Reno - 10:03 pm on Nov 11, 2011 (gmt 0)
They have a preconceived vision of the web which they train their staff. The staff then goes about their work qualifying websites according to this doctrine. Another set of engineers build an algorithm according to the same doctrine/or at least the same school of thought. They then compare the results and low and behold the machine matches up with what they trained their peeps to find.
Here's my insight: The quote above is another way of saying that they are creating their own reality.
And it's working.
I've been saying here for years that Google is refashioning the web to suit themselves, an example being their attack on "trading links", which existed long before Google but is hands-off today because Google implied it could hurt you. Ditto to webrings ~ dead, in large part thanks to Google's displeasure with them. Ditto to directories, which are gone in part because the directory owners asked for a return text link or logo added to the recipient site. Now with Panda they are hitting affiliate sites. If you want to rank with the number 1 traffic driving site in the world, it's their way or the highway, and with that control, they are attempting to build the web they want ~ the one that suits their own interests ~ NOT the one that would otherwise come into creation. There's no way to know whether that's a good thing or a bad thing because we don't know what we don't know ~ it just IS.