Google blips

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Tue Oct 1 01:28:17 UTC 2002

>From CNN--or Google for "Google blips":

'Google blips': Search not always right

PALO ALTO, Calif. (Reuters) -- It has been said that hell has many levels,
and apparently some people see software giant Microsoft Corp. at its core.

At least that's according to the search engine Google, which when given a
query for the term "go to hell," kicks back the home page of the world's
largest software maker -- a rather humorous result, considering Google's
reputation for producing the most accurate search results.

Microsoft's corporate rivals should not be so quick to chuckle, however.

The official home pages for AOL Time Warner Inc.'s America Online division
and for Walt Disney Co. also come in among the top five results under the "go
to hell" query. (AOL Time Warner is the parent company of CNN.)

But how does Microsoft beat a site called for top ranking in the "go
to hell" category, on a search engine that made a reputation putting the most
relevant results first?

Microsoft's detractors

The easiest answer is that Microsoft has a lot of enemies.

Although Google offered no explanation on the "go to hell" matter, Google's
site is famous for its "link analysis" method of producing search results.
When users enter a word or term, they get back not just those Web sites
containing that term but other sites as well, that are linked to those that
contain the word or phrase, in question.

Microsoft's home page, in other words, may not contain the phrase "go to
hell" anywhere, but there are apparently a lot of other sites out there that
mention Microsoft (or AOL, or Disney) and going to hell in the same context.

"I call them Google blips," said Danny Sullivan, editor of SearchEngineWatch,
an industry newsletter. "These are the things that happen when Web sites
start linking to other Web sites. It just means that there are probably a lot
of people who don't like Microsoft, and that is not a surprise."

Sullivan has tracked the search engine industry for years and has multiple
examples of the way links between different Web sites have produced
misleading search results.


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