Google Raters, the Human Face of the Google Machine…

Google, a founding member of the internet revolution and juggernaut has long suffered the unfortunate reputation as a faceless machine, possibly the result of its incessant talk of algorithms and automatic page rankings.

The Register has this week revealed the human face behind Google’s page ranking, the life of the Google Raters. A little known part of the page ranking system the Raters are one of the many inputs into a complex system.

The Raters are also Google’s outsiders, an outsourced workforce that is kept at arm’s length, impartial to Google’s influences. Possibly one of the only real work from home internet jobs, hard work replacing scam in this case.

As part of its investigation The Register mysteriously found itself in the possession of the manual provided to the Raters. 160 pages of advice on communicating your opinion, rating a website as it were. The Raters manual is part communication standard and part standard operating procedure with much of the manual dedicated to instructing the Raters on how to describe their humble opinions in graphic levels of detail.


Aside from being an interesting peek under the hood the use of human raters also suggests that Google is taking a well balanced approach to the rating system, not all of Google’s eggs are in the one basket.

The exact weighting that Google gives the Raters data is unknown, that secret recipe is well guarded that can be guaranteed. Many forms of quantitative data contribute to how Google rates any particular page, web-bots roam the internet inspecting websites, servers track links and other automatic system keep a close eye on traffic. But in amongst this data is a very select group of likes and dislikes provided by the Google Raters.

The complexity of the advice given in the manual also reinforces how complex ranking the entire internet is. What may seem a simple task, having an opinion, liking or dislike, is far from simple when done on an internet wide scale and to a Google level of detail.

Google sources it’s Raters from two agencies; Leapfrog and Lionforce provide the 1,500 Raters used by Google. The work is flexible but demanding according to the advertisements.

Before Google will let any prospective Rater lose they must first pass Google’s examination, with regular future evaluations carried out by the Google machine. The large number of Raters could potentially allow Google to maintain a manual rating on millions of websites, this isn’t an exercise in auditing the machine, instead this is another source of information for Google’s page ranking algorithm.

Here at Highpants we take great delight in those brief glimpses at the human side of Google, while the algorithms may deal with immense numbers there is also a little character in there, a dose of the human touch.

Source: The Register