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I have long held that Search (ie, Google) would eventually bend to an anti-network-effect, where the SEO-gamers would eventually win and smaller search engines would flourish. I'm fond of DuckDuckGo right now. However, Google has gotten their edge back several times over the last few years, and I wouldn't count them out. I agree that Google is currently losing, and I recommend people try the blind search tests themselves. I believe Google's strength will come in personalized search results, and I don't think Google is using personalization as much as they need to. If I bypass all the other links and go direct to StackOverflow every time, it would seem that - for me - this should work itself out quickly. I would be interested in whether your experiments with StackOverflow were with "clean accounts" or crusty accounts like mine, where the searcher is a known technologist. Regarding someone who posted about categorization, Google's Caffine architecture, and the search results currently being returned, show a high amount of diversity. They're clearly categorizing and showing "best in category" in the front page results. This effect is positive for a number of kinds of search, but negative for "tight searches" (like iphone 4 covers, where you might end up with a ipad cover taking a slot due to a diversity algorithm, to the point where you're only delivering 4 or 5 results that were tight). An improvement I would like to see in Google is a Google Labs experiment with a prominent "more like this" button. I'd rather do my first search and drill down, and it's clear Google has the categories and pre-calculated math to do so. If I were out to game Google right now, I'd be building a very human-like browser (or using mechanical turk) to search for terms and click on my links. I suspect Google has greatly raised the priority of link-click in their reputation scheme, and gaming that system wouldn't be terribly hard. The benefit of blending personalization is hopefully I don't look like most mechanical turks.
Toggle Commented Jan 3, 2011 on Trouble In the House of Google at Coding Horror
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Sep 18, 2010