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The Internet

Google Propping Up Yahoo In Search Results? 141

c170 writes: "The position of results that point to Yahoo's pages have changed since Google and Yahoo inked their alliance." Definitely an interesting article, but not really enough statistics to prove anything ... still, definitely enough to keep your eyes peeled in the future.
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Google Propping up Yahoo in Search Results?

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    While I don't tend to use Google directly, I have noticed epinions and certain other front-page-only large name sites popping up in my search results from the googlepowered yahoo. This generally happens when I'm searching for a combination of two or more terms in which one term is something well-known (Like, say, "Rainbow Brite") and the other is something that will almost never show up in combination with the first. (like, say, hentai.) Go on, search [yahoo.com] for those terms in combination on Yahoo, and notice that epinions, Nintendo, and Nickelodeon turn up in the results. (And if you know what hentai means, you know there's no way that it should legitimately return Nickelodeon.) Run the same search on google, and those same suspicious sites do show up - but at the very end of the search results.

    What does this mean? Only the little green men can say.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    OMG, Compaq may be violating GPL!!! Someone ask /.!

    Yes, this was a mistake, and should have been further researched before committing to the story. OTOH, stuff like this keeps people on their toes and gets them thinking, or maybe even gets a newbie to read up on software licensing, which earns more collective knowledge for the community.

    Run for the hills! Google is pimping Yahoo!

    You might not care, and I would bet that most people don't care, but I sure as hell do, and many other people do too. No, I'm not suggesting we make some absurd law to prevent this, but now that I know, I can make an informed choice on whether or not I support this business model, and I don't. It's a matter of principle, just like many of the privacy issues you see argued here on Slashdot.

    A private company decided not to publish DeCSS -- it's the end of free speech as we know it!

    Again, I like to know what's going on with public opinion about the issues that are important to me.

    *Red Alert* Corporations try to make money *Red Alert*

    We've all seen this one before, probably many times before. I'll admit that some of the Slashdot community is very immature and/or anal about particular issues, but then again, if you don't like it, you don't have to read Slashdot. Maybe you're better off reading ZDNet or some other news site that can't think for itself.

  • Wow, I may need to add a whole new category on my page !

    Thanks!
  • NEAR is my favorite search operator, i.e. cow NEAR brown

    The only place I know that supports it is altavista. Does any other engine support "NEAR" ?
  • I just did a quick search on a couple of my pages. Searches for either "bat house" or "bat poetry" list my pages first. Of course the subject is a bit specialized... :-)

    http://batbox.org/ [batbox.org]
  • I don't think very many regular web users know about Google, and Yahoo is trying to be proactive and doing something before they start losing eyeballs. This way anyone defecting to Google would still be getting search results pointing to Yahoo... some may click on them even.
  • CT can definately spell.

    Now we'll just have to start working on peel and its derivations.
  • ...of the ongoing prostitution of formerly trustworthy search tools is the fate that befell WebFerret [The only way to search the Web!] after Ferretsoft was gobbled-up by ZDNet.

    WebFerret lives locally on your Window$ box and meta-searches 12 of the major search engines simultaneously.

    Since ZDNet ate WebFerret's parent company, when you use the latest release of WebFerret, any search whatsoever always returns five links for the search topic into ZDNet-owned search/directory services, no matter the fact that many times these five ZDNet links will contain absoulutely no links outward to pages relevant to your search topic.

    I just entered v,>0ads43# into a WebFerret search, and it promptly returned:

    http://www.search.com/search?q=v,%3E0ads43%23&chan nel=1&ref=wfv,>0ads43#
    Complete list of v,>0ads43# sites. Not Rated

    http://cnet.search.com/search?q=v,%3E0ads43%23&ref =wfv,>0ads43# - technology
    Comprehensive technology info on v,>0ads43#. Not Rated

    http://www.help.com/cgi-perl/search.pl?query=v,%3E 0ads43%23v,>0ads43# - help
    Help and discussion on v,>0ads43#. Not Rated

    http://download.cnet.com/downloads/1,10150,0-10001 -103-0-1-7,00.html?qt=v,%3E0ads43%23&cn= &ca=10001v,>0ads43# - downloads
    Free v,>0ads43# downloads. Not Rated

    http://news.cnet.com/news/search/results/1,10199,0 -1002,00.html?qt=v,%3E0ads43%23&cn=&ca=1 002 v,>0ads43# - news
    Recent v,>0ads43# news. Not Rated

    ...all of which is obviously nonsense.

    (And no, WebFerret didn't find any other hits for v,>0ads43# ;-)

    t_t_b
    --
    I think not; therefore I ain't®

  • damn them and their free enterprise!

    I for one, have not noticed any decrease in the relevance of a given search on google, and I use it incessantly. Leave them alone and let them make their money sans banner ads.

  • Nothing like a good holy war to spice up search engines.
    --
  • What about listen.com?

    AARGH! I was looking for pages about a band (can't remember which), and my google results kept coming up with lots of results like "foo-listen.com", which when you clicked on them all redirected to listen.com.

    Grumble.

    --
  • Yes, Infoseek. Altavista also experimented with it, very quietly. No word on if they succeeded. Try using the keywords sex, computers, games, and news and see if any of the responses from the search engine are fishy.

    --

  • This is very old news, infact, slashdot reported it about 4 weeks ago, IIRC. This is great for Google, but more importantly for us - because it represents an alternative to ADVERTISING, which all the other search engines have been co-opted into doing.

    Google does do advertising, yes, but it is obvious - they do not attempt to hide it like some [lycos.com] search engines.

    So, uhh, call me selfish, but this is good for me and therefore I fully endorse this move. =)

    --

  • It seems to be that there is a cynical bias on this issue. I personally have a theory that is not based on a mis-appropriation of google results, but rather pure technical know how. Since Yahoo partnered with google, they need to have their information indexed. It makes sense that google has most of it indexed, but it's unlikely that every page yahoo has generated is in google's index. So, google needs to index every page they have. It only makes sense that google would have more accurate results by thoroughly indexing yahoo. The issue that people are having is that the yahoo index isn't sectioned off into it's own little cluster, but part of the larger index in google. It's simply the fact that google has a more complete index of the yahoo pages, not because yahoo is paying for search results.
  • The Google directory uses the Open Directory for it's Web directory.
  • I like the Google directory better. Try searching on Google for "everquest" then click on the 'category' link right above the first result.

    Google also has the largest database so it seems unlikely that altavista will ever find more results (unless it's spam or duplicates)

  • As one who only occasionally dabbles in conspiracies as a passing hobby, I object to the improved ranking only as a knee-jerk reaction. I was one of the last to know about Yahoo listing results for money, and that was what really caused me to leave for Google. The results were worth the move. Although I had noticed more Yahoo pages showing up, I'm still finding what I want faster than before. I'm still mostly finding stuff on the first link or first page. As long as I keep finding what I'm looking for quickly, I'll keep using Google. When I start finding advertising pushed before content (like Yahoo previously) I'll move. The early Google served a need that others had forgotten. If they forget, someone will reinvent the wheel. And I'll ride that one.
  • Methinks I've been one-upped :) I'll have to get me some of that Mozilla stuff.

  • If you're using Netscape, you can go to the Netscape Search page and set up Google to always be your search engine. In Netscape 4.x, this is the flashlight icon on the tool bar. Then you can do Google searches by typing '? search terms' in the Location: box. It's very convenient and skips having to go to any other page.

  • Yes! I started noticing this last week or so. In fact, when I saw this story on /., I had to look into it find out if I was the only one seeing this epinions weirdness. I didn't write down the searches I used, but there was a variety of them that led to epinions' home page, for no discernible reason.
  • Nope. Yahoo pages have always shown up in Google searches. The article makes this clear. I've seen it myself as well.

    -- Michael Chermside

  • I guess I'll do my searches -yahoo from now on.

    --------------
    Brooks138
  • You could do all the above things in Python - although I think you probably mean X client, since in X parlance applications are servers and that thing wot displays them is the client.

    Writing an X client in Python - or Java - is a fairly stupid idea, incidentally. X is slow enough as it is without needing interpretive overhead care of the implementation language.

    Java is like a master magician whereas Python is like a prentice mage.
    I should stop replying to trolls.

  • Note that there's a huge difference between "large enough to be obvious to me" and something that is happening across the board, on all searches. It's like flipping a coin and noticing that in 10 flips, 8 times it landed on heads, and concluding from that that the coin is rigged. Is it not also completely possible that the coin is not rigged? I haven't seen a single match on google for eopinions. I don't even know what eopinions is. This suggests to me that this is a localized phenom. where eopinions scores well on the searches you run.
  • Good for geeks of course. If you attend one type of people mostly is easier to do it very well. :-)
    --
    "take the red pill and you stay in wonderland and I'll show you how deep the rabitt hole goes"
  • What do you /. readers prefer for a search engine? I prefer Google. Gets the job done easily with no clutter of useless features like Yahoo! Mail, Games, Credit Cards, all that other junk. Yeah I know this is kinda off topic, so please go easy on me moderators :)

    -PovRayMan
  • I feel your pain regarding most not reading the article, but I digress.

    Before we jump to conclusion, wouldn't it be nice if a slashdot staff can attempt to reach google and get a decent explainataion for why this is happening?

    I have always wondered how easy it will be to fool page ranking technology, by having a lot of bogus pages link to you. If yahoo is high, then pages that yahoo point to must be rated somewhat high, if I can get those pages to point to my pages, i can earn high mark as well. I am only guessing. Hopefully google will fix this problem, when I do specializes searchs. I usually only search in the .edu domain anyway, thus saving myself from tons of commericalized content.

  • Ahem,
    I totally understand the need for ads to generate revenue. But if the 'adds' is re-ordering search results that compromises quality and the whole purpose of search engine. I would rather see relevent search results and some ugly, animating banners instead.

    Wasn't there another search engined tried to do the same some time back. ie 'sponsors' pages were ranked first.

    LinuxLover
  • Taco takes job at MicroSoft!
  • the peeling of the bells?

    At least keeping our eyes pealed answers the age old question of what the sound of green is.

    :-P
  • For general searches, I use google. Sometimes I'm looking for some technical information and I can't get google to find it for me and I'll use raging or deja. If I'm looking for a place which sells an item, I use goto. Occasionally I'll use askjeeves when I have a question I think it would know.
  • I've been following the wonderful world of search engines for several years in my role as web educator and maintainer for a University library. Skewed results seem to be an inevitable part of commercial engines - Alta Vista, et. al. were doing it long before Google burst on the scene. One of the great weaknesses of the Internet is the inadequacy of search engines and directories in support of serious research. While librarians seem to think that they could nicely organize the whole thing, I have my doubts that Dublin Core metadata or some extension of MARC into site classification will ever solve the problem. That said, Google is still probably the best general, "comprehensive" search tool available today. Expecting dispassionate morality from a business entity, however, is naive -- so naive that I'm a bit surprised that SlashDot's cynical staffers find it noteworthy. If you'd like to dip into the sordid world of internet search tools check out Search Engine Watch [searchenginewatch.com] -- it's a good starting point to find out about business relationships as well as characteristics and performance of the various engines.
  • How about this?

    Google might not only measure links to pages, but also counts users which use a link to a page. If Yahoo feeds in link hits from Yahoo directory users, than Yahoo sites will go up in the google rankings.

    From a business perspective Yahoo has every power to demand from their search machine provider, to rank their pages high. Advertising is Yahoo's main income stream. Feeding in link hits could be a way to do it in a more soft way. It could explain the slow change of rankings, if the data given isn't wrong.
  • Personally, I'm a metacrawler man.
  • Or, you could just include "-yahoo.com" in the normal search field.
  • How narrow is Google's definition of Authority, or how broadly does a high ranking apply?

    If it isn't narrow enough, it would be easier for all the random Yahoos to skew Google's results away from genuinely good medical sites.

    I suspect this is a matter of tuning, and Google has massively skewed their data collection by adding Yahoo, so they will need some time to correct for it.

    I still highly doubt that Google is selling ranking postions, as that would send us off to the next search engine, (and there will be more & more intellegent search engines.)
  • For that sort of data, all you need is a very fast text search. You mean like grep? :)
  • On August 22nd and 23rd, I asked Yahoo to search for "asfrecorder". It came up with *0* hits. I then went directly to Google and did the same search. It came up with 59 hits.

    I complained to Yahoo about the lack of hits on their site, and after several exchanges on this, they stopped replying to my email.

    I note that today Yahoo comes up with 45 hits, while Google comes up with 181 hits.

    Lesson to be learned: if you want Google results, go directly to Google.
  • I'd fogotten about than bookmark-javascript stuff, but I'd never thought of this...

    I hate to ask, but can it be made to work with IE?
  • And remember to make your cookie file and preferences.js read only. The first to get better deals on amazon and the second to stop netscape from overwriting this nifty search script. Thanks for the hack
  • If my wording was a little stong, it is because I am sick of seeing comments on slashdot with no real content other than pure speculation being moderated up. Didn't mean to offend, but you also could have made your comment really informative (+3) by including some examples. With so many a-hole trolls and flamebaiters posting trash on /. these days, it is hard to pick out real comments from junk.

    Anyway, have a jolly day.
  • mailto:spacecow10@hotmail.com

    I'm tired of people anti-spamming their hotmail accounts.

    spacecow10@hotmail.com

    I'm posting anonymously because I'm moderating.


    What is the big deal? Why does this bother you? Yes, I get 5-10 spam emails a day on hotmail anyway, but do I want more? No. Do I use the built in spam filter? Yes. Are you posting this because you honestly want to email me and are pissed cause you have to cut off .org from the end of my email? I guess I just don't get where you are coming from with this.
  • I think you are mistaken. Here is a simple experiment (disclaimer: this is a product I wrote an epinions review for):

    Google Search [google.com]

    Resulting Epinions link [epinions.com]

    This is not a link to the main epinions page. It is a link for the exact item searched for. Here is anothe r one [google.com]. My advice to you: put up or shut up. Really, instead of just saying you have noticed something, prove it and people might listen.
  • I use Yahoo almost exclusively and since they changed over to Google, the old links that I always used are not there anymore. Actually, nothing that I'm looking for is there anymore.

    I guess it's back to Altavista.

  • Personally, I still prefer Raging.com/Altavista.com over Google because of it's query strength. The trick is in knowing how to enter queries properly.

    I'll admit, though -- for the AOL crowd, Google is certainly the way to go.

  • So what's your point? The person you're responding to never said anything about a right to use Google. He did talk about a right to know if they're screwing around with their search result precedence to make a buck.

    That's my point. You have no right to know that. It would be nice, but you have no right to it at all.

    You know what? He's correct. The source for this story had every right to analyze Google's operation in the way that he did, and he has every right to disseminate this information, and users have every right to pick another search engine. All of these rights seem perfectly reasonable, to me.

    And to me. If you read my post you'll see that I suggest using another engine if you find google doesn't work for you. Nowhere do I suggest that you should not talk about their practices or methods. I maintain you have no right to demand anything from google. Anything.

    Search engines perform a task that is somewhat "journalistic" in nature. In the long term, they're going to need to develop something like journalistic integrity in order to maintain the respect of most users. Giving preference to people who are paying you to do so without disclosing to users that you are doing this is probably a violation of this integrity. Not punisble by law, but certainly worthy of censure in the public eye.

    Well and good, and I agree. Now please explains how this bestows any rights to the public to demand anything from google.

  • Your missing my point,and thats my fault, I didn't express it fully.

    This is perhaps the most refreshing statement I have read in a comment to date. ;)
    It's also entirely possible that you are correct, I still disagree, though not as vehemently as before.

    Lets say that you offered Oil changes for free to anyone who wants to drive up to your house. You provide free oil, and a free oil filter. Great service. Now, after a year or two of this, you decide that you are no longer going to change the oil filters, just change the oil. (of course changing the filter, as many people know, is part of a proper oil change).
    You know what, thats fine, and you have EVERY RIGHT to do that. However, the people who are getting the change have the RIGHT to know that you have changed the service that you are giving them, and it is no longer what they expect.

    Perhaps, in fact yes. You can argue that safety is an issue. Cars can kill when they don't work. Search engines don't. I understand analogies aren't ideal and the point you are trying to make. I think that Google has a responsibility to provide us with this information, I don't believe we have a right to it. It's a sad fact, but not everyone lives up to their responsibilities.

    It is WRONG to pretend to continue to provide a service, when you are not really providing it. This is a signifigant change in the type of service.

    Again, I am in total agreement. I just do not feel we have a right to the information under the circumstances.

    Noone has a "Right" to use the service. They do, however, have a right to know WHAT is being offered to them.

    What is being offered is search results. Google has never made their algorithims public knowledge, and we shouldn't expect them to do so now. We (at least I) have been using google for some time now not knowing definitivly how they rank their results.

    Though I share your frustration, and would love to know what's going on, I just don't feel like it's a right that has been taken away from me.

  • Correct,but if other yahoo pages linked to these, and those pages weren't indexed, their rank would be lower. Remember that google looks at how many people link to a page when determining rank.
    --
    Mike Mangino
    Sr. Software Engineer, SubmitOrder.com
  • You mean this? [altavista.com] Follow the Advanced Search link on the left navbar from AV's homepage.

    Or, if you prefer text mode, [altavista.com] you can get something pretty close to Raging, but with Boolean operators and date ranges.

    Every day we're standing in a wind tunnel/Facing down the future coming fast - Rush
  • ...at least until they stopped including Google results in their combined listings. Still, they have a good idea and if they could fine tune it they could probably do even better. Too bad they are so dependant on ad revenue and subject to the other search engines incestuous relationships to each other.

    Take a look for yourself. [debriefing.com]

  • Offcourse this sort of thing is bound to happen with such an alliance.

    The thing to do then is offcourse to search multiple search engines simultaniously.
    Which you do easiest at http://findfu.com [findfu.com] :)
  • scary, but true... hasn't been a good day for these folks...
    --
  • That time was on purpose, just like this one... I'm not a chowderhead - I had Manwich for dinner, not chowder... err...

    No Clevelan Steamers, thanks (I'll leave those to Marv Albert)
    --
  • >yeah like that comment really deserves a 2..

    >who's the moron that modded this up? come clean, shit for brains.

    That would be me fogetting not to use the "No Score +1 Bonus" button. Think about it.
    --
  • Yeah, I've noticed a ton of cases of the latter point (root pages showing up).

    Try searching for creative apartment ethernet [google.com], you'll see nearly 3 pages of links to root pages (with a few non-root-pages sprinkled throughout).

    Or search for epinions latex [google.com], it'll come up with epinion's root page, even though google's cached version of epinion's root page contains no occurances of the word "latex".

    These are possible explanations:

    • 1) Sites are paying google to get their home pages, and google changed their code.
    • 2) Google really really values root pages because most links are to root pages (pure speculation), so those get ranked first, and google's code sometimes ignore some of your search terms making an assumption that you messed up.

      3) Similar to 2, the coders made an assumption that root pages are good, so they upped their scores artificially.

    Then again, if you search for basking robbins ice cream [google.com], it doesn't give you www.baskinrobbins.com anywhere, but rather gives you epinions.com/ as the third link. How the search engine came up with that, I'll never know.

    So yes, I think that google traded quality for profit.
    --

  • What is being offered is search results. Google has never made their algorithims public knowledge, and we shouldn't expect them to do so now. We (at least I) have been using google for some time now not knowing definitivly how they rank their results.

    On the other hand, google clearly displays information about what their algorithm does not do (see here [google.com]):

    • Google's complex, automated search methods preclude human interference. Unlike other search engines, Google is structured so no one can purchase a higher PageRank or commercially alter results. A Google search is an honest and objective way to find high-quality websites, easily.
    So, if indeed they're taking money from other sites, then they are clearly lying. (search for creative ethernet apartment [google.com] and only 10% of the links on the first three pages will have all three words in them, the rest are corporate home pages).

    Okay, it's mostly legal for a site to lie, but I find it exceedingly irritating when a company bases a large part of its image on being the only good one in the pack, builds a large customer base off of that, and then directly violates their image (lying is a definite way to do that).

    Not illegal, but definitely hypocritical, especially for a company that asserts itself as a company that wouldn't do any funny business like be hypocritcal.
    --

  • Yes, I deliberately misspelled it. I was also testing my hypothesis that Google might throw out a search term if it thought it could find a much better site by doing so.
    --
  • ice cream basking robbins [google.com] (3rd)

    playstation capcom software monkey [google.com] (15th)

    snow cedars elegance snot [google.com] (1st, only hit)

    gumbo pot above frogs [google.com] (5th)

    gerber forks babies in the ass [google.com] (1st)


    You'll notice that even though google lists http://epinions.com/ as a hit in all these searches, you won't find all the searched words on their root page. Google's queries search for "all words", so I don't see how it could have come up with these hits, let alone how it would have ranked the root page that high.
    --

  • This is my personal not-too-in-depth opinion, but I've noticed that Google's search reults have changed a fair amount in the last couple months, mostly becoming less useful. I've noticed this happen on all sorts of searches, not just portals.

    I still think Google's the best though. And this could be my imagination, so if someone else has noticed this, please post a reply.
    --

  • Why do I have to pick one? They all serve different purposes.

    If I'm looking for a very high-profile site (e.g. "Coca Cola"), or I'm looking for specific information that is likely to be out there somewhere (e.g. "Albert Schweitzer bio"), I use Google.

    If I'm looking for a list of sites with a particular topic (e.g. "Everquest"), I use Yahoo.

    If I'm looking for any information that is unlikely to actually be out there (e.g. dirt on my ex-girlfriends,) or very specific text that may or may not be out there (e.g. "We've got a gorilla for sale, Magilla gorilla for sale"), I use Altavista, because it seems to do the most exhaustive search.

    Of course, having said all that, Google does have the nicest design by far. If Google could give me everything that I need from a search engine, I'd be happy to use it exclusively.
  • f I'm looking for a list of sites with a particular topic (e.g. "Everquest"), I use Yahoo.

    I'd encourage you, and others looking based on topic, to actuall use the Open Directory Project [dmoz.org] first. It's passed Yahoo in size, and is usually better maintained. That, and the fact that if you see a category is rather weak, you can always sign up to update it yourself.


    ---
  • Hell, Google was probably good largely because it was popular with geeks.

    Good for searching for geek things, or good in general?

    --

  • #include "subject:"
    a company that indexes data should never out-right remove data from its index unless its incorrect. I mean making that MD directory dissapear to create more hits for yahoo is counter the aims of the google engine [to get you information].

    Now, maybe its financially sound for them to do it since yahoo gives them money, but its a bad trend to start since the more people who are willing to pay (and I bet there's a bunch) the less your going to be able to get from each them in the end (for example its hard to push advertising prices up unless its a special event or something). I think such a financial outlook is short termed and potentially dammaging to their reputation, which is a terribly important factor for sites like these.

    -Daniel
  • Except that Google's page ranking algorithm (based on links to and from other relevant pages) would be useless for ranking Usenet posts. There is no Usenet equivalent of the hyperlink, only threading and article references. For that sort of data, all you need is a very fast text search.
  • > Claiming a right to a free service is absurd.
    > Google is and remains an excellent, free,
    > service. If it stops being free, or
    > the quality starts to suffer -- stop using it!

    Your missing my point,and thats my fault, I didn't express it fully.

    Lets say that you offered Oil changes for free to anyone who wants to drive up to your house. You provide free oil, and a free oil filter.

    Great service. Now, after a year or two of this, you decide that you are no longer going to change the oil filters, just change the oil. (of course changing the filter, as many people know, is part of a proper oil change).

    You know what, thats fine, and you have EVERY RIGHT to do that. However, the people who are getting the change have the RIGHT to know that you have changed the service that you are giving them, and it is no longer what they expect.

    When you provide a search engine, you are making the implict statment to the world that if they type in keywords or some search expression, your engine will use that expression and its own heuristics to find BEST MATCHES.

    If you change your service to allo wBEST MATCHES to be "overridden" by corperate interest, then the public who uses it has a RIGHT to know that you are doing this, because you are no longer providing the service that they have come to expect from you.

    It is WRONG to pretend to continue to provide a service, when you are not really providing it. This is a signifigant change in the type of service.

    When you offer something to the community, be it for free or for pay, you are making a promise to provide THAT SERVICE. If you decide to discontinue offering it, thats fine. However offering a different service instead, without telling people, is trickery at best. It is just plain wrong.

    Noone has a "Right" to use the service. They do, however, have a right to know WHAT is being offered to them.

    --Steve
  • And this explains the disappearance of the high-quality, relevant medical directories from a commanding place in the top 15 into nothingness how? In itself, the rise of Yahoo! pages could be explained innocently, but combined with the disappearance of the formerly high-ranking alternatives, it does not smell of fish, it reeks of a chemically poisoned lake full of dead fish and a metric shitload of rat.

    Stefan.
    It takes a lot of brains to enjoy satire, humor and wit-

  • Now what the fsck sort of a comment is that! Did you read the story? So its great for Google that where they were once doing a good job of finding directory sites due to their link based analysis, they are now finding only Yahoo!
    Are you on drugs? Are you the Signal11 that means I'm gonna get my karma slapped?
    NOTHING IN THIS IS ABOUT ADVERTISING so why are you shouting about it? This is actually bad news for Google as it appears to be demonstrable evidence that their deal with Yahoo has caused them to lose one of their competitive advantages. how long before your precious advertising limitations are gone and will that be good for Google?
  • This isn't necessarily a conspiracy between Google and Yahoo, there is a possibility that so many people link to Yahoo that it skews the results that way.

    I wonder if you read the same article I read. The one I read mentioned how the author had tested against very specific topics in the medical fields. Topics that people wouldn't link to Yahoo!, because Yahoo! doesn't really have much in the way of information about medicine. The chances that people are linking to Yahoo! on these topics is minimal, which is why the findings are so striking.

    This may not necessarily show a conspiracy, but it does show that changes to Google's orignal algorithm have occurred, likely due to the new partnership between Yahoo! and Google. The article was simply pointing out that the relevancy of Google's results is not as high as it once was, due to this relationship.

  • Claiming a right to a free service is absurd. Google is and remains an excellent, free, service. If it stops being free, or the quality starts to suffer -- stop using it!

    So what's your point? The person you're responding to never said anything about a right to use Google. He did talk about a right to know if they're screwing around with their search result precedence to make a buck.

    You know what? He's correct. The source for this story had every right to analyze Google's operation in the way that he did, and he has every right to disseminate this information, and users have every right to pick another search engine. All of these rights seem perfectly reasonable, to me.

    Search engines perform a task that is somewhat "journalistic" in nature. In the long term, they're going to need to develop something like journalistic integrity in order to maintain the respect of most users. Giving preference to people who are paying you to do so without disclosing to users that you are doing this is probably a violation of this integrity. Not punisble by law, but certainly worthy of censure in the public eye.

  • The Inktomi-based Yahoo results can be found at HotBot [lycos.com], another Inktomi-based engine.
    <O
    ( \
    XGNOME vs. KDE: the game! [8m.com]
  • Actually, you can just go here [google.com] and add google search buttons to your netscape personal toolbar with a click and drag.
  • It's a fact, Yahoo URLs come up more and more often in Google. Weither it's from malicious code from the Google folks or simply Yahoo adapting their pages to get better results in it, I don't know and so I'll leave the speculation to the experts. =)

    However, I do know that if I'm making a search in Google, I don't care to find a list of links on Yahoo as a result (else I would have used Yahoo, don't you think?).

    So, to get rid of Yahoo results, simply make your search at Google Advanced Search page (http://www.google.com/advanced_search.ht ml [google.com]) and put "yahoo.com in the "exclude" field.
    Et voilà! No more Yahoo pages showing up in google.

    -Earthling

  • In a sense, this posting is a little premature. But give /. a break. We expect the most recent developments as rapidly as possible. Sometimes that means making a choice between reliability and speed. I would hope that we are intelligent enough to realize that this article is premature and treat it accordingly.

    The article raises some serious questions that some of the slashdot audience may not be aware of. Just how fair are search engine results. If you consider how much power search engines wield over the content of the internet that gets read, you'll realize just how important it is that search engines take fairness seriously. If you can bribe search engines to not list sites, you effectively have censorship. This is something that needs to be verified. If it is happening, there might be a definite need for a non-profit search engine to keep the other search engines honest.

  • How will they make their money? This question was answered a few weeks ago here on /. The answer [slashdot.org]

    One thing to remember about all this is that Google's results are also influenced by how many sites are linking to that particular website. If I were to do a search for my name on the internet, the results would first show www.fruvous.com's pages that had my name. The second would be pages at Photopoint.com. Third would be a newsgroup archive page that has a couple of my posts in it, and then my actual homepage. Why? Fruvous.com and PhotopPoint.com are far more popular to link to than www.rit.edu.

    What it feels like is happening here is that the pertnership may have upped the score a little bit from sites that are lined from yahoo.com because there are more links directly from yahoo->google.

    Of course, I could be wrong.
  • I read the article, and I'm familiar with the concept of how Google determins its rankings. It and www.directhit.com used fundementally different tactics then had previously been employed by the likes of Altavista, WebCrawler, and what have you. Google as I understand it uses a formula where a pages value is determined by the value of the pages linked to it. The pages linking to it's value is determined by the value of the pages that link to it tranferse X links in all directions. So for medical sites, not my forte, but any specialized subject will do, a repository of specialized knowledge which is linked to a lot of other repositories of specialized knowledge will have a high score on Google. Presumeably because each of the repositories will have had many people linking to them. Where as a lot of geocities homepages with a link to Yahoo.com will not have a high score as the individual geocities pages though great in number will not have a high scores themselves as they are not well linked to. Google does also take into account the usual stuff: meta tags, placement of keywords in the title, the body, how close together multiple keywords are etc. etc. All this goes into a "secret formula" which determines the pages ranking on a particular search. Combined with this secret formula which could well have been modified based on their recent agreement with Yahoo as suggested by this article, Google also has excellent spider technology. Now DirectHit relies on people in addition to the usual meta tags, number of occurences of the word, giving greater weight to having the word appear in the title, proximity of mulitple keywords to each other etc, in DirectHit the page that ranks the highest is the one the most people who've performed an identical search to you chose to click on. And example works best: If you perform a query on direct hit for I don't know "news for nerds" you get the benefit of everyone else who has ever performed a search on "news for nerds" if they all chose www.slashdot.org and due to the placement and occurences of "news for nerds" prominantly on the site itself slashdot could well be returned first for this querry. back to work... Muskie
  • Could be. I watch my web server referer logs (the only thing I log) and of all the search engine requests, all but 3 have come from yahoo.com. Now they all come from google.yahoo.com. Its disgusting.

    (the other ones were from hotbot.com and altavista.com) Someone should spread the word about Google..

  • What, someone is surprised that after a billion dollar agreement Yahoo! would come away with just a better search service? Not likely. Yahoo used to have the second best search engine on the Internet, but too many people were leaving to use Google instead. I think Yahoo discovered this, and instead of losing their precious ad revenue, they fed huge amounts of money to Google (which has never made too much money) for their 'search service' but mostly to move their own directory listings up. There was nothing wrong with Yahoo's service, except everyone and their mother knew you had to pay them to be listed on the first 10 searches.

    Are you surprised? I'm not.

  • I wouldn't be surprised if this were true. Many other search engines not only rate websites higher if they pay but also shower us with ads. Googles website is so sparse and beautiful, I never thought it could last. How will they make their money? Only by hosting searchs from other sites? Somehow I doubt this is all they had in mind. Also, is this really a bad thing. What difference does it make if it shows Yahoo!'s sites first or some other random site. Many times the site Google chooses to list first is a little strange.

    In all fairness, I haven't noticed this to be the case (and I always use Google). In my experience, Google gives far and away the most useful replies to my queries, and I don't see any deal with Yahoo! changing this.

  • Yeah, about the time /. merges with the 'Weekly World News'. I see the headline 'END TIMES NEAR! STATUE OF NATALIE PORTMAN WEEPS HOT GRITS!'
  • Sigh. The David Letterman crowd wouldn't get it, but this is far funnier than anything on the list above. :)
  • News for Conspirators, Theories that matter.

    WTF?? "not really enough statistics to prove anything" but still on the front page, with the ever-paranoid sounding rhetorical question? where is the Geek Compound? in Area 51?

    You know, what? I got me a theory: the /. crew is posting this paranoid drivel (GPL violations, Amazon paranoia, now this) to get pageviews up because half the people fall for that shit, and another hald (me included) can't believe this is what this site has sunk to. And I am helping. Of course this is because I do work for Andover.Net Inc, but that's another story.

  • by /dev/niall ( 1043 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @10:49AM (#782203)
    The problem is not the making of an alliance.
    The problem is that they appear to be doing what many companies do. They have realised that they can make profit easier by decreasing quality.
    An alliance is one thing. However compromising the quality of a service in the process means that the community of people who use it suffers.
    The community thus has a RIGHT to know that this is going on, so that they can make an informed decision on whether or not to continue the use of that service.

    How do you figure you have a right to anything from Google? Did you pay them? Can you point me to any written proof of such a right?

    Claiming a right to a free service is absurd. Google is and remains an excellent, free, service. If it stops being free, or the quality starts to suffer -- stop using it!

    I'm sure you have plenty of rights being abused that would better deserve your attention. Think about it.

  • by mangino ( 1588 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @07:34AM (#782204) Homepage
    First of all, has anyone contacted Google about this before complaining?

    Second, isn't it possible that Google is only now starting to index pages inside Yahoo that link to their directory? Previously they could have been excluded due to a robots.txt file.
    --
    Mike Mangino
    Sr. Software Engineer, SubmitOrder.com
  • by Jeffrey Baker ( 6191 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @07:36AM (#782205)
    I'll see your HTML and raise you some javascript :) Here's how to convert Netscape's "Search" button into a dialog front-end for google. Simply place this line in your ~/.netscape/preferences.js file:

    config("internal_url.net_search.url", "javascript:{void(term=prompt('Searchword:',''))}i f(term)location.href='http://www.google. com/search?q='+escape(term)+'&num=100&sa=Google+Se arch'");
  • by linuxlover ( 40375 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @07:43AM (#782206) Homepage
    I would like to see Google get into Usenet search business. I used Deja.com, but now it is a commercially bloated crap site.

    With Google's extraordinary ability to sort pages, it would be an ideal move.

    LinuxLover
  • by vectro ( 54263 ) <vectro@pipeline.com> on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @07:34AM (#782207)
    Whenever we see results like this, we always should consider the source. Was the study done by an independent organization? Who funded the results? Was there some motive behind the study?

    If you look, you will notice that the linked page is written by the people who aren't listed as high anymore. It seems fairly clear to me that they are merely bitching about not being listed as high on google, and I find it somewhat specious that google is telling their indexing software to rank Yahoo higher.

    Futhermore, this could be the result of other changes designed to bring out more relevant results. For example, if they give linked-to pages a higher ability to assign relevancy (i.e. getting linked to by Yahoo gives your page a much better relevancy rating that getting linked to by my roommate) then obviously Yahoo's own pages (which are thouroughly linked by yahoo) will have a high relevancy.
  • by Lucretius ( 110272 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @07:56AM (#782208)

    There are two real possible ways to look at what happened here. Either Google put in special clauses in their code to bump up Yahoo's stats, or Yahoo adapted to the new technology to increase its scores in the search engine's data.

    It would be quite simple for them to adjust their code in order to give Yahoo a leg up. All they would have to do is put in a simple if statement that would basically say "if(siteis(yahoo)) score++;" This isn't necessarily what happened, but it is quite possible.

    On the other side, you must also remember that Yahoo basically is a site of lists. This is what they do, and they probably do it rather well since they've been doing it for so long -- I must admit that I don't use them all that often. When they looked at the Google data, they were probably able to update their lists to become more usefull, thus people started linking to them again, giving them more hits, they move up in the Google ratings... and this cycle continues ad infinitum.

    Personally, i would say that the second case is probably the most likely one. Since they were looking for different search engine technology they were probably looking at Google and what it spat back, they then used that to stock up their lists to be better and then we have that funny little cycle I noted above. Overall, I would say there is absolutely nothing to worry about, Google isn't bumping up Yahoo's stats, Yahoo is looking at how Google works and is using the data to increase their sites value.

  • by substrate ( 2628 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @07:37AM (#782209)
    I realize its eleet and all to be in the first couple dozen posters but its obvious that nobody up to this point has even read the damned article.

    The article is saying, and seems to show some evidence, that since Yahoo partnered with Google that the way Google ranks things has silently changed.

    Previously ranking was done based on how often a particular site was linked to, which is why google was so powerful compared to most other search engines. It was great for finding lists of pointers in specialized areas since good lists of links (i.e. a web gloss on a particular subject) would often be linked to.

    Since then lists-of-links that were previously in the top 10 can't even be found in the first 500 links. Instead Yahoo comes up more often.

    This isn't necessarily a conspiracy between Google and Yahoo, there is a possibility that so many people link to Yahoo that it skews the results that way. The other possibility is that the results are skewed due to the relationship between the two companies. That's what the article is about, not that Yahoo is using Google for a search engine.

  • by Parity ( 12797 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @07:52AM (#782210)
    For people who have actually read the article... it seems to me that what's going on here is that Google merged its database with Yahoo's, and naturally, everyone that uses Yahoo as a major resource will have links into Yahoo in their pages, and so Google's rankings have been shifted, not by 'conscious policy' but by a change in the contents of the database.
    Yahoo's rise will stop when all the newly added directories have been fully spidered and statted and cross-ranked, and it'll probably fall as Google's database grows with non-Yahoo-database links being added.
    Not that I have direct access to Google's database or algorithm, but, this seems more likely than a covert ranking-adjustment plan within Google.

    --Parity
  • by rangek ( 16645 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @07:48AM (#782211)

    If you look, you will notice that the linked page is written by the people who aren't listed as high anymore.

    Doesn't seem that way to me. These guys are from Hardin MD [uiowa.edu]. The directory in the graph and mentioned most often in the text is MedWebPlus. The only time the mention themselves [uiowa.edu] it is to say:

    While the Hardin MD pages kept about the same average (10th)...

    I don't think you can accuse them of crying over their "google ranking." It seems that they are just presenting what they have seen.

  • by MarcoAtWork ( 28889 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @08:21AM (#782212)
    Yes, it happens to me too: once a couple of months ago I was trying to find the official site for a particular type of ski, and like 80 hits out of 100 where to the fscking epinions pages.

    I was thinking as well about epinions poisoning google, but who knows. Anyways think about this, if they made their urls fairly random, *and* had a lot of pages, *and* every one of those pages had links to the main epinions page and the main page had some dynamic link that sent you back to the other page, this might influence google's rating of the page itself.

    OTOH this line of reasoning might just be a byproduct of my overworked little mind ;)
  • by interiot ( 50685 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @08:45AM (#782213) Homepage
    That couldn't happen though... On one of google's pages [google.com] that explains how it works, it says this:
    • Google's complex, automated search methods preclude human interference. Unlike other search engines, Google is structured so no one can purchase a higher PageRank or commercially alter results. A Google search is an honest and objective way to find high-quality websites, easily.
    See? Google said they wouldn't, so it couldn't have happened.
    --
  • by KingJawa ( 65904 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @07:32AM (#782214) Homepage
    If David Letterman were to do a "Top 10 Geeks Signs Hell Is Freezing Over," he'd probably need only to look at the /. headlines.

    "OMG, Compaq may be violating GPL!!! Someone ask /.!"

    "Run for the hills! Google is pimping Yahoo!"

    "A private company decided not to publish DeCSS -- it's the end of free speech as we know it!"

    "*Red Alert* Corporations try to make money *Red Alert*"
  • by obtuse ( 79208 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @07:54AM (#782215) Journal
    Once Yahoo links to Google:
    Yahoo users significantly increase their use of Google, and submit URLs. These URLs will be Yahoo biased, because after all, these are Yahoo users. This bias changes Google's ratings, without any other intervention.

    Hell, Google was probably good largely because it was popular with geeks. Like the Net at large, it will become diluted by pr0n surfers & greed. I hope Google and Yahoo both are looking at other methods of automatic category building, since there are lots of interesting approaches to that problem.

  • by TheCarp ( 96830 ) <sjc&carpanet,net> on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @07:56AM (#782216) Homepage
    The problem is not the making of an alliance.

    The problem is that they appear to be doing what many companies do. They have realised that they can make profit easier by decreasing quality.

    An alliance is one thing. However compromising the quality of a service in the process means that the community of people who use it suffers.

    The community thus has a RIGHT to know that this is going on, so that they can make an informed decision on whether or not to continue the use of that service.

    Such a story is wholly apropriate. Google should be contacted and asked if this was done purposfully or is coincidental, caused by some other tweak in its engine, or in yahoos pages.

    --Steve
  • by h_jurvanen ( 161929 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @07:58AM (#782217)
    Recently I've noticed a huge increase in the number of times that epinions.com shows up in my searches. I am suspicious because a) the increase was large enough to be obvious to me and b) the links all point to the Epinions home page, not individual pages that might actually be relevant to my search. It sounds just like the same old tactics that Google was supposed to be above. Has anyone else noticed something like this, or shall I lay off the hash?

    Herbie J.

  • No, no, you've got it all wrong. Though we are an alarmist crowd, the things you've described are business as usual.

    The Top 10 Geek Signs Hell Was Freezing Over would go like this:

    • Compaq GPLs own hardware/software! Encourages Microsoft to do the same for totally open Wintel!
    • Google Vows to Never-Ever-Cross-Their-Heart-And-Hope-To-Die Sell Search Results for Money No Matter What, For Real! Gives all profits to EFF!
    • MPAA Decides To Publish DeCSS Itself, says lawsuit was "one whole joojooflop situation!"
    • Pharmaceutical Companies release New Cancer Cures and Other Drugs into public domain after only 3 years! HMO's follow Dr.'s Orders!
    • Patent Office hires RMS as Software Intellectual Property Specialist!
    • Lara Croft is Actually Real! Loves to date hardcore PERL programmers!
    • Microsoft makes its products totally compatible with standards; vows to stop changing MS Office document formats!
    • Senator Hatch Revokes DCMA! Starts His Own Digital Music Distribution Company!
    • Slashdot posters cease using ubiquitous exclamation points after days away from Unix Shell!
    • Larry Wall Elected President of United States.... (OK, it's anticlimactic, but really, can you think of anything better?)
  • by rho ( 6063 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @08:40AM (#782219) Homepage Journal

    Even better -- use this in your personal bookmark toolbar. Add a new bookmark, and then use this as the URL:

    javascript:q=document.getSelection();if(!q){void(q =prompt('Enter text to search using Google.',''))};if(q)location.href='http://www.goog le.com/search?client=googlet&q='+escape( q)

    Now, if you highlight some text on a web page and hit the bookmark button, it takes you to Google and executes the search. If no text is highlighted, it brings up a dialog box and asks for the keywords.

    Very useful. I use it all the time.

  • by Phrogman ( 80473 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @07:59AM (#782220) Homepage

    First of all Google does not rank SOLELY based on links to a page, they use a combination of the number of links to the page, the text on the page, its position, etc just like every other search engine. They also use the number of links from the page, and the text for 50 or so characters on either side of a link that links to the page. Its a wonderfully complex set of formulas that are being used to determine relevancy. While I have read the early papers on the methodology that Google is employing (from when it was a Academic project) it has obviously undergone a lot of improvements and refinements over time. They do not release the ranking criteria they are using to the general public (this is normal for Search Engine companies, who guard their criteria closely, and periodically change them without notice).

    What seems most likely to me, is simply that Since Google has partnered with Yahoo, they have shared details on their ranking system or have assisted Yahoo staff in positioning the ranking of Yahoo pages in the Google database. As a result, the ranking position of Yahoo pages is on the rise simply because they have some inside information or help. That is why the pages have risen slowly over time, rather than simply popping to the top of the charts, as they might if Google had simply rewritten their formulas to make an exception when a Yahoo page is concerned.

    With the work that has gone into creating Google, I do not think they would want to do any screwing around with their formulas that would result in major changes like people are suggesting here. They can help their partners rank better though.

  • by TWX_the_Linux_Zealot ( 227666 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2000 @08:08AM (#782221) Journal
    ... back in my day, we didn't have any http search tools. I had to walk twelve miles, buck naked, in the snow to find a terminal with access to an archie client, and we didn't have no graphics neither! we had to read binary code to interpret our results, if we even got any over out 110 baud connection! and sometimes the results would be in swahili, and we didn't know what to make of what we downloaded, but we were happy! not whining snot nosed little brats like yourselves, who are mad because you can't find that naked picture of Britney Spears or haven't broken 88TB of mp3s downloaded, so stop sniveling!

"...a most excellent barbarian ... Genghis Kahn!" -- _Bill And Ted's Excellent Adventure_

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