TheMadScientist - 2:18 pm on Jan 13, 2013 (gmt 0)
My view is that Chrome data is used in Panda which, as we know, is an 'add on' to the main algo. I think the main algo does all the usual relevance calculations and user metrics then come into play with Panda. I think it's more likely that google use data collected from other means to verify user metric data collected from Chrome.
So they lie to us and Search Engine land and Chrome is really the 'driving force' of the algo, not the other way around? ... I'm way more inclined to think they're telling the truth about it.
I was giving reasons for why they wouldn't use browser data directly and you're probably not going to convince me they have enough data from 1/3 of Internet users to score every page on every site, because there's not enough visits to all of them (likely even by all Internet users combined*) and like I pointed out earlier, it's totally different for a metric like speed that's true site wide than it is to 'score a site' based on a visit to a couple of pages.
There's pages on sites I've built I've never even seen (and I'm not sure anyone has), but that doesn't mean they or the sites they're on aren't useful to anyone either ... But a single 'satisfied Chrome visit' wouldn't be enough to 'score' them or the entire site on by any stretch either.
I would venture to say there are way more sites (or pages on those sites) only a person or two with the browser installed visits than there are that actually give you enough to be 'actionable data', because if they had 'short visits' you don't know what was 'wrong' ... Maybe the people didn't like the colors but the text was great. Maybe they're picky and didn't like a certain font. Who knows why a very small relative number 'gave an indication they didn't like the page(s)', but nothing 'strong enough' was wrong to block the site or even if they did block it, there's not a big enough 'pattern' for that info to be reliable and use it for a large number of people.
The converse is also true ... A couple people with a specific browser installed liking a page or two does not mean the whole site should be 'promoted and shown to everyone' in the search results.
Here's another reason to not use browser data:
As soon as they start using data from a specific browser (or site visitor data EG Analytics) as the 'driving force' of the algo, rather than some type of verification, and webmasters find out they will find a way to 'manipulate' the algo by 'cloaking' a site for the browser and Google loses any type of 'reliable sample' of what a site is really like for 67% of people or with Analytics, it's simple to remove it and use some other visitor stats instead.
I fairly sure I can think of more reasons to not 'drive the algo' with a browser or anything other than the algo rather than using the 'other data' as validation or verification of the algo, but I don't feel like it right now.
Using incomplete data as the driving force of the algo doesn't really make sense (to me anyway) ... It leaves too many 'holes' where you don't have that data or enough to 'make a decision' and opens you up to be gamed in a number of new ways, in my opinion.
Browser v Toolbar ... You can detect a browser as a site owner but can't detect the toolbar, and as soon as you base, even speed, on a specific browser you have access to data from and webmasters find out, you could easily indirectly 'shut out' your users from what could be good content, photos, etc. because it would be simple to detect someone's using Chrome and not show all the related photos for a story (for example) to 'give the impression' of speed and if that happens you run the chance of creating a 'less colorful and real' Internet for the users of your browser which means you stand the chance of having people just stop using it, because 'visitors see so much more when they use FireFox or Explorer'.