Sunday, June 24, 2007

Moar wtf!?

The New York Times is messing with my head.

They're having another crack at Google which makes me seriously doubt the sanity of the people who write these articles.

Where to begin?

  1. Google is bigger than its two closest rivals Yahoo and Microsoft - by a longshot.
  2. Googling is part of the language now, which I noted previously in this blog.
  3. The article talks about search engine startups with alternatives to Google's hyper-secret search algorithm and the nature and content of the returns provided by those alternatives.
  4. One of these start ups is boasting a return of 5000 relevant returns for the search term "Paris Hilton". Google returns 59,700,000. Clicking Google's News results returns a further 21,310 results.
  5. The article talks about little search engines snaffling tiny percentages of users from Google and it crunches some numbers which add up to (potentially) billions of dollars in returns for relatively small capital outlays - making search an attractive business proposition.
I suppose the aspect of this article that has set me off is the headline:

The Human Touch That May Loosen Google’s Grip

Pardon me, but BOLLOCKS.

The one line in the entire article with a solid footing in reality didn't appear until the 6th paragraph, towit: "Even gathering the crumbs of business left behind by Google could generate a lofty market capitalization."

Which does not in any way equate with the headline. What Google leaves behind, Google obviously doesn't want.

The article also skirts nimbly around the search terms that might prick the collective conscience of NYTimes readers, namely porn.

Some people, like myself, like to go through the back pages of search results to find off topic returns for a particular search. I wouldn't have found if I'd just gone looking for what someone else deemed as 'relevant' to my search query which was bush+hitler.

This leads me to feel that whatever you can't get from a Google search, you really oughtn't to be searching for anyway. So where does that leave these potential rivals to Google's superiority?

Either with piss-poor search returns, probably all of which Google would return anyway, or a database full of cp, links for terrorists and goatse. Oh, and 5,000 'relevant' links for Paris Hilton.

Back to the relevance aspect, the article (on page 2) goes on to talk about search engine optimisation.

To those in the trade, outsmarting the algorithm is called “search engine optimization.” For the rest of us, it produces Web pages littered with spam.

Don't include me in your "rest of us", buddy. It doesn't take long to work out which sites are crap and which are going to provide good information. That sort of navigational information also travels like wildfire around the net. Who hasn't heard of The Onion? (Here, have a laugh.)

It also doesn't take much effort to hit the back button or the little red x (top right of the window) to return to the results page and go find another link.

And speaking of being "littered with spam", would it hurt if I mentioned that reading NYTimes articles online is made awkward because of the massive advertisement taking up the right side of the page and the links to 'relevant searches' intruding into the article from the left?

Ok, so at the end of the day, little search start ups might make for themselves some nice tidy profits and set an example or two of what can be achieved if one looks at alternatives. They're incorporating a site ranking by user-vote system, which is nice, but it isn't going to affect the dominance in the market place by the one big search company that is so big because it gives the people what the people want.

All this leaves me wondering why such an esteemed news service is repeatedly waffling garbage when it comes to Google.

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