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As it turns out, Google has a world-class sentiment analysis system (Large-Scale Sentiment Analysis for News and Blogs [icwsm.org]).
But if we demoted web pages that have negative comments against them, you might not be able to find information about many elected officials, not to mention a lot of important but controversial concepts.
So far we have not found an effective way to significantly improve search using sentiment analysis. Of course, we will continue trying.
Instead, in the last few days we developed an algorithmic solution which detects the merchant from the Times article along with hundreds of other merchants that, in our opinion, provide an extremely poor user experience. The algorithm we incorporated into our search rankings represents an initial solution to this issue, and Google users are now getting a better experience as a result.
A crucial factor in Google search results, the spokesman explained, is the number of links from respected and substantial Web sites. The more links that a site has from big and well-regarded sites, the better its chances of turning up high in a search
they do seem to be saying their magic formula (which they cannot reveal) can detect the "fake" bad reviews from the "genuine" bad reviews...
...all kinds of other linguistic constructs that a human reader easily comprehends.