humans v algorithms

Marco Arment, piles on to Jeff Atwood’s observations and offers some deeper analysis along with a prescription for change.  One that he is certain will fall prey to the corporate culture. 

Given how certain Marco is that his advice will remain unheeded I ask two questions:

1) why would a business choose its core competence over its corporate culture? and

2) where have we seen this movie before?

I look forward to your thoughts. 

…Searching Google is now like asking a question in a crowded flea market of hungry, desperate, sleazy salesmen who all claim to have the answer to every question you ask.

“Hey, anyone know how to wire an outlet?”

“Did you say ‘how to wire an outlet’?”

“I can help you with how to wire an outlet!”

“Here is info on how to wire an outlet!”

“Bargain prices on how to wire an outlet!”

“Guide to wiring outlets in New York, right here!”

And none of them actually know a damn thing about what you’re asking, of course — they’re just offering meaningless, valueless words that seem to form sentences until you actually try to make use of them.

They call this “content”. But it’s not, really — it’s filler. And by a more common-sense definition, it’s spam. But Google either doesn’t think so, or is so overwhelmed by its volume that it has seemingly stopped trying to keep it under control. (I’m betting on the former.)

One solution may be for Google to radically change their algorithms and policies for web search to de-emphasize phrase-matching and more strongly prioritize inbound links and credibility. And, in what’s probably a huge departure for them, have human employees use their opinions of site quality to manually adjust the relevance of domains.

But I doubt we’ll see real progress. Instead, I expect Google’s unwillingness to address this issue to create a critical-mass demand — and hopefully, then, a supply — of good content, reference information, and product recommendations.

via Marco.org – Google’s decreasingly useful, spam-filled web search.

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