I'm going to try to get in on today's "DecorMyEyes" pile-on, which is basically a story about yet another company discovering that attention, even bad attention, can be Google-leveraged into high search rankings overall. This is very old news in general (see, e.g. my old piece on "Jew Watch"). But since a gatekeeper wrote about it recently, the issue became noticed again by other gatekeepers.
However, this time, Google took action:
Instead, in the last few days we developed an algorithmic solution which detects the merchant from the Times article along with hundreds of other merchants that, in our opinion, provide an extremely poor user experience. The algorithm we incorporated into our search rankings represents an initial solution to this issue, and Google users are now getting a better experience as a result.
That is, instead of just saying "It's an algorithm, the output is a result of an algorithm, no humans here, algorithm, algorithm, algorithm ...", humans changed the algorithm.
When I've tried make people realize Google can do the same things in a positive manner for, e.g. Wikipedia (regarded as a good "user experience"?) - it simply doesn't penetrate the pundit-world.
Now, of course, not all changes are going to be equally easy. One can't simply wish complicated calculations into behaving in ideal ways (no, you can't just downrank stupidity). But the other side of that problem is that Google has gotten an extensive free ride in terms of values by simply saying "algorithm".By Seth Finkelstein | posted in google | on December 01, 2010 11:59 PM (Infothought permalink)