Quoting from myself (sorry about that everyone!)
<snip>I just wanted to point out some new discussions on this, which are becoming very interesting from the information management point of view. See "Google admits its algorithm is opinion; but its decision process is dangerous" http://blog.seattlepi.com/zennieabraham/archives/230477.asp which discusses Google's reasoning for the "tweaks", as debated on John Battelle's blog post "In Google's Opinion...." with Matt Cutts, a Google "engineer" http://battellemedia.com/archives/2010/12/in_googles_opinion
In response to this story, Google tweaked their results, see "Google Changes Search Results After Story About Misleading Retailer Rankings" http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2010/12/02/131753456/google-changes-search-results-after-story-about-retailer-rankings?ft=1&f=1001, so things apparently work differently now, but of course, what the tweaks did to other searches remains to be seen, and in any case Google changes must remain secret.....
Mr. Cutts wrote:
"...I believe the "opinion" in that sentence refers to the fact our web search results are protected speech in the First Amendment sense. Court cases in the U.S. (search for SearchKing or Kinderstart) have ruled that Google's search results are opinion. This particular situation serves to demonstrate that fact: Google decided to write an algorithm to tackle the issue reported in the New York Times. We chose which signals to incorporate and how to blend them...."Very interesting.