Saturday, April 7, 2007

Interesting Tangent In Wired Article

From this article:

Think about how Google works. When you type in a term, the search engine puts the site with the most links pointing toward it at the top of the list. That means bloggers and discussion boards are extremely powerful in influencing Google's search results, because bloggers and discussion-board posters are promiscuous linkers, constantly pointing to things they love or hate.

Doesn't this necessarily mean that Google is constrained to the zeitgeist of the moment? I've been wondering about this for a while and this kind of nails it. If blogging and twittering eventually dominate Internet traffic, how valuable will Google remain? In some ways the Internet is like a global nervous system; are we building something which thinks and reflects, or which twitches reflexively?

(I'm feeling very deep today.)

1 comment:

  1. While I can understand the logic from a programmer's perspective about why one would want to take the approach Google did, it feels elitist to me. It takes the approach of let those who create web pages do the ranking work for you. What determines the rank in a listing is how many web developers/bloggers liked it, not how many run-of-the-mill web users liked it. I think they might get better rankings by using the e-mail of their GMail users. Every time someone sends a neat link to a friend, use that.

    An approach that I've heard MSN is trying is observing search behavior, getting a sense of "am I producing results that my users want?" What I heard was it looks at when you follow a link, do you stay there for long, or do you come back quickly and try something else in the list, implying that the first link you followed was not what you were looking for. Personally I think this would produce more satisfying results for most people. It's more complicated than Google's approach though. I imagine it would tend to produce "majority rule" results. If you're in the 95% category of search users for a particular topic, you'll find what you're looking for quickly. If not, prepare to go searching for 10 pages before you find it.

    Personally I've tried both, and I like Google's results better. But that's just me.

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