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Are Google pulling rank?

Are Google pulling rank?

Are Google pulling rank?

TechCrunch are reporting on a trial currently being run by Google that supposedly enhances its search experience.  The video isn't much longer than a couple of minutes so it's worth taking the time to watch it. But what's it all about?  Well, amongst other things it allows you to vote on the relevance of articles returned in Google's search results.  So if you typed "Best TV Programme ever" in the search box and Google returned an article on Big Brother, then you could vote it down or up in the list (I know which one I would do).  Ultimately, the community would influence Google's ranking of a page against a search term. Obviously it's more powerful than simply changing the ranking of Big Brother articles.  For instance, if I was looking for "Printer Drivers" and Google returned a taxi driver on page 1 then the community could vote that off of page 1.  The concept is very much like Digg in that the community decide on what's hot and what's not. But without controls this can be abused.  For instance, someone could write a Bot that voted the BBC's sports news page off of page 1 when you search for "sport news" - at the time of writing that page is the top item given those keywords.   So in that case it's not the community voting a page down but instead a malicious script writer.  That's just one example of how it could be abused if controls aren't put in place and I'm sure there would be many more. Innocent companies spend a lot of time perfecting their pages for Google to rank appropriately - okay, there are many that are more obvious about their SEO tactics but this proposed change in Google's search engine could hurt businesses if the system is abused.   Certain companies will no doubt try and vote their competitors off of the first results page for their chosen keywords. So although I like the concept, I'm nervous about how it might end up being used.  At least it's not the real Big Brother determining what pages I see. What's your opinion?  Would you use it?  Would you trust it? Dan

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Not applicable
Kudos on a global scale Smiley Works if the votes are humans. Utterly destructive if the bots control it.
Plusnet Staff
As a user I get incredibly frustrated by the amount of zero content pollution returned from price-comparison sites like pricerunner, pricegrabber and kelkoo when looking for hardware reviews for example. It drives me nuts. So long as, as Neil has pointed out, it's real humans that are making the votes and that no-one can vindictively vote down the same page over and over, then it's a highly valid idea.
Newbie
Spam bots is aren't too much of a problem. They could limit the users to people with verified Google Checkout accounts. The main problem, IMO is the feedback loop. Results will rank well because they ranked well in the past. Thats the flaw in the original Page Rank algorithm and Google have spent a lot of time tweaking this. It looks like a step back to me.
Dabbler
I find this a very worringly development. Whilst I agree with Peter that results from pricerunner and especially kelkoo are highly annoying and I'd love to see these removed, it's the small business I'm worried about. Having spent the last year or so working on a number of websites for small businesses getting their sites slowly climbing up the rankings, I fear that all the time and money will have been wasted. Many of the sites operate in a highly competitve market and so a 'hate campaign' against them would be very destructive to all the effort that has been put in. Everything like this is abused eventually no matter how many restrictions and rules are put in place. Overall I agree with the idea of it but unfortunatly as with everything on the net there are those intent on ruining it for the rest of us.
Dan
Grafter
and no doubt this story http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/07/22/google-in-final-negotiations-to-acquire-digg-for-around-200-million/ about google's statement of intent to buy digg is linked in with their voting system trial.