Appen, a longstanding contractor for Google in managing search quality control, recently received notice terminating its contract with the tech giant on January 20. This unexpected decision is poised to have significant consequences for both companies.
Impact on Appen: A Surprising Blow
For Appen, the termination of its contract with Google was not only surprising but also unwelcome. The collaboration in 2023 alone accounted for $82.8 million, representing 26% of Appen’s total revenue. The news sent shockwaves through the company, leading to a notable 40% decline in Appen’s shares.
Google’s Strategic Shift: Phasing Out Appen Services
Google plans to completely phase out Appen’s services by March 19, 2024. It’s important to note that this decision doesn’t signal the closure of Google’s Search Quality Rater program or a complete shift to AI. Instead, Google has opted to change its contracting strategy by ending its association with one of its long-standing partners.
The Future of Search Quality Evaluation
Despite the termination of the contract with Appen, Google’s commitment to assessing search quality remains unchanged. The company employs 16,000 search quality evaluators globally, who play a crucial role in enhancing search results. These evaluators, including those from Appen, are external contractors following Google and Search Quality Rater guidelines, notes NIXsolutions.
In conclusion, while the end of cooperation with Appen may have immediate repercussions, it is not indicative of Google abandoning human-assisted search quality evaluation. Instead, it signals a strategic shift in contractor partnerships.