Google Confirms Leak of Internal Documents on Search and Data Tracking

Why Trust Techopedia
Key Takeaways

  • Around 2500 internal documents detailing data tracking are real, says Google.
  • The US tech giant has urged caution on making assumptions on the leaked info.
  • Search data will provide clues to how Google ranks webpages, but overall picture is incomplete.

Google has confirmed the veracity of a set of leaked internal documents that contain details about data the company tracks, possibly linked to its system for ranking webpages.

Overall, 2,500 documents emanated from the tech behemoth recently. The tech behemoth has confirmed it to The Verge.

SEO subject experts Rand Fishkin and Mike King first blew the whistle on the leaked info when it was shared with them, with the former aiming to uncover ‘lies’ that Google employees had previously detailed on how the search algorithm operates.

In an email, Google spokesman Davis Thompson advised The Verge:

“We would caution against making inaccurate assumptions about Search based on out-of-context, outdated, or incomplete information.”

He added that the company has previously shared significant information on how its Search process works and on data selection, although this remains a tangled web, especially given Google’s dominance in online search.

What Exactly Is Google Monitoring?

The significant leak will cause waves throughout the tech industry as insiders and enthusiasts aim to decipher the data that Google has been monitoring.

Some of it may be used to make up the company’s all-encompassing algorithm, which impacts how things are ranked online, from restaurants to stores and even smaller, independent news publishers.

The leaked data will not comprehensively explain how Google operates certain functions. Still, the information will allow different components to be highlighted to better understand what is going on under the hood at Google HQ.

It is important to note that the exact purpose of the extracted data is unclear: what it was used for, whether it is now obsolete or still in use, whether it was used for training and its overall value.

The Mountain View, California-based firm is understandably reticent about the internal machinations of its formidable algorithm, but these documents will disclose some information, just as the recent testimony in the US Department of Justice antitrust case provided some understanding of Google’s thinking on its website ranking system.