Saturday, January 14, 2006

Google Bombing

Type the words miserable idiot in a google search text box and click on the "I'm feeling lucky "button.You may be surprised to see the whitehouse website with George W Bush's Biography (This is as of today - 14th January 2006). This is not a coincidence, but a practice known as Google-bombing.

My summary of this practice is this.

(I'm not digressing) A Page-rank algorithm is an algorithm that assigns numerical weightings to hyperlinked documents indexed by a search engine (Larry Page is the developer of this algorithm or family of algorithms). This is used by Google (Larry Page is one of the founders of Google).

In layman's terms, a site will be ranked higher if the sites that link to that page all use consistent anchor text. A Google bomb is created if a large number of sites link to the page in this manner. Google bomb is used both as a verb and a noun.

From Wikipedia....

Google has defended its algorithms as simply a reflection of the opinion on the Internet, saying that they are not damaging the overall quality of its services. Google has said it expects Googlebombing to return to obscurity and has dismissed it as "cybergraffiti" and just another internet fad.

On 18 January 2005 the Google blog entry "Preventing comment spam" declared that Google will henceforth respect a rel="nofollow" attribute on hyperlinks. Their page ranking algorithm now avoids links with this attribute when ranking the destination page. The intended result is that site administrators can easily modify user-posted links such that the attribute is present, and thus an attempt to googlebomb by posting a link on such a site would yield no increase from that link rank.

On 16 September 2005 Marissa Mayer, Director of Consumer Web Products for Google wrote an entry on Google Blog to those who were offended by the result of President George W. Bush's biography with the search of "failure", "miserable", and "miserable failure", stating that Google has no control over and does not condone the act of Google bombing. Apparently, people who sent in complaints believed that the search results showed Google's political bias.

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