diberry - 2:17 am on Aug 22, 2012 (gmt 0)
I wonder if this patent is designed to make the algo inscrutable not just to webmasters, but also to governments. I think anti-trust issues must be high up on Google's list of concerns right now. Lately, the SERPs are such a mess that users are frustrated, but maybe the tradeoff for that is that anything in the algo that might look unfair to a government is going to be so obscured by the time a govt takes a hard look at it, that no one will be able to make a case in any direction.
I don't mean this to imply that Google has for sure broken laws. Some of these laws - especially with evolving technologies - are vague and confusing. It's not like Google's been handed a checklist: "do these things, and you re in compliance." So I would consider what I'm suggesting to be a smart move that any company in Google's position should consider taking.