Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Google Artificially Promotes Recent Web Pages

Google System:

The problem is that you can’t rank a page that has just been created because it has no backlinks so Google artificially inflates the rankings of the recently-created pages based on historical data and the few backlinks that are detected.…If you go to Google’s homepage and click on the special logo that celebrates 25 years of TCP/IP and the New Year, you’ll be sent to the search results for [January 1 TCP/IP] and you should normally see a Wikipedia page as the top result. But the first page of Google’s results has changed dramatically in the past hours and all the results are new: most of them are from spam sites, pages that discuss Google’s logo and quote from Wikipedia.

It’s certainly a useful feature, but I wish there were a way to turn it off when you want a more time-invariant search.

Update: Jeff Harrell adds his thoughts:

If you heard about the Benazir Bhutto assassination and wanted some basic background information on her, you’d be pretty annoyed if a Google search for her name returned nothing but page after page of news accounts and blog posts about her death. In that case, sure, I could see where you’d want Google to ignore timely stuff and just show you the best unweighted search results.

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[...] Michael Tsai more or less agrees, but takes a slightly more nuanced view. “I wish there were a way to turn it off when you want a more time-invariant search,” [...]

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