Why Does Google Fail During Brush Fires?

Why Does Google Fail During Brush Fires?

Dear Google, What's Your Fail About Pressing Emergencies? 

On July 5th, 2020, there was a fire in my region called The Soledad Fire. It originated out in Aqua Dulce CA and grew quickly, promising or threatening to shut down the major traffic artery from Palmdale to Los Angeles, Interstate 14.

After watching the fire for most of that afternoon, I knew there was going to a press conference at 5pm, so I ran a Google search, looking for where I could watch this press conference.

And therein, lies the problem.

When I executed a search for news on the Soledad fire, I got nothing but nonsense search results. I tried 'press conference Soledad fire 2020' and received more nonsense results. I tried ixnaying different years' results by putting a dash in front of that year, but to no avail.

For example --

In one search, "2020 Soledad fire press conference," returned results such as 

'Your guide to Fourth of July weekend...' &
'Two fires in Contra Costa fire (from 2019)' &
'Black music month remembering soul...'

Under Videos I got...
A five day old Santa Clarita Govt video &
A six day old Santa Clarita Valley video, &
Something from Mar 2019 about Stopping the Mega Mining Project.

I then reformulated my search to 'Soledad fire press conference' and got an extra result about Mop Up fro the Tick Fire in Oct of 2019.


For a company that is an amazing accumulator of web surfers personal information and various other info related to their multi-billion dollar business of advertising, I always find that their ability to keep up with freshly emerging hazards has much to be desired.

In those first few hours of a major tragedy, Google seems to be the most useless tool available. This has been the third time over a few years period that I've run into this useless mode that Google search can't seem to deal with.

I don't understand it, but there seems to be a fascinating weakness in the Google AI that can't deal with immediately evolving situations like fires.

Actually, it almost makes sense. Entities like Google and Facebook collects data on us over time and figures things out about us via our behavioral patterns on the web and with our phones. 

Something like a fire doesn't have an internet pattern. And when the fire departments start communicating about the event, it's fresh data, there's no pattern of behavior. Sure, we can predict what our fire departments will do for us, but Google can't. They don't have enough behavioral information in those first few hours to make any kind of sense.

Which is weird considering how much we come to depend on it Google.

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