In my latest Guardian column, "Search is too important to leave to one company – even Google," I make the case that Google's algorithms are editorial decisions, and that so much editorial power is better vested in big, transparent, public entities than a few giant private concerns:
It's a terrible idea to vest this much power with one company, even one as fun, user-centered and technologically excellent as Google. It's too much power for a handful of companies to wield.
The question of what we can and can't see when we go hunting for answers demands a transparent, participatory solution. There's no dictator benevolent enough to entrust with the power to determine our political, commercial, social and ideological agenda. This is one for The People.
Put that way, it's obvious: if search engines set the public agenda, they should be public. What's not obvious is how to make such a thing.