[I wrote this in January 2008 but never posted it. I think people might still want to read this, so I’m posting it now.]
In an election year, everybody gets a little more sensitive about politics, so I wanted a write a pre-emptive post in case anyone accuses Google of political bias in our search results sometime this year.
This is my personal opinion, but in my way of looking at the world, search quality > politics. That is, preserving the quality and accuracy of our search results is the best way we can help our users, while skewing our search algorithms to espouse a particular political party’s viewpoint would be anathema. This month I finish my eighth year at Google and begin my ninth (geez, I’m old), and in that entire time I can’t remember even the tiniest suggestion to bias Google’s search results toward any political party. The trust of our users is important, and in my opinion it would be an abuse of that trust to skew our search results toward any particular political view. I suspect that if you checked with old-timers at other search engines, they’d say similar things.