NYT Gets The Goods On Google

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When SEOmoz’s Rand Fishkin calls something “quite possibly the best mainstream media article about Google, or modern search technology, in the last 5 years,” it’s pretty much our duty to cover it.  When Rand Fishkin writes 800 words about said article, well . . . we know better than to condense and summarize.

Here’s the original article, then, straight from Saul Hansell of the New York TimesFishkin calls it “informative to even those . . . most deeply inside the search industry . . .”

Matt Cutts gave his opinion about the piece, as well; though he was “a little worried” about having Hansell hang around the Googleplex, Cutts feels the article “does a good job of describing search quality at Google.”

Interested?  Well, summarization just isn’t practical, but hitting the highlights might be.  Fishkin begins by noting, “It’s nice to hear . . . that the current competitive advantage is primarily about the relevance of results.”  Furthermore, “The Google bug system reminds us that behind all the magic, human beings toil to ensure quality, compare individual results and make tweaks based upon the best aggregate changes.”

There’s also some fairly straightforward talk about the freshness of Google’s results.  “It’s nice to get confirmation and feel the vindication of this transparency, but there’s also a lesson to be learned – Google isn’t perfect and they often look inward,” writes Fishkin.  “The note that this problem wasn’t addressed until the query ‘Google Finance’ didn’t show ‘Google Finance’ is strong evidence that Google is like many other companies.  Things don’t get fixed unless the folks internally feel the pain of the problem.”

Then, at the very end of Fishkin’s coverage, comes another rush of information, which he describes as “a lot of confirmation about what many have only theorized until now.”  At stake are “200 signals of quality . . . a classification system that attempts to determine query intent and an automated system to determine diversity.”

Again, this write-up is meant as more of a heads-up than a substitute for reading the real thing.  When you’ve got time to read and process about 4,000 words’ worth of text, Saul Hansell’s original piece is definitely worth a look.

NYT Gets The Goods On Google
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