diberry - 8:57 pm on Sep 22, 2011 (gmt 0)
I'm in the US, and I'm TOTALLY seeing the blue arrows when I try to scroll with my keyboard arrows. That is soooo tricky!
It seems to me the human raters manually demoting websites is proof enough that Google "cooks" the results - they certainly don't just let the algo do its thing. And that's the big problem - that, and the fact that the algo and/or the raters take into account things users never would, such as paid text links. Which Google takes into account (supposedly) to protect the algo. Take Google at their word and assume the best possible intentions, and you STILL have human raters tampering with the algo's results. Which part of that isn't cooking?
US law recognizes that if you do great things, you might become overly dominant in your field, and that's okay. It's what you DO with that dominance that can break monopoly laws. Google's used their dominance to blackmail companies [searchengineland.com...] into helping Google profit AND maybe run them out of business:
The most effective testimony against Google came, however, from Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman. He described a timeline of events in which Google and Yelp were partners. But after that ended, Google later began including Yelp reviews in Places (a competitive product) without permission. Yelp said that the company asked that those reviews be removed, which Google declined to do without removing Yelp from the index entirely. It was only after the FTC investigation was announced, said Yelp, that Google complied.
I mean, forget what we feel Google has put us through. This example is absolutely ridiculous.
I don't know if the government will have a solution. Maybe the algo should just be made open source already so that we can game Google as hard as they can game us - there's a level playing field. Maybe search should be split off and monitored to make sure no one's greasing their palms. I don't know how much any of these solutions will help any of us, but unless all these people are lying to Congress, there's no question Google's in violation of American laws - and if the government doesn't step in, it'll be because Google makes voluntary changes. Either way, there's some hope.
A 60+ friend of mine the other day - who mainly owns a computer to check her emails and shop on Amazon - mentioned to me that Google results were terrible lately and she'd switched to Bing. I have to say, Bing has suddenly gotten very awesome in lots of ways - to me as a consumer. Their Maps has added landmarks to your route. They have a sort of twitter feed on the lower right side of the search results on hot news stories, so blogs with up-to-date reporting are available.
I think MSN's timing on all this is hilariously awesome. Google's made a wreck of its results with Panda, Bing has made itself a very viable competitor, and now all the ducks seem to be in a row for some big changes, forced or otherwise.