Has Google finally sold out?
September 13, 2000 10:06 AM   Subscribe

Has Google finally sold out? You may have already seen this via Robot Wisdom - evidence that Google has monkeyed with their search engine to give preference to partner Yahoo!'s pages. I guess it had to happen sooner or later, but I'm sad. Anyone know of a better search engine on the horizon that still has integrity?
posted by straight (8 comments total)
I'm kind of a fan of the GoTo concept (yeah, advertisers pay for placement, and the amount they're paying is listed along with the search results). That having been said, I don't actually use GoTo because I generally am searching for obscure wacky non-commercial stuff that wouldn't be paying for placement. Disclosure: I work for idealab.
posted by faisal at 11:03 AM on September 13, 2000

It's not clear that Yahoo the "health info provider" is totally seperate from the thousands of other inbound links to Yahoo for Yahoo Radio, Yahoo Mail, Yahoo the Directory, Yahoo the Shopping Mall etc... I personally don't see enough in this report to come to any great conclusion that the fix is in for Google to promote Yahoo outside of "marketing links" that are marked as such: "Show map of Vancouver WA on Yahoo! Maps - MapBlast " (when doing a search for Vancouver).

Lets bring in the SE expert from Search Engine Watch to comment!
posted by tomalak at 11:07 AM on September 13, 2000

Look at MedWebPlus... Do a search of "rheumatology" on Google limiting results to MedWebPlus.com and you'll find 12 results. Do that same search for Yahoo and for better or worse you'll get 57 results. If there is a similar assortment of links to those "top resources" then who wins?

One question... I wonder how Yahoo's link counting (srd.yahoo.com) will effect their ability to rank with Google... does it just go through the redirect to grab the link destination or is it not that smart.

Has this guy contacted Google and received any response?

Google's explanation about PageRank

The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine. Paper by Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page.
posted by tomalak at 11:22 AM on September 13, 2000

Like Tomalak said, there's really no definite conclusions one can draw from this "study". One rather simple explanation might be that, for whatever reason, Google did not completely crawl the Yahoo! site before the deal, possibly because they really didn't want to send people away from Google to Yahoo! When the deal was signed, then perhaps Google didn't feel so bad about crawling through the entire Yahoo! site, including their massive directory of links, a process which conceivably could have skewed the results toward Yahoo! destinations without additional tinkering on the part of Google.

But that theory is probably crap as well because there's just not enough evidence here to support any real conclusions.
posted by jkottke at 11:33 AM on September 13, 2000

All I know is that google usually has a really good, relevant site about whatever I'm seaching for on the first page, and usually the first result. Until I stop getting good results, I'll still use google regardless of whether they have "sold out".
posted by kidsplateusa at 11:41 AM on September 13, 2000

I don't think we'll know for sure until we get words out of someone in the executive suite at Google.

Excuse me, I mispronounced "I don't think we'll ever know".

I don't give the exec's at Google credit for realizing that "it's the truth, stupid" any more than I do anyone else's.
posted by baylink at 12:38 PM on September 13, 2000

I'm with KidsPlateUSA, until Google starts giving me similar crap to other search engines, I'll continue to use it. It's so much better than any other option it's breathtaking. I don't do it, but one of these days, I'm just going to start hitting "I'm feeling lucky" because 98% of the time that would work.
posted by daveadams at 1:15 PM on September 13, 2000

According to Sergey Brin @ Google, the apparent discrepancy is due to the presence of a robots.txt file.
posted by jkottke at 12:09 PM on September 14, 2000

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