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Debunking Matt Cutts

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The Google Toolbar doesn’t fuel Google’s index, nor is Google working hand in hand with the Central Intelligence Agency, even if Google did buy Keyhole, once backed by In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital arm.

Debunking Matt Cutts
Discussing Some Matt Cutts Myths

You can’t speed up the indexing of pages by visiting them with the Google Toolbar, even if you are using the Firefox version. That was the conclusion Cutts and blogger Philipp Lenssen found through a bet the two made.

Cutts wrote about the wager he and Lenssen made about Google indexing an unlinked page. Lenssen wanted to find out if the oft-repeated rumor could be true, and offered a copy of his book to whomever Cutts chose if the page did not get indexed.

After receiving some helpful tips from Cutts before starting the experiment in August, Lenssen placed the page online and visited it several times with the Google Toolbar running.

A few months later, Lenssen declared defeat and now owes Cutts (or his designated recipient) a copy of 55 Ways to Have Fun With Google. Lenssen had contended that the PageRank lookup feature in the Toolbar would report the URL to Google, whereupon it would be indexed.

Cutts also responded to publicized comments about the CIA and Google quietly working together, using Google’s modern algorithms and CIA’s tradecraft to do, well, something.

Through the medium of a fictionalized conversation between a Google co-founder and a PR person, Cutts walked through the debunking of Google “being in bed” with the CIA.

The main argument Cutts makes is that Google fought off the Justice Department’s subpoena for search records in a very public fashion; why do that if those records would go to the Government in the first place?

The paranoid among us would respond that ‘Google didn’t want DoJ to discover the CIA link,’ and had to fight off a rogue element of DoJ pursuing the case. See how easy it is to make a theory fit the facts?

I did find it interesting that Cutts mentioned ECHELON and NSA in his CIA response. Long before I’d ever heard of the search engine rock star, the scuttlebutt making the rounds among techies in the early days of Google’s Internet debut was that Google represented a public implementation of ECHELON.

Google worked so much better than AltaVista or any other search engine that it had to be a government plot, y’see. A couple of college kids coming up with the algorithms? Nah, had to be something backed by DARPA. It’s all a plot.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

Debunking Matt Cutts
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