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Google’s Matt Cutts: I Was Worried We’d Be Crushed By Altavista

Cutts reflects on his early days at Google

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Google posted a video this week of a presentation from Matt Cutts at the 2012 Korea Webmaster Conference. He talks a bit about “the evolution of search”.

He starts off talking about Yahoo in the early days, which he says is “a little strange” to call a search engine, “because Yahoo started out as a hand-compiled list of links. So, an individual person would decide what category to put things in, and they would decide whether it deserved to be in a certain category or not. The problem with that is that it doesn’t scale very well. You need to find a search engine that can work across the breadth of the entire web, or else it isn’t going to be as useful for every kind of query that people get.”

The whole first section is really a history lesson in search, but it’s interesting to hear him talk about his early days with Google.

“Whenever I joined Google, we were a start-up, so there was less than 100 people, whenever I joined Google,” he said. “And at the time, I was worried that we would be crushed by Altavista. Google was a tiny company. Altavista was a huge company. But Google has something that the other search engines at that time did not do. We looked at the links pointing to web pages.”

He later said, “I remember whenever I started out at Google, I went and I talked to another company. And they had a list of results that they called featured, and they had a list that they called partnered. And I said, ‘What’s the difference between a featured result and a partner result?’ And the company said, there’s no difference at all. Everything is paid for. And that didn’t seem fair at the time.”

“I’m proud that even to this day, you can’t pay to get a higher ranking on Google,” he said.

It’s a 45-minute-long presentation, so you may want to check it out if you have a bit of time to kill.

Google’s Matt Cutts: I Was Worried We’d Be Crushed By Altavista
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  • Ken Henry

    Just as Chris started with a hard to imagine a company of 100 people, He knew the information to ask for.
    I have had opportunity in my “insignificant”, (relative I’m beginning to realize to ones vision, never to use the word again, “insignificant”)
    I had opportunity to answer questions early in my beginning with Google Groups/ Map-It.
    I thought by asking how to put google Maps on my page so I could accomplish the unique family, any group of importancei, School trip, wedding&, etc. On the map!/ very place for future memories, I was. Afraid to ask because I feared it only showed my technical inadequacy . Thus disqualification of getting an answer or hands on help.
    One often stops dreaming and brain storming when you see your personal liabilities!

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