google bombing

Go to Google and type miserable failure and then hit the I Feel Lucky button.

By now, you may have already heard of this practice of “google bombing.” The results of a google search relate not only to the content of pages but also to how often and in what ways pages are linked to. Basically people can manipulate Google’s search results faily easily by adding pages to the web that link to other pages using certain words. Here is one article and another one about this — incidentally these articles come up in the search for “miserable failure.”

Not only is this an interesting thing to know about but it also raises questions about the usefulness and reliability of search tools on the Internet. Google has been heralded by some as the be-all and end-all of search engines and it does do a pretty good job but in reality it’s a popularity contest. The Internet has fundamentally changed how we think about and organize knowledge – but has it been for the better? What about an authoritative, content-based cataloguing system for the net as opposed to all these popularity contests?

One Response to “google bombing”

  1. Liam says:

    Well, that’s basically what the Yahoo directory is. I can’t remember the last time I searched it, although pre-Google it used to be my favorite search tool.

    There are problems of course, who decides what web pages are included, and who do you get to look at 4 billion web pages to judge them on merits? Until we get some stronger algorithms for separating the garbage from the good, I can’t imagine search engines changing too much.