Friday 14 October 2011

Rigging the search

Is it coincidence, arrogance or unbelievable stupidity? If it is to defend itself from accusations that Google search algorithms show a bias towards Google services, how does it explain Google+ managing to rank so highly? Logged in to my Google account, if I search my name (yes, I know) then my Google+ profile, which I post to only occasionally, often appears right at the top; if “I’m Feeling Lucky” then it has the sense to pick the ‘true’ result, which is my blog. Even logged out and disconnected from my web history, clearing the cache or anything else I randomly think of, using other browsers for example, a search on my name will still place Google+ above more frequently used services such as Twitter or Facebook.

I can imagine an argument that defends the artificially enhanced rank when logged on, though think it poor design; however I can’t see how any objective search would return these results. As a lone example it’s hardly a tipping point, they understandably want a slice of the Facebook action, but search should be solely about returning what is most relevant to the user. If it fails in this, then I can go elsewhere. Google ignores that at its peril; it’s a lot easier to change search engines than social networks.