Google Stands Up for Its Search

Inplace #2

google_recruiting_small.jpgADOTAS – You’ve heard all the accusations of Google search losing its mojo; it’s time for the defenese. Matt Cuts, head of Google’s anti-webspam team, argues that “Google’s search quality is better than it has ever been in terms of relevance, freshness and comprehensiveness.”

Take that, hatahs!

However, while noting that Google is beating off “pure webspam” better than ever, sites with spammy and low-quality content (cough, content farms) are giving big G a headache — well, let’s say users complaining about content farms and SEO-gamed content is giving Google a headache.

Cuts comments about algorithm improvements that BrightEdge’s Jim Yu went into detail about recently on Adotas and notes improvements in Chrome for facilitating user feedback.

“We take pride in Google search and strive to make each and every search perfect,” he writes. “The fact is that we’re not perfect, and combined with users’ skyrocketing expectations of Google, these imperfections get magnified in perception. However, we can and should do better.”

The “we’re not perfect defense” is always groan-inducing, but as I noted in a recent piece lamenting the sad state of web content, “Can we trust a search engine to tell us how good or useful content is? Google introduced a filtering system based on reading level — with some interesting results regarding news sites.”

Can you build an algorithm to judge something as subjective as quality? You could argue that some kind of grammar and style filter might be a first step, but one of the things that makes English so fun is breaking the rules regarding grammar and punctuation. Ever read William Faulkner or Cormac McCarthy? Such a filter would ultimately be superficial.

But the use of social data in search could arguably hop that subjective hurdle — or limp over it. And who has the best social data regarding internet user preferences? Facebook, which has partnered with Google sorta rival Microsoft.

On a separate note involving all three of these foes, Cuts noticed last week an AdAge report (through data gathered by comScore) claiming the third-biggest advertiser on Facebook was with 1.75 billion impressions in the third quarter alone. Yes, it was another junk site along the lines of “make-me-old.” However, if you followed the advertising to the site, the publisher attempted to install a hard-to-uninstall browser plug-in that made the default search engine Bing.

Microsoft pleaded ignorance, disappeared by the next day and  Facebook, which reportedly made $1.8 billion in ad revenue last year, released a statement saying: “make-my-baby is not an advertiser at all on Facebook and any affiliates that try to push people there we would shut down.”

On a final note, the Google Buzz profile blog has to be one of the ugliest things I have ever seen.