites crammed with (mostly Google) advertisements.
Google’s Core Web Vitals (CWV) initiative, introduced in May 2020, aimed to give web users access to top-quality websites. Employing real-world data collected through Google’s Chrome web browser, CWV promised an accurate website performance assessment.
The reality of CWV is quite different. The initiative appears to favor large corporate websites with poor user experience.
These corporate juggernauts mysteriously maintain remarkably impressive CWV scores despite failing multiple performance tests. It seems as genuine as Donald Trump’s SAT scores.
We’ll look at examples later in this article. You’re free to fact-check since anyone can run a Page Speed Insights test.
Revelations of Page Speed Insights
One enters a URL into Google’s Page Speed Insights report to obtain a Core Web Vitals and performance diagnostics assessment. If the page meets traffic requirements, the user first sees real-world data collected by the Chrome User Experience report (CrUX). Essentially, it tracks load time and other statistics that real-world users experience in Google’s Chrome browser.
The second part of a Page Speed Insights report is a diagnostic performance assessment based on an immediate, automated visit to the website. This section provides insight and tips for websites to improve performance. Once you’ve made all the changes, which may involve moving to a new host or dedicated server, your scores should be at or near 100.
The direct assessment test also provides metrics on some CWV indicators, particularly Largest Contentful Paint (LCP). When you compare the direct test with real-world data, things start to smell fishy.
Over the years I’ve worked with Core Web Vitals, I’ve taken the liberty to test other sites, and I’m baffled by what I see. Major websites, like The Verge, score mediocre-to-abysmal direct assessment scores, yet their CWVs are stellar. It simply does not compute.
It’s not just Google’s page speed test. Pingdom, GTMetrix, and every other page speed test indicate that The Verge is mediocre or worse. How do they achieve superior CWVs when every other test shows they can’t possibly deliver these real-world speeds?
I have a 300+ Mbps Internet connection and a brand new Mac, and The Verge loads slowly and offers a poor user experience. Clearly, something is rotten in Mountain View.
Appledystopia.com has scored excellent direct assessments in Google and every third-party page speed test for the past year. Virtually all four “circle” indicators are at or near 100 out of 100 on every Appledystopia page. Nonetheless, the real-world data is way out of line with reality.
Contrasting this dynamic with a major corporate website is quite the opposite. They tend to have poor direct page speed assessments yet earn stellar CWVs.
A direct page speed assessment and real-world data should only have a small-to-moderate difference. After all, some people may be visiting your site with a slow computer or a latent Internet connection. A site catering to an upscale crowd can expect users with faster Internet connections and devices. But what I found is so far off from reality it cannot be a statistical anomaly.
Google may use Core Web Vitals to manipulate and justify web rankings. Sites creating Google-favorable content seem to defy all logic, earning near-perfect CWV with poorly designed, slow websites crammed with advertisements.
There’s definitely a motive to inflate CWVs for Google-friendly sites. It’s a way to reward websites for creating positive content about Google. Also, more people will read the favorable Pixel review, as it ranks higher. Since Google serves many ads, it’s another point scored for the Web’s monopolist.
I have no proof that Google uses Core Web Vitals to reward friendly websites, but the evidence is compelling. Let’s take a look.
Theory: How Google Tampers With Core Web Vitals
Real-world data for Core Web Vitals comes from the Chrome User Experience report, also known as CrUX. Google stores individual records of Chrome web visits in a database. As a site owner, I can access the data but cannot modify it.
It’s a smart move because if any government agency were to audit the data, it would smell like roses. Of course, a Google employee can modify the data and delete any trace of impropriety.
These days, you don’t need a paper shredder. With the right permissions, a few lines of SQL and some terminal commands will make a poorly-configured, slow site pass Core Web Vitals.
It’s so easy even an English major could ask a below-average Google employee to do it. (There’s plenty of both in Silicon Valley these days. If you’re wondering why tech products are buggy and lack innovation, it’s from tribalism, tokenism, cronyism, racism, and lack of merit in hiring.)
CrUX hacking can occur clandestinely. For all we know, Google-friendly sites don’t even ask for this treatment or know about it. Someone at Google notices the Pixel love and decides to share more with the world by tampering with a Google-friendly site’s CWVs so they rank higher. It’s not only possible but seems probable just from observing publicly available information.
Again, there’s no way to prove Google does this, but it’s certainly feasible for them to tamper with CWVs. It aligns with the organization’s lack of moral values and desperation to have some market traction with its failing Pixel lineup. There’s both a motive and the ability to do it, and observing the black box, this seems to be happening.
What I have seen over the years is simply inexplicable. Poorly configured sites pass CWV with flying colors, but blazing-fast independent websites seem to fail or barely pass.
The fact that Google lets users look at real-world data is all the more suspicious. A company so guarded about the inner workings of Google Search is remarkably “transparent” about CWVs. The honesty may be a guise.
If anyone becomes suspicious of obvious discrepancies, the CrUX database rationalizes the irrational. Any audit will show reliable data backing the report. Either visitors are plugging their new M2 MacBooks directly into The Verge’s servers, or someone is fudging the data. You don’t get those real-world results with D-grade performance.
Evidence of Core Web Vitals Manipulation for Google-Friendly Websites
The methodology for gathering this evidence is simple, and you’re free to do this yourself. Anyone can run page speed tests on any website. I used the following tools:
Only Google offers a performance test that monitors supposed “real-world” data. Having a popular browser helps. Other speed testing tools would need to convince users to install a plugin to observe real users and persist the data for hundreds of millions of websites. They’d never really have enough clients to provide accurate real-world tests. Even with Chrome’s extensive user base, the “real-world” data is grossly inaccurate.
Real-world data shouldn’t matter. If a site is fast, as determined by global test servers, that speed is available to all users. It’s a much more objective measure of page speed than leaving it up to random users or even saboteurs.
With servers located across the world, Google should be able to determine page performance objectively without relying on random users with unknown Internet connections. Anyone, including Google, can tamper with “real-world” data results.
Why would Google, a company that prides itself in managing massive amounts of data with accuracy, decide to assess web performance in such a nebulous fashion? It could be a mechanism to favor large corporate websites with poor design but a strong appreciation for Google products.
When you compare The Verge’s page speed tests to real-world CWVs, it’s obvious that such impressive scores are impossible. Compare The Verge’s data to the page performance statistics for this site (Appledystopia.com), which has a high-speed design running on a dedicated server with 80+ CDN PoPs worldwide.
My CDNs cache the entire dynamic page, not just assets. I have one of the fastest sites in the world, yet I still fail desktop CWVs and barely pass mobile. The results don’t make sense!
First, let’s look at The Verge’s desktop page speed assessment in Google’s Page Speed Insights. These are from the objective speed assessment and not based on “real-world” data.
Largest Contentful Paint: 1.3s
Compare this to the “real-world” data, and it doesn’t make sense:
(There’s no real-world performance score.)
Largest Contentful Paint: 0.9s
If you look at the real-world data, The Verge not only passes, they ACE it. Do all of their visitors connect laptops to their data center with ethernet cables? Did they hire an offshore company to boost real-time performance scores with click-farms? That’s the only way one could achieve such numbers. Either that or have Google alter them in return for favorable coverage. Which explanation is the simplest and most likely?
Now let’s take a look at appledystopia.com, which is one of the fastest sites in the world, according to every speed test and measurement, except Core Web Vitals:
Largest Contentful Paint: 0.3s
Notice that my LCP score is more than four times faster than The Verge’s. Now let’s look at the bizzaro world of Core Web Vitals and supposed “real-world” data:
Largest Contentful Paint: 2.6s
How can my LCP be so grossly inflated? It’s almost nine times higher than the diagnostic report. I’ve been checking page speed for years and doing tests from various locations around the world. There are four possibilities.
One theory is that all our visitors have Commodore 64s with dial-up connections and live far from any of our 80+ global PoPs. I doubt this.
The other possibility is that Google alters CWV scores for independent websites that don’t mindlessly love the Mountain View search giant. Perhaps because we focus on Apple products and don’t write sycophantic reviews of the Pixel, we’ve been demoted through data manipulation.
Thirdly, Google may have made a coding mistake they haven’t discovered in years. Despite the abundance of “clever” Stanford grads, Google’s products tend to be buggy. As it stands, they don’t seem to know how to parse XML, based on a long-standing bug with dates in Google search results.
It’s also possible that a competitor is dragging down our CWV score through sabotage. All they need to do is throttle their Internet speed and connect to a website via VPN from various locations to make it seem legit. I’m sure offshore companies will happily do this for any s**tbag with cash, no talent, and poor moral values.
An offshore click farm can easily beat any scam checking that Google does. They hire people for next to nothing to avoid bot detection. It’s well known that black hat agencies exist and thrive on such projects.
Regardless of the gross disparity’s cause, it cannot be based on reality. If CWV is based on legitimate user data, our visitors must all have Commodore 64s, dial-up connections, and live thousands of miles from any of our 80+ PoPs because our LCP is inflated nine times from any actual test.
The other issue is, how do I fix this? I can’t. I have optimized my site to the extreme. I get 100/100 on all four metrics with stellar times for every other statistic in the objective diagnostic assessment.
I’m running on an expensive dedicated server. Yet the site still fails Core Web Vitals because it’s based on grossly inaccurate data, if it’s even based on anything at all. For all we know, it’s a completely fabricated statistic.
Regarding The Verge, how does a site with major performance issues and a poor performance score obtain such high CWVs? Their pages take a long time to load.
How does everyone else in the world get them to load so quickly, which is necessary to obtain such high CWVs? Do all of The Verge’s readers have T1 lines, Cray supercomputers, and happen to live next to their data centers? Other than that, Google tampering with CWVs as a reward for loyalty and favorable reviews is a strong possibility.
It may be a software defect. Google Search has a lot of them. But the simplest explanation that fits with Google’s interaction with large corporate publishers is that it’s a quid-pro-quo situation where Google inflates CWVs for corporations concocting favorable product reviews, like The Verge.
Google’s Chummy Relationship With The Verge
Google and The Verge get along so well that the Mountain View search giant hired ex-Verge executive editor Dieter Bohn to work on “the future of Google’s platforms”. Living in Silicon Valley, he’s the only one I know who works high up at Google with such poor credentials.
His personal website is so poor, it’s likely he had drunk squirrels design it. He wouldn’t know an AVL tree from a pine tree. But this is par for the course in Silicon Valley. We have complete nincompoops in the highest echelons of technology, often due to an unethical and clandestine quid-pro-quo arrangement.
One of the top technology leaders at a Fortune 5 company I worked at didn’t have a college degree. He claimed to be a techie, yet nothing he ever said or did provided evidence of any engineering background. He forced every department to switch to IBM products, then, when he was squeezed out, ended up at… IBM! What a coincidence.
This is how the world works. Decent, intelligent people earn employment through merit and hard work. Others connive, manipulate, and bulls**t their way through life. If you’re a certain type of person, you can go very far with a pale complexion and buzzword BS.
Let’s just say, I haven’t seen a single Indian man or woman with an English degree working as a director of engineering, engineering manager, or software engineer. About half of the software engineering managers I’ve had are white men with liberal arts degrees who barely know how to use email. They got the job because they’re related to someone, they belong to a specific ethnic group, or they did favors for their current employer while at their previous employer.
I know a 55-year-old VP from a major software company who was rejected by Google because his SAT scores weren’t high enough. Despite his accomplishments, Google still judged him based on a standardized test he took almost 40 years ago!
Google is known for high standards, so what explains Dieter Bohn’s hiring? Does Google need an English major to design the future, or are they rewarding a dear friend with a sinecure?
Google, a company known to favor Stanford STEM grads with perfect SATs, really seemed to slum it when hiring Dieter Bohn, a graduate of the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. It could be the five years he spent working on a graduate degree he never earned in a subject largely based on the language he grew up with.
Where are the high standards when it comes to hiring Dieter Bohn? On paper, he’s a loser who schmoozed his way into a modicum of success. They’re a dime a dozen in the Valley — narcissistic white boys with English degrees who somehow end up in the higher echelons of technology because they (just barely) know how to use an iPhone. In my experience, it’s either tribalism, cronyism, or corruption.
It appears to be another favor in exchange for positive Google coverage. Living and working in Silicon Valley, I know he’s not Google material — not even for a customer support representative.
If you look at The Verge’s coverage of any Google product, it’s nothing but favorable. For example, if you search for “The Verge Pixel review,” you’ll read nothing but praise.
Again, I cannot prove a quid-pro-quo relationship, but it seems fishy. Dieter Bohn’s hiring defies Google’s standards by far. The Verge is almost sycophantic when it comes to Google products. (It would be more believable if they toned it down a little.) Then, when you look at The Verge’s illogically inflated CWVs, something strange is happening. It smells like a fish market in mid-summer.
Google’s History of Publisher Abuse
The company that pledged to “do no evil” seems to think that monopolizing the World Wide Web and using it to manipulate reality is just a misdemeanor. It’s high treason.
This isn’t Instagram. Google doesn’t legally own the Web, but since everyone finds websites through search engines, they are a de facto monopoly on a worldwide public network.
I’m paying over $250 a month to host a website. Appledystopia has been around for over a decade. Independent web publishers have a lot at stake, and Google IS the WWW, for worse, not better.
For all these reasons, Google’s monopolization of search necessitates perfect objectivity, which is not the case. The notion that Google may alter Core Web Vitals to assist friendly corporate publications doesn’t come out of a vacuum. Google has a well-established pattern of putting its thumb on the scale.
The Department of Justice is currently involved in a massive lawsuit against Google regarding its treatment of web publishers.
“One industry behemoth, Google, has corrupted legitimate competition in the ad tech industry by engaging in a systematic campaign to seize control of the wide swath of high-tech tools used by publishers, advertisers, and brokers to facilitate digital advertising.”
The DOJs complaint is completely in line with our Google experience. They’re f**king independent publishers and rigging the system for their sycophantic darlings. Google News is even worse, but that’s another story…
Google, once again, seems to leverage its tools to favor large corporate websites in return for positive coverage of Google products. If you’re really keen on Google, they may even hire you to do nothing with little basis in merit.
The Verge is Exceptionally Greedy
It takes two to tango, and Google’s dance partner is one of the most mercenary websites on the Net. In fact, one of the reasons it scores so poorly on every page speed test, except Core Web Vitals, is because it’s crammed with so many ads. Many of the advertisements are served by and profit Google.
Blogger Les Orchard discovered that visiting The Verge’s home page exposes users to over 20 advertisers. Although he wrote this almost a decade ago, the situation is worse today.
The first thing one sees at the top of The Verge home page is a massive ad that takes up a quarter of the window (on an enormous monitor). Normally, such practices result in poor rankings — particularly above-the-fold advertisements. Users should see the content first, not ads.
Much like CWVs, The Verge seems to defy every rule that applies to normal publishers. Google does this with YouTube as well.
If someone like Pewdie Pie pays some poor, desperate Indians to hold up a massively hateful sign, Google will keep earning wealth with their YouTube star. They’ll ban an ordinary user for commenting that many Americans were refugees from Ireland. That’s considered hate speech for a normal YouTube user.
In every other measure, The Verge should rank poorly, but they’re crushing it. It’s clear Google gives them favorable treatment, much like a racist YouTube star or anyone else who can boost profits.
How Important Is the Core Web Vitals Report?
While many try to downplay Core Web Vitals as a tie-breaker, this is simply not the case. Anyone who operates a website can see the influence of Core Web Vitals on rankings. A few high-quality studies also show Core Web Vitals metrics have much more impact on ranking than Google or search engine “experts” admit or realize.
In a recent article, Search Engine Land dismisses the importance of Core Web Vitals as a ranking factor, claiming that on-page content is more important. Regarding the upcoming move to replace First Input Delay (FID) with Interaction to Next Paint (INP), Search Engine Land minimizes the impact:
“Don’t be concerned. First off, nothing is changing today, in fact, you have several months to improve your INP score, if you wish. Plus, this is one score in all of the core web vitals scores, which is one piece of the page experience aspect of Google Search. And page experience is also one small piece of the overall search ranking algorithm. Keep in mind, relevance is the most important factor, not how great your INP score is.”
In the real world, other websites rip off content and rank higher, often because of superior Core Web Vitals scores or because they’re an established large corporate brand. The notion that your high-quality, relevant content will remain yours is not a given.
It’s more likely that a slow, bloated corporate website will steal your work, paraphrasing it enough to evade legal action. A properly functioning search engine would punish such behavior, but Google seems to reward large corporate websites for soft plagiarism and predatory behavior. They’re a chip off the ‘ol Google block, running strategies from Leland Stanford’s playbook.
As you’ll see later in this article, Google takes it further, seemingly swaying CWVs for larger, established websites, especially if they write favorable reviews of its products. Furthermore, many studies indicate that the three chosen Core Web Vitals stats were critical to top rankings even before Google imposed the initiative, and they continue to become more important.
In other words, for Core Web Vitals, Google selected three statistics that already worked well for large, corporate websites. Whether Google directly adjusts data for certain websites or not, cherry-picking the three metrics that already pushed some large corporate sites to the top shows the company’s lack of support for search neutrality.
A comprehensive study conducted by Searchmetrics on the eve of the CWVs initiative found that Google was already favoring sites with the proposed metrics before the initiative began. The study found that most top-ranking search results already met CWVs standards. YouTube was the only site consistently ranked at the top of search results with poor performance. (YouTube still performs poorly today, yet remains at the top of most of Google’s SERPs.)
Searchmetrics brushes this off as the result of YouTube’s popularity. Since Google doesn’t reveal its search algorithms, we don’t know why YouTube ranks so high with such poor CWVs. Is it relevant when you’re searching for a website, and Google jams the top five slots with poor-quality YouTube videos?
Today, we can see that Google replaced Web search with “All” search to further promote its video streaming subsidiary, at the expense of Web publishers. YouTubers often create videos based on Web content without the original author’s consent. YouTube videos almost always rank higher due to Google’s inbred favoritism. It appears to be another way to allow a massive company to prosper at the expense of independent Web publishers.
Indeed, YouTube built its success on ripping off content, demanding that original creators police their own work. Even for large record labels, this proved challenging. As pop musician Trent Reznor points out, YouTube steals from original creators:
“Personally, I find YouTube’s business to be very disingenuous. It is built on the backs of free, stolen content, and that’s how they got that big. I think any free-tiered service is not fair. It’s making their numbers and getting them a big IPO and it is built on the back of my work and that of my peers… I’ve dedicated my whole life to this craft, which, for a variety of reasons, is one that people feel we don’t need to pay for anymore.”
Google allows and enables large corporate websites with famous branding to steal content from other web pages, ranking them higher. They don’t even need decent CWVs. The large corporate status is considered “authority”. They also connive backlinks to boost rankings.
The motive may be to earn more revenue, as many of these sites host Google’s ads. After all, if an independent site can get 1500 views per day on a webpage, a corporate site can steal it and get two or three times as many views, enriching Google while scroogling the independent publisher.
TikTok outperforms YouTube on CWVs and performance testing, and it’s a more popular website, yet you don’t see its videos crammed at the top of search results. This seems to indicate that Google is taking advantage of its search monopoly to enrich subsidiaries and crush competitors.
At least 50 of our articles were made into YouTube videos without our consent or even a fraction of compensation. This is yet another complaint I filed with the FTC. You can do this too!
Google Search liaison John Mueller admits that Core Web Vitals is not just a tie-breaker, but that “relevance” (a nebulous factor that Google doesn’t fully explain) is still paramount:
“It is a ranking factor, and it’s more than a tie-breaker, but it also doesn’t replace relevance.”
Once again, relevance is often stolen from one website and re-attributed to another. Despite abundant evidence showing when an article was published, the Mountain View search monopoly rewards soft plagiarism, especially when a Google-friendly corporate website does it.
One of our top-ranking articles averaged 1500 page views daily for over five years. Today, it gets about 45 and ranks at an average of 4.5. It’s still the iPhone’s original, most relevant, and factually correct battery calibration guide.
The current top-ranking site ripped off our content, added some extra steps that may damage an iPhone, and now they rank higher. They’re not original. They don’t have authority, at least in terms of the author’s education, experience, and knowledge. Their instructions will deteriorate an iPhone’s battery and diminish its lifespan. They fail CWVs miserably. The only thing going for them is that they’re a large, corporate website that adores Google.
We don’t know how Google ranks websites. Google Search is a black box, and the few “views” into its inner workings seem to mislead more than shed light on its operations. In my experience, working as a Silicon Valley enterprise Java software engineer for 20+ years, with 11 years as a WordPress developer, it’s based on branding.
If you’re a big brand website, you can steal content, offer bad advice, and run a slow website. All of this ranking power seems mostly attributable to backlinks and a warped concept of authority where a software engineer is less knowledgeable of technology than an English major.
Corporation Size, Branding, and Stature Appear to Be the Most Important Ranking Factors
The ranking factors that few discuss are corporation size, branding, and stature. In 11 years of running this site, it’s clear that Google favors the organization much more than the content. I’ve seen 150-word click-bait articles from Reuters that rank first but are, by definition, thin content.
Google seems to rank websites primarily based on organizational stature, not relevance. Corporation size and market share also seem to outweigh CWVs, mobile friendliness, content comprehensiveness and completeness, and above-the-fold ads. If you’re big enough, Google will give a website top rankings despite offering users a poor experience. It seems more like quid-pro-quo or collusion than putting the user first.
Large corporate sites like The Verge, Wired, and others don’t hire techies or coders to write about technology. They hire liberal arts majors from mediocre to below-average universities and pay them appropriately low wages. Their writers don’t have technical backgrounds, so they steal knowledge from experts and pass it off as their own efforts. Google’s bizzaro assessment of authority values a history major’s content over someone who wrote code in Silicon Valley for 20+ years because the writer with the BA in history works for a major corporate website.
CWVs coupled with Google’s absurd concept of authority is the death knell for high-quality technology content. When Google and these corporate websites put knowledgeable, authoritative writers out of business, who will they steal from? Who will write the content for their AI systems to steal? The web will become an echo chamber of idiocy with AI based on the knowledge of history and English majors from below-average universities.
Not only is this practice unethical and illegal (they monopolized the web and used it to prefer large, corporate websites with Google-friendly narratives), but it’s killing the golden goose. Who will these big corporate sites steal from when technology experts stop writing because there’s no incentive?
Google’s Known Favoritism For A Handful of Large, Corporate Media Websites
Google’s apparent favoritism for a handful of large, corporate media websites doesn’t come from a vacuum. The Columbia Journalism Review studied the matter and arrived at the same conclusions. They admit no one knows how Google ranks everything, but even from the outside, it’s obvious that they provide a massive boost for a few large corporate media websites.
In conjunction with the Computational Journalism Lab at Northwestern, a study found that the vast majority of Google News Top Stories overwhelmingly favor three large media outlets — CNN, The New York Times, and The Washington Post.
The research also produced a conclusion that cannot be fully substantiated due to Google’s opacity. They also seem to feel this is a move to enhance revenue:
“News source concentration on Google implies an unequal capture of attention and its benefits, including any advertising or potential subscription revenue that might result.”
Why would Google allow three organizations to dominate its web-based news portal? It gives them a PR advantage. Instead of having to influence hundreds of media outfits, Google PR can build relationships with three organizations. They can also control these media providers to use mostly Google advertising, which appears to be the case.
It appears that Google monopolized the Web and now controls and shapes traffic for profit. Leland Stanford would be so proud!
Actions do have consequences, and independent publishers can fight back. We’ll look at how to file a complaint with the FTC in a subsequent section.
Google’s Unsavory Relationship With The New York Times
In researching this article, something that should have been blatantly obvious came to light. Sometimes when things are so close, they’re difficult to observe. It’s similar to olfactory fatigue, where a consistent smell is no longer apparent. The putrid smell of corporate greed and monopoly is singeing my nose hairs after experiencing the truth.
Thanks to Columbia Journalism Review’s insight on Google’s chummy relationship with Big Media, I conducted further research revealing a tight connection between The New York Times and Google. While the association is neither secret nor illegal, it’s clear that Google is manipulating Core Web Vitals for The New York Times.
Since web publishers pay to host content on the Internet, we expect some semblance of search neutrality. What little we had a decade ago evaporated in a confluence of greedy tricks and collusion. Core Web Vitals is yet another way to favor large media conglomerates at the expense of independent websites.
The WWW is not Instagram or Twitter, where the companies host users’ content. Google does not own the Web or our content. As a de facto monopoly, they’re letting the New York Times drive a big, slow truck in the fast lane while making Ferraris and Porsches hobble on the shoulder.
It can’t be a mistake or coding error because Google employs geniuses from Stanford. Given the warped statistics, it appears web publishers are on some kiddie ride where the steering wheel does absolutely nothing.
First, let’s look at the publicly established relationship between Google and The New York Times. Then we’ll examine how this favoritism seems to warp Core Web Vitals in the NYT’s favor.
The New York Times and Google have an established relationship. In May 2023, the two companies cemented a $100 million deal to feature New York Times articles in Google News Showcase. If you use Google News, this is why you see the NYT at the top of every news page, even if you use “incognito” (yeah, right, that’s the ticket) mode. I’m sure you’ve also noticed that almost a third of the stories in Google News come from the Times.
Given that Google News is a curated affair, this is perfectly legal. Would you want to use a news service biased toward one source?
Google Search is a different matter. Since the company monopolized web search, search neutrality is imperative. With its various publications and liaisons, the Mountain View Web monopolist insists that search is neutral. It’s the same company that pledges to “do no evil” while making Leland Stanford smile in his grave.
Before the 2023 deal with the Times, Google was already favoring the publication, along with CNN and The Washington Post, according to the Columbia Journalism Review. The agreement seems to indicate that the preference was no accident. Again, Google is full of Stanford geniuses, so there are no mishaps. We can only assume that the dirty business practices stem from robber baron roots.
The dirty tricks aren’t as obvious. One needs experience with Internet publishing and web performance tuning to realize how Google or the publisher tamper with Web performance and usability statistics. Even then, it took me over two years to realize that Core Web Vitals is a complete sham.
Once again, we see a Core Web Vitals report for The New York Times that defies reality, considering they’re mediocre to failing in all other web performance tests. It’s even beyond what we see with The Verge. They could only attain these scores through data manipulation.
It’s true that the New York Times passes the three statistics Google uses for Core Web Vitals, but just barely. Given that real-world users have less-than-ideal connections and devices, the actual user data should be worse than tests conducted by fast, well-equipped servers. For every other independent website, they are.
Also, notice the Times only passes the three statistics Google defines for CWV. Google cherry-picked three statistics a large corporate site could attain, but other page speed tests are much more comprehensive.
Google claims to be a champion of large data, and its awesome Stanford “nerds” just love statistics and math. Why doesn’t Google look at a more accurate and complete picture of page speed and user experience? Core Web Vitals seems to be a mechanism to favor large, corporate websites that have a friendly relationship with Google.
Beyond selecting three statistics that large websites can barely achieve, the company seems to modify CWV data to make it seem like a poorly performing site is actually fast and offers an excellent user experience. It’s the same grade inflation they enjoyed at Stanford, where they learned how to collude and cheat their way into billions at the public’s expense.
Let’s look at the data. You’ll see it makes no sense at all:
Get FTC Involved in Removing Core Web Vitals and Restoring Search Neutrality to the Web
Core Web Vitals is a grossly inaccurate evaluation of website performance. Instead of an objective ranking factor, it may serve as a mechanism for rewarding sites with favorable coverage of Google products.
You can test The Verge over and over with a variety of tools. Their site will NEVER DELIVER a 0.9-second desktop LCP. Either Google is helping them out, it’s a defect, or someone is plugging laptops directly into their webservers and visiting their site repeatedly. Those are the only possible explanations for this disparity.
Whether this is a coding error or a nefarious scheme has yet to be determined. As a web publisher, I have limited resources to pursue the matter. As a taxpayer, I realize the Federal Trade Commission is the best agency to handle this.
If you operate a website and feel that your CWVs don’t make sense, you, too, can file a complaint with the FTC. It’s easy to do and only takes a few minutes.
The complaint is limited to 3500 characters. I recommend writing up the bulk of your experience ahead of time in a separate text editor to avoid losing work in the event of a session timeout.
Ideally, Core Web Vitals should be eliminated as a ranking factor and replaced with a direct and accurate representation of site performance. If you continually score perfect (or close) on every page speed test but have poor CWVs, the system is working against you.
In my case, I upgraded this site to run on a dedicated server connected to 80+ CDN points of presence worldwide. It’s not cheap. My site is one of the fastest in the world. I’m well past the 28-day window of CWV “real-world” data aggregation, and I still see abysmal data that simply does not mesh with reality.
I see sites like The Verge with noticeably slow user experience. You don’t even need to run a page speed test. The Verge loads noticeably slowly, even on a fast broadband connection and a new computer or smartphone.
How do they pass Core Web Vitals with such a poorly designed site crammed with ads? It could be a software defect in Google Search. Perhaps it’s a conspiracy. It’s best to let the FTC determine this.
Devil’s Advocate: Google Owns Search and Can Do As It Pleases
For those Ayn Rand and Leland Stanford fans out there who believe the great man should do as he pleases, let’s look at the argument in favor of allowing Google to use its search monopoly in a predatory manner.
The argument goes that Google is a corporation in a free market system. It attained a search monopoly fairly and has every right to use it to its advantage. If you dislike Google, you can use Bing, DuckDuckGo, Yahoo, or another search engine (that no one uses.)
Our tremendous free market system enabled Google to emerge as an outstanding, high-quality company producing fantastic products and employing only the brightest minds. Google does no evil.
First, the United States is not an unfettered, free market system. For over a hundred years, it has busted trusts and monopolies for the betterment of society. Before the U.S. regulated corporations, people ate adulterated food and consumed poison sold as medicine. Do we want to return to the “good old days” when hot dogs were full of rat poop and human flesh?
Today, instead of contaminated foods, we all suffer from a company that took over the World Wide Web — a public network of computers. Such a network needs some search mechanism, much like your desktop operating system has a feature to search for files and other assets. We never asked for or expected one company to dominate Web search and exploit it to its advantage and others’ disadvantage.
Search neutrality is dead. Google killed it.
The approach to search should be the same as it is for email, file transfers, and other services built on public networks. The underlying search engine should be open, with ownership belonging to the public. Corporations like Google, Microsoft, and others can build on this.
With a value-added approach, they can still make mapping software and curated search (the status quo) with advertising, video portals, and other additions. This is what the Internet was supposed to be. It’s far from it today.
The problem with an open, public search utility is that most people would stop using Google. People don’t trust Google anymore. I don’t. I’m phasing out their products in my life. Unfortunately, Google Search is still the best search engine, which is an embarrassment to global computer science, because it sucks. I’ve shown this with repeated examples throughout this article.
If Google sucked like this back in the late 1990s, no one would have used it. We may have been AltaVista-ing instead of Googling. They fooled us into adopting an excellent, fair, unbiased search engine. After achieving a monopoly, they abused it, which is the point of such exclusivity in robber baron culture.
With a trusted, well-functioning, open-source search engine, Google and Microsoft would likely tap into the system instead of spending billions on developing and operating their own proprietary search engines. Many others would follow suit. You’d have a rebirth of search solutions, all based on one core search engine. Again, this is not good for Google.
A public, open-source search engine will probably never happen. We’re in a new Gilded Age, where the wealthy constantly fool a population with declining intellectual capabilities. Many admire billionaires and don’t believe they should be accountable for anything. After all, they may be a billionaire, too, someday.
Google chooses to reside in and serve a nation (and world) that regulates monopolies. It hires employees mainly in California, one of the most regulated states in the Union. The U.S., EU, India, Brazil, and many other nations have sued Google for anti-competitive behaviors. The DOJ is currently suing Google over collusion with Facebook in web advertising.
Google Search is an index of websites. Who created the websites? We did. Who pays to host the websites? We do. Who profits the most from our efforts? Google. Who favors a 150-word piece of junk because a corporate crony writes it? Google. Who tells you that your super-fast website isn’t up to snuff but a slow, bloated corporate website jammed with advertisements is fantastic? Google.
It’s true that I can use a different search engine. But 90% of the users who visit my website come from Google. For worse (or much worse), Google monopolized the Web and uses it to push its agenda — Android, Pixel phones, The New York Times, The Verge, CNN, and Wired. Cooperation with major corporate publishers violates search neutrality, enabling thin, shoddy content to outrank true expertise and authority.
Leland Stanford employed a similar strategy, which I believe Google’s founders took to heart. After establishing a railroad monopoly in Northern California, the robber baron charged farmers more to transport their crops than they were worth. When the farmers went bankrupt, good ‘ol Leland bought their land for next to nothing. (Do we want to go back to the days when hardworking farmers were scroogled out of their land and Americans paid a fortune for grains and produce because so much rotted away in the fields?)
Google’s strategy is a bit different. At least farmers got something for their land. Google took over the Web and used it to vastly favor a handful of online entities that push the Google agenda.
Google devised all sorts of hoops for independent publishers to waste our time — mobile friendliness, AMP, Core Web Vitals, and updates that “reform” Search (always in Google’s favor with a few bones for their cronies.)
Instead of working on quality content, I spend half my time fiddling with performance and reviewing reports. When we achieve optimal performance and quality, it doesn’t matter. Some excrement-laden corporate websites will steal our content and rank higher, with a lot of help from Google.
One of the latest Google Search updates claims to bring more reliability to product reviews. However, as shown in previous screenshots, the Mountain View search monopolist rigged the system to favor itself.
None of these “user-first” initiatives apply to Google’s cronies, who offer some of the worst user experiences. Google is a textbook example of monopolization and crony capitalism. It enforces rigorous standards on independent websites, while these rules either don’t apply or are manipulated for Google’s cronies.
Look at The New York Times. Its website is slow, bloated, and crammed with advertisements. Half of the pages are behind a paywall, which we don’t realize until 10 seconds after clicking the link.
I’m sick and tired of these corporate poop factories dominating the Web. I’m sick and tired of the clickbait and paywalls. The actual content is mediocre, with liberal arts graduates penning technology articles. Yes, they made a yellow iPhone. Whoopty doo. Can they write about technology with any depth or authority?
Google derives authority from corporate stature and cronyism. How else do liberal arts graduates with no technical skills rank number one with superficial smartphone reviews?
The problem with this favoritism is that it has ruined the World Wide Web, which is a PUBLIC NETWORK. No one looks for smartphone reviews by typing “https://www.smartphonereviews.com” into their browser’s address bar. Search engines are directories for the World Wide Web, and Google profits from our hard work and operational expenses. Google took over a public network and now uses it to its advantage.
As far as other search engines, they’re even worse. Bing is much more mercenary than Google. It can get away with a massively biased and slanted search engine because they’re not a monopoly. DuckDuckGo is based on Bing. Yahoo? Are you kidding me? No one uses it.
People aren’t buying iPhones because the Web is biased toward Apple. They prefer the iPhone. They perceive Android as a ripped-off product. Google’s increasing creepiness doesn’t ameliorate this situation.
I know many people who will never buy an Android phone because of Google’s unscrupulous behavior and pervasive, creepy spying. They also want to be able to text a woman and get a response. That green text bubble is a social stigma. You can get an iPhone for a few hundred bucks now. How do they try to sell Pixels? By doubling down on manipulating the Web.
The Pixel is a decent phone. I’ve seen some fantastic photographs taken on a Pixel. But most people want iPhones. Apple won the smartphone war. Aside from Sherlocking, Apple built an ecosystem enabling millions to thrive. Maybe billions. Google copied it. Many smartphone customers resent it. Others don’t know or don’t care, but they want to have girlfriends. If you want a free phone, get an Android.
Devil’s Advocate: Google Search Problems Are Due to Machine Learning
One of my favorite catch-all excuses excreted from the mouths of Moutain View execs is, “It’s due to machine learning.” It seems every time Google produces biased or unfavorable search results, the Stanford geniuses chalk it up to machine learning. Oops!
The argument goes that any embarrassing mistake or error in Google Search results from machine learning. Since Google isn’t open source, we can’t prove this either way.
First, I doubt AI and machine learning play as great of a role in Google Search as claimed. AI hype is mostly about enhancing stock value. Bard shows that Google sucks at AI, and Chat GPT is similarly inept. Google Search proves that its machine learning either doesn’t exist or is constantly malfunctioning. I believe the latter is true.
For all we know, Google Search is primarily conditional logic that selects data from some search-optimized data store built by its crawlers. We can’t see the source code, but I doubt they use machine learning beyond serving as a mantram to boost stock value.
The original Google didn’t use machine learning. They supposedly incorporated it over the years as search functionality deteriorated. The old Google was much better than what we have now. Can we bring that back?
Let’s suppose today’s Google uses state-of-the-art machine learning to drive your search queries. If true, Google may train its machine learning models to favor certain corporations, subsidiaries, and products. They could train their machine learning models to crush independent publishers and make the World Wide Web more friendly to a small clique of Google-friendly publishers.
Google could even train AI systems to be racist. Or it could be a mistake when Google Photos labeled a black couple as gorillas. Oops! Machine learning strikes again!
How are they training their systems where they have such results? I’ve poked around in Google and Bing and found appalling results for “black people” and other such queries. Many of it is so far to the right, even a certain 1930s historical figure would find it distasteful. Maybe do some QAT?
Machine learning doesn’t mean some AI brain is calling all the shots. Google can influence machine learning outcomes by training the system with bias. Judging by the results, this is what they’re doing, if they use machine learning much at all (beyond its stock-boosting PR value.)
Google Search is mostly the same as it ever was at its core. It’s more algorithms than AI. The AI BS is about inflating GOOG.
The New Payola
Back in the 1950s, a scandal emerged. Record labels paid radio stations to play music but didn’t disclose the transactions. These illegal and unethical bribes helped sell more records but also removed merit from the music industry. (Apart from a brief return in the 1970s, merit continues to evade most “artistic” industries in the United States.)
After legislators prohibited DJs from having any say in programming, taking these bribes became a misdemeanor offense. The payola scandal didn’t end there. The industry figured out new ways for record labels to influence radio payback.
Congressional action continued into 2007. Although radio has become almost obsolete, it’s probable that the practice still exists, with record labels vying for the best virtual real estate within music streaming apps. The problem is that the political will to fight these struggles has evaporated. Payola found its way inside Washington, D.C. Now that it’s greasing the right wheels, the will to do anything about corporate corruption is entirely absent.
The World Wide Web seems to have succumbed to this same type of wheeling and dealing. Instead of paying money directly, Google can exchange top rankings on lucrative search queries, such as shopping articles loaded with affiliate links.
Take, for example, the query “best Apple deals Amazon”. Who ranks number one with thin content, poor user experience, massive media bias, and abysmal page speeds? CNN. Our article features price tracking, better performance, improved usability, and more Apple products listed, but it’s ranked 30th right now. It gets about 60 page views a year and earns about $3 in Amazon affiliate earnings.
It’s well known that Google favors CNN for news, and the 24-hour news network rarely criticizes the Mountain View search giant. They’re busy hyping AI, all for the benefit of Google, so it appears they’re rewarded with the number one spot for an article with nothing but affiliate links.
Examining web pages that merely sell products and generate massive revenues, it’s clear that Google hands out top rankings to its cronies. This is the new payola. It exists on the Web, social media, and your music and video streaming apps. If you’re an independent publisher, this form of corruption works against you.
Advice for Independent Web Publishers: Don’t Publish Reviews, News, or Anything With Affiliate Links
Back in 2012, when I started this site, an independent publisher could rank for just about anything. I wrote an article about whether you should upgrade to a particular version of iOS. Essentially, it was a well-informed, authoritative review of an iOS update.
It went viral. I was getting 10,000 page views per day just for this one page. I decided to make it a regular feature. Then Forbes ripped it off, and I discontinued the series.
Two Forbes writers were the first to follow me on Twitter when I used social media. At first, I was flattered. Then I realized they were looking for ideas to poach because they have no skills and no original content ideas. They screwed me out of my top-ranking article, replacing it with fear-mongering clickbait that ranked high only because Google favors prominent corporate publications.
Today, things are different. Back in 2012, Google still had a monopoly on the Web, but they had yet to leverage a synergy of boosted rankings in exchange for content endorsements. At this point, they favored large media corporations but didn’t appear to be wheeling and dealing with them. It was still possible for an independent publisher to rank well with news or a product review.
Although Google owned YouTube, the parent company still kept Web searching somewhat netural for about a year after the acquisition. Leveraging its YouTube subsidiary, the company combined Web search into a “universal” search page but retained unique search capabilities for videos, images, photos, etc.
Isn’t it amazing that Google individuates images from photos but lumps all Web searches in with videos, images, and everything else? It’s not a decision that comes out of sound information architecture. It’s all about leveraging synergies — forcing YouTube onto people searching for a website.
Today, there is no way to search solely for websites on Google. It even has a separate search “tab” for sounds, but not for the World Wide Web, which they took over, removing any semblance of search neutrality.
If you’re getting into the web publishing business today, as an independent, my best advice is to stay away from news, reviews, and anything with affiliate links. Google only allows large, corporate publications such as CNN, The New York Times, The Verge, and a few others to prosper. Google even shuns many large, credible media outlets, indicating a tight relationship with a few.
Today, an independent publisher can only rank high with tutorials, at least if you’re writing about tech. All of the reviews go to Google-friendly corporations. The company’s May 2023 Search update was all about altering ranking for reviews. It’s clear they rigged their own system in favor of Google.
The only reason an independent publisher can rank high with how-to guides and tutorials is due to the fact that major, corporate publishers hire weak talent. They can’t produce a well-written, informative tutorial on how to calibrate an iPhone’s battery, but they can rip it off, and often rank higher.
That’s right. Even though an independent publisher can possibly outrank a large, corporate website with an informative tutorial, the latter can rip it off and rank higher. It’s happened with most of the articles on this site. This, along with the crooked Core Web Vitals scheme, resulted in my engagement with the FTC.
The problem is that the World Wide Web is a public network. We create the content and pay to host it on our servers. I’ve spent countless hours performance tuning this site to perfection, only to see some BS corporate site crammed with ads with content written by morons outrank not only me but every other decent, independent website crafted by knowledgeable experts.
You may have worked in tech your whole life. You may have graduated with honors from a top university. It doesn’t matter. Your iPhone review will be on page 10 of Google Search results. At the same time, someone with an English degree from a below-average college who barely knows how to use an iPhone will rank number one because they work for a major corporate publication in an often undisclosed relationship with Google.
You can fight back. I’ve filed over five complaints with the FTC against Google’s domination and manipulation of the Web. It only takes a few minutes to file a complaint.
Authorities may do something if they realize that independent web publishers are being scroogled. These are lawyers. They don’t understand the technical side or the implications. If you explain it to them, it gives them ammunition to use against Google.
They might not handle your complaint directly, but the FTC could share it with other agencies currently battling Google. For example, the DOJ is involved in a massive lawsuit surrounding Google’s alleged collusion with Facebook to divide up the digital advertising business.
If Google were forced to sell off YouTube, that, alone, would be huge for independent Web publishers. I also think restoring a Web-only search engine would be fair to publishers and search users while making sense in terms of information architecture.
Google will let you independently search for images and photos, but they rammed a billion websites under a universal search. We know why they did this. It was to push YouTube onto people searching for websites. Just these two changes will have a massive impact, but expect Google to continue forging alliances with friendly media companies to manipulate favorable product reviews.
The most significant change that should happen (but probably won’t) would be the end of Google (or any other company) owning Web search. No one should own the World Wide Web, but Google stole it. You can use another search engine, but 90% of your visitors will come from Google. No one ever asked for Google to take over the World Wide Web. The least they could do is pay our hosting!
Imagine if you were driving down the street in your average car and someone in a fluorescent safety vest flags you down and tells you to stop. He does this to all average cars, allowing only expensive cars to pass and drive at full speed. It happens over and over, with different agents in flourescent vests forcing your vehicle to yield to superior automobiles. They’re not cops. They don’t work for the DOT. They’re just some goons hired by a corporation to help the wealthy get to work on time.
This fictitious scenario is equivalent to what Google has done to the Web. It’s as absurd as some jerk in a fluorescent vest telling you to pull over and let the wealthy drive freely. Indeed, the way Google appears to be manipulating Core Web Vitals is akin to slowing down or halting average cars while allowing corporate fleet vehicles preferred access to public roads.
All the progressive, woke sentiment is also a form of manipulation. Do you really think corporate news outlets care about people? They don’t care about black or white lives. They’re concerned about the lives of wealthy cronies. The culture wars are a distraction so that fat cats can grab all of the money and power. It’s divide and conquer, facilitated to a great extent by Google and a handful of duplicitous corporate media outlets. They call it the Google News Initiative.
I don’t expect liberation for the World Wide Web. It was stolen by a large corporation and manipulated for profit. But we should still strive for evenness in search, not only because it benefits independent websites, but because a manipulated Web is dangerous to society. We’ve seen the damage already; if we’re not careful, it will worsen.
Google’s Shabby Core Web Vitals Performance
For all of the fantastic Stanford grads, the Mountain View search giant is well-known for shabby products. Open GA4 on a smartphone, and you get an unusable web app. Yes, the same company that penalizes you for mobile unfriendliness doesn’t provide a mobile site for web analytics and many other services. Smartphones have only been around for over 15 years. Perhaps they’re too busy perfecting AI to create mobile versions of their web apps.
Google had about a half-dozen TV platforms, with the first Google TV (promoted by Kevin Bacon) being an attempt to rip off network programming, much like YouTube ripped off musicians and TV/movie studios. The first Google TV initiative, launched in 2010, shows the company’s hubris and ineptitude.
Google didn’t forge any network partnerships but instead decided to rip off their content. It’s a consistent pattern. Google does not respect intellectual property, be it the iPhone, music, videos, or your website. Most of its products are copies of existing technologies — even its search engine. Googlers thought TV networks would be delighted to have their content stolen by robber barons. Within days, the major networks all blocked Google TV. The poor suckers who bought into the platform were left with an expensive, goofy, computer-like device. The Logitech CEO who was scroogled into manufacturing the actual device was fired because most customers returned their Google TV units. Logitech lost $100 million on Google TV!
Google lost a lot of fanboys that year! Many of them soldiered on, purchasing every TV device sharted out by the Mountain View tech giant. After several iterations, paying customers finally have a few functional TV solutions from Google and its subsidiary. Unfortunately for Google, many competitors offered better TV devices and services years ago.
I could go on and on about half-baked Google products that fanboys paid big bucks to beta test. Remember Google Glass? How about Cardboard? At least that was inexpensive. I’ve never seen a company treat users so poorly, yet some remain devoted.
The cobbler’s children appear to wear no shoes in Mountain View. Despite Google’s Core Web Vitals initiative, most of the company’s Web properties fail miserably. You’ll also see what I believe to be CrUX hacking. Some Google properties are better than others and seem to pass CWVs despite showing lackluster performance on Google’s own diagnostic tests.
As you can see, Google fails most CWVs. Where they pass, Google’s diagnostic tests reveal this isn’t probable. The results are even worse if you test these sites in third-party tools. As an independent publisher, ultra-fast speeds might not result in passing CWVs. But, for Google and friends, anything is possible.
Does Google Do No Evil?
When Android first emerged, it spawned a war between fanboys in both camps. I remember bitter comments posted on this site, as well as others. Google is the great savior of the world, and Apple will enslave everyone. Over time, it appears the opposite is true. I should have branded this site “Googledystopia” because it’s one of the creepiest companies in the world.
Apple has its ethical issues; however, the company creates innovative devices and services that people enjoy using. Like all companies, it dodges taxes and creates a fake progressive front with lots of black and brown faces in PR and marketing materials and many white faces in corporate offices. However, Google’s reality distortion field seems to be the only product better than the Apple version.
At best, Apple can hype an iPhone. Google fooled many into believing they’re a philanthropic organization. The company’s main objective appears to be world domination over all information.
The few remaining Google fanboys may believe I’m just taking a dump on the Mountain View Web monopolists. They may have drank the Kool-Aid and believe that Google really makes the world a better place and the company does no evil.
Do you think it’s benevolent to dodge taxation? Is creating a news initiative based on Google products the best way to battle misinformation, or, if you graduated from Stanturd, “misinformatio”? How about colluding with other tech companies illegally, preventing employees from being hired at competing tech corporations?
We’ve already discussed how the Mountain View (or Dublin, Ireland) based company took control over a public network — the World Wide Web. Its partnership with large, corporate, pseudo-progressive news organizations such as CNN and The New York Times is bad for the public and independent publishers. However, as I explain later, it may be part of a plan to help re-elect Donald Trump.
The point of this discussion is not to smear Google but to show that the company is probably using Core Web Vitals (and other deceptive “tools”) in a disingenuous manner. Like many other Google initiatives, on the surface, it seems to improve user experience and fairness in rankings. As implemented, it’s a way to help Google-friendly websites while crushing independent web publishers. I’ll also show you how these crooked bricks unite to form a wall of corporate-friendly, highly biased misinformation that Google positions as the truth.
As with many Big Tech corporations, Google is really incorporated in Ireland. My cousin, an accountant, told me about how they dodge taxation. They sell patents to independent subsidiaries worldwide, so they’re only taxed on selling intellectual property, not products and services. Most Big Tech companies engage in this practice.
The company pledged to start paying taxes like the rest of us, but the abandonment of the double-Irish arrangement was required by law. (I operate an LLC registered in California and pay my taxes. I’ve probably paid more in taxes in my lifetime than all Google top brass put together.) Unfortunately, the company is still headquartered in Ireland, and the tax-dodging scheme apparently continues.
The Google News Initiative is where things start to get uniquely creepy for the Mountain View/Dublin, Ireland-based Web monopolists. The effort steers journalists into using Google’s products exclusively to research and present the news. It pushes YouTube heavily, along with Google tools for analyzing data and ascertaining the truth. This could allow Google to shape information to its advantage.
I’ve shown you how CNN is one of Google’s top partners. Google loves CNN so much that it rewarded the 24-hour news network with top rankings for shopping articles crammed with affiliate links that generate millions of dollars in revenue. This may be a form of payment for favors, as the article has no merit to rank #1 by Google’s standards. (Maybe it was machine learning?) It’s a great way to reward a corporation off the books, avoiding scrutiny from the public and authorities.
Did you know the former head of CNN, Jeff Zucker, also created the reality TV show “The Apprentice?” Yes, the former head of CNN created the reality TV show that put Donald Trump in every living room. He recently had to leave the company because of an undisclosed affair with an employee; however, his replacement seems to have doubled down on this 24/7 Trump agenda, even hosting a town hall for the supposed CNN-hating ex-President.
If you had a drinking game where you took a sip of non-alcoholic beer (which has a trace of alcohol) every time CNN mentioned Donald Trump, you would die of alcohol poisoning within an hour. CNN should be re-branded as TNN — Trump News Network. They say Trump more often than a Hare Krishna says “Krishna.” Although many other things are happening across the globe, the company remains fixated on Donald Trump 24 hours a day.
Some may be fooled into believing Jeff Zucker had a falling out with Trump, and CNN’s obsession with the former President is about keeping him in line. The truth appears to be that any form of publicity, either good or bad, is favorable to Trump. He even admits that bad publicity is desirable and controversy sells. That’s what Zucker and his replacement seem to offer.
Why wouldn’t large corporations want Trump to win? He lowered corporate tax rates, which they’ve lobbied for extensively. He also cut taxes for the wealthy. Last time I checked, most of Google’s top brass are extraordinarily rich and actively seeking ways to pay fewer taxes.
If corporations are considered people, Google may be a narcissistic sociopath. On the surface, it’s progressive, humanitarian, and saving the world. In reality, Google seems to be one of the worst corporations that ever existed, taking strategies right out of Leland Stanford’s playbook.
We may never be able to prove a collusive plan between Big Tech and Big Media to re-elect Trump, but they have a motive. Remember what happened before Trump was elected? The nation wanted an outsider, and Bernie Sanders was crushing it. There was a real fear among the elites that Sanders would win. They might have to pay their fair share of taxes!
There’s a powerful motive to create a narrative that seems progressive but is nothing but “Trump, Trump, Trump” 24/7. You may see many black faces in Google marketing materials, but the Mountain View campus has so few African Americans they’re often absconded by security as outsiders. (That’s America’s caste system in action.)
I believe Google, CNN, and others are conspiring to re-elect Donald Trump. Isn’t it obvious? All they do is talk about Trump 24/7. The bad publicity engenders sympathy from his supporters. It makes him look like a poor victim — a classic sociopathic strategy.
I don’t care about Tweedledum or Tweedledumber. Whether Biden or Trump wins, we’re controlled by corporations. It’s not about the soul of the nation. It’s about which corrupt family gets to put their hand in the till. I stopped voting decades ago. The only political party I support is the Bharatiya Janata Party, but I can’t vote for them yet.
The point is that Google’s corruption may extend far beyond controlling the World Wide Web. Partnering with highly biased and deceptive news organizations, such as CNN, the company seems to enable and perpetuate the news provider’s Trump mantram.
You’d have to go to a mental institution to see anything as bizarre as CNN. It’s 24/7 “Trump, Trump, Trump.” It’s monomania. Do you think Jeff Zucker and his successor hate Donald Trump?
Putting this into perspective, Core Web Vitals may seem insignificant, but it’s another crooked brick in the wall. It appears to be part of a larger strategy to control not only the Web and news but reality itself. I’ve shown you that the scheme is pseudo-science. I believe it’s part of a larger pattern to legitimize corporate websites and demote independent publishers, who are more challenging to control.
The Hindu epic poem Mahabharat warns that a society built with such crooked bricks will only result in the entire wall falling down. (Maybe Mexico can pay to rebuild it?) Unfortunately, Google doesn’t seem to care. If they destroy Google, they’re already billionaires, even if the equity dries up. If they destroy this nation, they can bugger off somewhere else. It’s already happening.
Google’s AI: Hype and Misinformation
Google seems to be using Core Web Vitals to favor and enrich itself and its cronies. The Mountain View company also appears to be inflating AI capabilities to boost stock value. This is such an obvious and egregious attempt to boost stock value that I filed a complaint with the SEC and provided them with the same information presented in this article. Once again, I will dispel Google’s misinformation and hype, showing you that their AI can’t handle the basics.
Google execs claim they are battling misinformation on the Internet. Unfortunately, as we’ve seen throughout this article, Google generates a lot of misinformation. Beyond failing basic tests that any decent AI system should handle with ease, it’s clear that Bard is just a wrapper around a profoundly flawed Google Search. Google’s AI rips off website content, often quoting passages verbatim; however, many of these top-ranking pages achieved their status from shady, black hat SEO tricks that fool its search engine every time.
I’ll show you how Google is scraping content from web publishers and using it in its AI tool. Once again, we see that Google has no respect for intellectual property. Far beyond robber barons, Google plunders the World Wide Web like a pirate. The company and its YouTube subsidiary have a long history of disrespecting intellectual property.
I recently went “Bladerunner” on Bard, probing the system with different Winograd tests. A Winograd test helps detect whether an unknown entity is a computer or a human. A decent AI system should outsmart any Winograd test since they’re well-known and published.
Perhaps Google engineers slept in that day at Stanford. (I’m sure they got an A anyway. They hand out A’s like Chiclets in Mexico.) But with a slight modification to throw off Bard, the University of Toronto professor’s Winograd schema challenge often defeats Google’s AI.
Google Bard passed many Winograd schema challenges, but I realized I was using a verbatim copy of published tests. Surely, Google’s engineers have addressed these, but perhaps with conditional logic and not artificial intelligence. Simply by changing a few names and places, Bard couldn’t disambiguate sentences that humans can interpret correctly with ease.
If you’re a web publisher, you have reason to be upset with AI. It’s not that AI can replace you. AI writers, including Bard, are full of factual errors. They often construct nice sentences and paragraphs, but the facts are usually wrong. The problem is more that AI is ripping off your content, or even worse, ripping off the guy who ripped off your content.
It’s a case of “garbage in, garbage out.” Because the quality of Google Search has deteriorated, Bard is being trained on rubbish. It’s a perfect example of karma. Google’s greed destroyed the integrity and neutrality of its search engine. Now its AI system is feasting on the refuse. Soon, people will use this junk to answer questions about work, life, and everything. That’s a scary future of mass misinformation brought to you by Google.
For example, if you ask Google’s AI about iPhone battery calibration, you’ll get an answer that actually deteriorates your iPhone’s battery. We based our battery calibration guide on information from Apple and Battery University. First, all new iPhones running recent versions of iOS will automatically calibrate the battery. Apple published documentation about this, but Google favored the number one ranking site, which is misinformative. (It’s possible that the page ranks number one because it’s lucrative for Google’s ad business.)
If you have an older iPhone or prefer to calibrate manually, you only need to drain the battery (which can be done when it’s running low through everyday use), charge it to 100%, and perform a soft reset. None of these facts made it into Bard’s answer because it scraped content from the top-ranking iPhone battery calibration article, which is rife with misinformation.
A competitor ripped off our work and added extra steps to fool Google into ranking it higher. It worked. So now, Google Bard is consuming and regurgitating garbage. Is this AI? No. It’s a slightly more sophisticated version of Google Search that puts on the appearance of AI.
Here’s another example of Bard consuming information from deeply flawed Google Search results. There are only 34 Apple TV channels. The number sometimes changes narrowly as some networks leave Apple’s program and others join. There aren’t 150 Apple TV channels. Not even close. It’s misinformation that Bard sucked into its system due to flaws in Google Search.
Google execs claim it’s an imperfect early version. Even mature Google products are of poor quality. Google Search was much better ten years ago. “Improvements” to the system removed search neutrality under the pretense of battling misinformation (or “misinformatio” if you graduated from Stanfurd.)
Other companies already have mature AI solutions. In Lucknow, India, an AI-powered robot performs knee replacement surgery better and cheaper than a human surgeon. Google Bard can only answer questions, often incorrectly and mostly by regurgitating web pages. Go Cardinal!
You’ve probably never heard of the advanced AI already used in India because Google, Meta, Microsoft, and a few Big Media corporations control your narrative. They want you to believe Google and a few cronies are at the helm of AI, when really, they’re on the poop deck looking back. Besides boosting stock value, Google’s AI serves little purpose and is far behind other efforts. The company simply doesn’t have the talent to create ground-breaking AI, so they generate a reality distortion field that would make Steve Jobs envious.
This is why they want to control all information. If you control all information, you can manipulate stock value, push your products, and crush competitors. Google’s motto should be “do no good.”
Google’s Misinformation Battle: The Fox is Guarding the Hen House
What position is Google in to battle misinformation when it is a purveyor of falsehoods? Beyond its AI, Google Search ranks factually incorrect articles as number one, even if they could damage your iPhone.
Google’s misinformation battle is like the fox guarding the hen house. Beyond numerous Google Search failures, partnering with CNN, one of the most biased news networks on the planet, is just a case of favoring one form of misinformation over another.
Remember how CNN hyperventilated over the Steel Dossier for years? That was a false report. It’s an echo chamber for Democrats, not a reliable news source. Will CNN help train Bard to regurgitate the Trump mantram too?
Once again, we see that Google considers anything from a favored corporation as truth. If a corporation rips off your web page and adds some BS to it, it’s true, and the original becomes less accurate.
Remember the chart with Google’s preferred news sources? This favoritism extends beyond Google News. You see this in virtually all Google searches, whether logged in or in “incognito” mode.
Google loves big corporations. Google believes CNN, The New York Times, The Verge, and Wired are arbiters of truth. Anyone with eyes and ears knows this is false. Although CNN, for example, may be factually accurate, it cherry-picks information to build a slanted narrative. This is what Google considers to be an authority? Chanting “Trump, Trump, Trump” 24/7?
It’s cronyism. Indeed, there are known mechanisms to provide favors for Jeff Zucker. Waywire, a vapor-ware video startup, seemed to serve as a mechanism for Google to reward Zucker for favors. The company appointed his then 14-year-old son to the Waywire board of directors. Much like with Dieter Bohn, it seems like another sinecure awarded for cooperative behavior.
Is this the company we want to battle misinformation? Google is crooked to the core. Whether it’s dubious web performance statistics, AI, or a pledge to do no evil, Google seems mainly concerned with amassing power and control over all information.
I’m neither a conservative nor a liberal. Such “sanskaras” or biases aren’t helpful to anyone, but in this culture, you pick a team and align with the narrative. Google’s alignment with CNN and its 24/7 Trump fever dream is just one facet of its misinformation propagation.
Beyond a tight bond with CNN and other biased corporate news sources, Google’s search engine is easily fooled by black hat SEO tricks, which feed misinformation into its AI systems.
Bard isn’t trained on the best information. It “learns” from the crooked publisher who ripped off someone else’s work and crammed a bunch of nonsense into the article to seem more comprehensive.
Bard is more of Google’s karmic retribution for content theft than a product that will propel the company into an AI future. Google, the ultimate content thief, is now choking on a misinformation system of its own design. I believe it will be the end of the company. Their hiring practices staffed the company with a bunch of massively over-paid eggheads who have no deliverables other than a few clever words at a meeting.
Google will rest in peace alongside Silicon Graphics. At least SGI made cool, original computers until Microsoft’s Windows NT put the company out of business. Google is primarily a copycat company that seems to be on its ninth life. Does anyone remember Silicon Graphics? Google is likely to suffer the same fate.