I read this post at the OnlineJournalismBlog that covers a post from the SEObook.com. It raises a few very interesting questions, but the primary one is whether Google Search Results Pages are really the right place for alternative voices? However do alternative voices have another good outlet is the second question you have to ask yourself?
First of all Google’s business is primarily designed to get revenue from SEM (Search Engine Marketing), and the nature of PageRank is specifically designed to make the most reputable voices (i.e. websites) heard first. Diversity will disappear though per definition. It is kind of intended (somewhat simplified). Originally to make informative, on-point search results. However you get the trust, but will effectively filter out the diversity and weaker voices.
The second issue is that a search result page (and Google’s in particular) is designed to show clear, on-point single entries. It shows you The Answer. Nothing wrong with that but diversity comes from several answers. :-)
Now over the the more interesting question: Is a search engine the “right” place for a diverse media outlet? I would say no. The irony however is that the technology behind a search engine can be used for it, but the purpose of a search engine is not inline with the presentation of alternative, diverse voices. It is a complex topic indeed, but once again brings up the issues we have seen presented in the movie EPIC 2014. I know, I know. It is a very common link in all my blogs, but it is so on-point and highlights the challenges we have right now pretty well.
I guess we have to start asking ourselves what type of media outlet we would like to see in the future and who that actors on this new media arena will be. My bet is not a Google Search Result Page is the right place for it, and probably never will be in the traditional sense. Can Google be an actor? Sure, but I doubt that too. It would be sidestepping their core business.