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Google Explores Re-Ranking Search Results Using +1 Button Data

samzenpus posted about 3 years ago | from the circle-search dept.

Google 126

tekgoblin writes "Google plans to use data from its +1 button to re-order search results and keep spammers at bay. While this would bring Google’s search engine into the social networking era, it would also create a new avenue for blackhats to manipulate search results. From the article: '"Google will study the clicks on +1 buttons as a signal that influences the ranking and appearance of websites in search results," a spokesman wrote. "The purpose of any ranking signal is to improve overall search quality. For +1's and other social ranking signals, as with any new ranking signal, we'll be starting carefully and learning how those signals are related to quality."'"

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This is a really bad idea (1, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | about 3 years ago | (#37252182)

This is a bad idea. The summary itself explains a lot of what is wrong with this. But it isn't just spammers who will be a problem. Normal people will be more inclined to then post links they like on their G+ accounts and ask friends to add to them. At that level this may be an a deliberate attempt to get people to use G+ since this way if you have a website or set of websites you care about, this gives you an additional incentive to both be on G+ and get people you know on G+. But, I'd be very worried if I were Google about diluting their very good flagship product to give a boost to G+.

Re:This is a really bad idea (3, Interesting)

JanneM (7445) | about 3 years ago | (#37252258)

This is about the +1 button on search results, not G+. G+ has nothing to do with this.

There is a risk of spamming, but it depends also on how they end up using it. If, say, it ends up promoting things similar to those I've +1'd, but only for my own searches, then the risk of spamming is quite low. If similarity is determined by the +1 from people that tend to +1 similar sites to myself then you can't really spam it at large scale.

A user that +1s every site in sight will not have a similar profile to anybody else but other spammers. If they +1 their own sites and a coherent set of other sites then they'll only target the specific people interested in those kind of sites; too much work for too little effect for it to be an effective manipulation method.

Re:This is a really bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37252322)

Hello to armies of botnets furiously +1ing my V1agra and Pen1$ extension site.

Hooray for Google (not)

Re:This is a really bad idea (1)

gnick (1211984) | about 3 years ago | (#37253092)

I would hope the engine would realize that the profiles of those "users" who rampantly promote sites like that are so vastly different from my profile as to not seriously affect my results.

Re:This is a really bad idea (1)

David Gerard (12369) | about 3 years ago | (#37252454)

No, it's actually about G+ too [webpronews.com] . Note that only +1 from G+ profiles will count.

Re:This is a really bad idea (2)

m.ducharme (1082683) | about 3 years ago | (#37252548)

Which may be why Google is pushing so strongly (rightly or wrongly) for verified identities on G+.

Re:This is a really bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37252798)

So now G+ account passwords going to be the prime target for trojan writers. Yay!

Re:This is a really bad idea (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about 3 years ago | (#37253320)

Doesn't matter how verified the identities of the 12 million zombie machines pressing +1 all day are.

Re:This is a really bad idea (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | about 3 years ago | (#37253380)

I didn't say it was a good reason.

Re:This is a really bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37254834)

If you friend 12 million zombie machines, that's your own fault.

All those 12 million zombie machines will get really awesome search results for the stuff they like, and the rest of us will never see it.

That's why its a web of trust, and not blind trust.

Re:This is a really bad idea (2)

Abstrackt (609015) | about 3 years ago | (#37252598)

A user that +1s every site in sight will not have a similar profile to anybody else but other spammers. If they +1 their own sites and a coherent set of other sites then they'll only target the specific people interested in those kind of sites; too much work for too little effect for it to be an effective manipulation method.

Just out of curiosity, what prevents spammers from +1ing a coherent set of sites plus the one(s) they're trying to push? For example, what if you have a spambot advertising dating sites that also +1s a bunch of tech sites (i.e. Slashdot)? Wouldn't that effectively create targeted advertising?

Re:This is a really bad idea (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 3 years ago | (#37252818)

Should be pretty easy to automate too - pick a load of random dictionary words, +1 the 5 of the top 10 Google results from each one, plus your site. Each G+ spam account just needs to pick a different set of random words.

Re:This is a really bad idea (1)

catbutt (469582) | about 3 years ago | (#37254236)

Well they can always do the same thing by creating pages that do such things. Link to a bunch of tech sites, then put a link to the dating site.

Google is very good at detecting this sort of insincere promotion, and compensating for it. That's probably the the hardest problem, and the one most core to its business, that Google addresses. For someone to actually game the system, they end up having to work pretty hard to make good content and appear sincere, and in the end, they might actually be making a more positive than negative impact.

I see no reason why Google can't apply the same expertise they apply to links on pages, to +1's. The nice thing is that they end up with so much more data, that it becomes even harder to game it because each individual has such a tiny influence.

Re:This is a really bad idea (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 3 years ago | (#37254254)

Just out of curiosity, what prevents spammers from +1ing a coherent set of sites plus the one(s) they're trying to push?

Nothing other than the need to create multiple user accounts.
 
But even so, there are defenses against that - weighting by age, history, and activity on the account for example. You can weight by coherency as well - the +1 (you mention) can be weighted less because it's an outlier. Etc... etc...

Re:This is a really bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37253284)

First, I think this is a non-story. I'd already assumed their +1 data would be used in their search results.

I've noticed people +1'ing my posts on forums as a way of saying "thanks for posting [that useless piece of info]" or "please note I have read your post". Some of these have even been removed a day later.

I also have a +1 bookmarklet that adds their +1 button to any site. I imagine the Skiddies will have fun.

Re:This is a really bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37254556)

Until of course 4chan's /b/ crowd decide they should all +1 specific sites in order to either boost them, or associate them.

Google program: Why, a million people are +1ing Jerry Beiber and Tubgirl. Why, I guess I'll just put them right next to eachother right at the top of the search results.

Re:This is a really bad idea (1)

babywhiz (781786) | about 3 years ago | (#37252288)

Amen on the bad idea part. On the surface, it seems good, but I can think of too many memes that could get in the way when looking for something real. Maybe just add the +1 as a filter on the Advanced Search.....

Re:This is a really bad idea (2)

robthebloke (1308483) | about 3 years ago | (#37252494)

Once 4chan gets wind, it's safe to assume all google searches will return rick astley....

Re:This is a really bad idea (2)

m.ducharme (1082683) | about 3 years ago | (#37252650)

...if we're lucky.

Re:This is a really bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37252460)

It works until what I call the douche bag factor comes in. Someone will game it for some sort of advantage...

These sorts of systems only work if you can not game it. Which means filters. Then people figure out the max on the filters... Which means bans. Which means policing it...

Even then sometimes the amplification factor comes in. Such as all the (Score:5 xyz)'s on this site will attest to. Some people say 'hey yeah that was a good point' and just click it up. Even though their points would be better spent elsewhere.

Re:This is a really bad idea (1)

gnick (1211984) | about 3 years ago | (#37253152)

These sorts of systems only work if you can not game it.

All systems can be gamed. The question is not, "Does the system 'work'?" It's, "How well does it work compared to its closest competition and how can it be improved?"

Re:This is a really bad idea (2)

aeortiz (1498977) | about 3 years ago | (#37253080)

I think this is why they're insisting on real names for Google+.

When every user is a person, it is more difficult for spam CEO hackers to skew Google results. I suppose they could still try to harvest millions of Google accounts to use as +1 slaves but that's a lot harder than setting up a content farm. Spammers will have to create fake personas or steal real ones in the millions to be able to cheat now.

Re:This is a really bad idea (1)

DriedClexler (814907) | about 3 years ago | (#37254266)

I think they're taking care of most of the spam problem by not having a "private message" option on G+ ... at least not one I can find.

Re:This is a really bad idea (1)

aeortiz (1498977) | about 3 years ago | (#37254626)

oops, typo: I meant SEO, not CEO.

Re:This is a really bad idea (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 3 years ago | (#37253482)

combine this with crowdsourcing. KABOOOOOOOOOM.

it doesn't need to be a million hits on one. all that's needed is that the top 40 results for searches are bought.

google should add "don't show any hits from this site to me ever since google is tracking me anyways" button though. that way you could tune down the amount of clone-site hits(seriously, many programming queries now feed you from google with the same thread ON FUCKING TWENTY SITES NONE OF WHICH ARE THE ANSWER).

Re:This is a really bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37253526)

This is a bad idea. The summary itself explains a lot of what is wrong with this. But it isn't just spammers who will be a problem. Normal people will be more inclined to then post links they like on their G+ accounts and ask friends to add to them. At that level this may be an a deliberate attempt to get people to use G+ since this way if you have a website or set of websites you care about, this gives you an additional incentive to both be on G+ and get people you know on G+. But, I'd be very worried if I were Google about diluting their very good flagship product to give a boost to G+.

I don't understand how any human can be so arrogant. Do you think google is not aware of spammers trying to game their ranking? They have been in an arms race against spammers for a decade. They can't win, but they have sustained a draw. Good thing people like you are here to tell them people will game search ranking, because otherwise I am sure no one there had any idea this could be an issue!

One signal out of hundreds (1)

Jay L (74152) | about 3 years ago | (#37255100)

Google uses hundreds of signals to determine search rankings. They're researching adding one more. I'm pretty sure they have a good concept of signal-to-noise and spammers gaming the system by now. It's what they do for a living.

Well, it's a good idea (3, Insightful)

grasshoppa (657393) | about 3 years ago | (#37252184)

However, it's just one more service Google Apps customers ( you know, us paying folks ) can't use.

Re:Well, it's a good idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37255304)

shut up

Only any use if ... (2)

Stormthirst (66538) | about 3 years ago | (#37252216)

... they also provide a -1 too. I'd like to mod a page down as a method of balancing.

Re:Only any use if ... (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | about 3 years ago | (#37252568)

... they also provide a -1 too. I'd like to mod a page down as a method of balancing.

I thought the same thing when I first saw the silly icon.

The first thing that hit me after I wished for a -1 was, "Oh... Then we'll have wars between spam-happy pushers and corporations. It (the +1, -1 system) will be used so much there will be DoS arising from it no time flat." :)

Re:Only any use if ... (1)

zwei2stein (782480) | about 3 years ago | (#37254938)

This so much.

I want to obliterate certain sites from search results:

Stuff like this, for example: http://tapix/ [tapix] . ru/mobile/t64340 (it is inscredible how many sites which are basically list of sequential numbers there are.)

Various newsgroup, forum and mailing list scrappers.

javadoc and opensource code mirrors.

goddamn www.roseindia . net/java/

etc... There is just too much of redundant clutter.

Google tricks (4, Insightful)

Clsid (564627) | about 3 years ago | (#37252230)

I'm truly impressed at Google's ability to makes us work for them without most people even noticing it. This is yet another example of that. Then I hear non-tech people in awe of how smart Google is, and then say to myself, that is one hell of a business model.

Re:Google tricks (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 3 years ago | (#37252284)

Google's been using us to improve its index from the beginning - the whole idea of PageRank is that the linking patterns of web sites given an indication as to their importance and value.

Re:Google tricks (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | about 3 years ago | (#37252616)

That's what he said.

This is just a head shake (in both ways) of it happening again. :)

Re:Google tricks (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about 3 years ago | (#37252402)

Yep, Google is just one big mechanical turk.

Re:Google tricks (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 3 years ago | (#37252466)

Google does ranking so popular sites (i.e. those most people would be searching for) appear first. How would they do that without making us "work for them?" "We" (I use that word loosely) are the people who make those sites popular in the first place. Using them to rank sites is pretty smart. Otherwise you end up with tons of random blogs that repost or link to the site you want... wait, we already do get that. Hopefully this helps though.

Re:Google tricks (2)

ajyasgar (2449448) | about 3 years ago | (#37252538)

It really is one hell of a business model. They use us as essentially unpaid employees, and we continue to use their services every day. Our use of their services, our very existence, provides them with valuable and necessary data to continue with their business plan/model. This is effectively a mutualist symbiotic relationship - both parties are benefiting greatly from this, the only difference between this one and the ones we commonly see in the animal kingdom is that the anemone us clown fish live in protects almost the entire population of clown fish simultaneously, while allowing all individual clown fish access to any information generated by groups of the others, in addition to any populations living outside the anemone. I don't see a problem here. The uproar over privacy starts anytime Google is mentioned but really, people are more than willing to provide the Internet - anyone who wants it - with their close personal information. For now, Google is still doing us a favor.

Unpaid Employees (1)

earls (1367951) | about 3 years ago | (#37252804)

Yeah, sure, we're just unpaid employees - until their copyrights expire!

Re:Google tricks (1)

neokushan (932374) | about 3 years ago | (#37252608)

BigData - SimpleAlgorthim. Isn't that their motto or something?

Re:Google tricks (1)

elrous0 (869638) | about 3 years ago | (#37252710)

You think Google is bad, trying going to the grocery store sometime. Back in MY day, they used to check you out, bag your groceries, take them out to your car, and help you load them in. Now you're lucky if they don't spit on you when your checking yourself out.

Of course, my father used to tell me that in HIS day, grocery stores would actually deliver to your house. But clearly that old bastard didn't realize that civilization peaked when *I* was young, not when his lame generation was young. Like all generations, I believe mine was clearly the best.

Re:Google tricks (0)

earls (1367951) | about 3 years ago | (#37252816)

What's a grocery store?

Re:Google tricks (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about 3 years ago | (#37253002)

That's curious. Just 2 days ago, I bought groceries. The staff rang up my items, bagged my groceries, and offered to help me take them out.

Maybe you should find a better grocery store.

Re:Google tricks (1)

elrous0 (869638) | about 3 years ago | (#37253106)

Yeah, they still pump your gas for you in New Jersey. That doesn't make it typical.

Re:Google tricks (0)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about 3 years ago | (#37253652)

Oregon does the same, but don't expect them to actually put the correct grade in if your car takes anything other than 87 octane. Yes your car will be fine but you will get worse gas mileage as it can run it richer which effectively boosts the octane [wikipedia.org] . The listing of the standard octane and a rich mixture has been used used in rating avgas for years where they list the standard octane number followed by the rich number like 100/130 or 115/145. For the ratio to be corrected automatically you need to have a vehicle that has a knock sensor which modern cars have.

Re:Google tricks (2)

Raenex (947668) | about 3 years ago | (#37253666)

Yeah, they still pump your gas for you in New Jersey.

It's actually required by state law. Personally, I prefer self-service.

Re:Google tricks (1)

spacepimp (664856) | about 3 years ago | (#37253784)

This is just a way of maintaining "Jobs" and skilled labor in New Jersey. I do prefer having my gas pumped for me as I peruse slashdot rss feeds on my android phone, but having a law mandate it to preserve the economic balance of the state seems largely unnecessary. New York FTW!!!!

Re:Google tricks (1)

mikechant (729173) | about 3 years ago | (#37253674)

Of course, my father used to tell me that in HIS day, grocery stores would actually deliver to your house.

Tesco delivered 2 weeks of groceries etc. to my house this morning.

Re:Google tricks (1)

elrous0 (869638) | about 3 years ago | (#37254256)

*Every* grocery store delivered. And my dad lived in a rural town too.

Re:Google tricks (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | about 3 years ago | (#37252794)

I couldn't agree more, unless I marked you +1 Insightful.

Oh well, back to meta-moderating.

Re:Google tricks (1)

Antimatter3009 (886953) | about 3 years ago | (#37254970)

I think that greatly undersells the difficulty in taking the input of millions or billions of people and turning it into output that is useful to every one of them with little or no human tweaking involved. Plus, they're essentially paying us back by giving us the majority of that output for free.

"Proposed", not "plans to" (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about 3 years ago | (#37252240)

It's a research project into how useful this metric would be. The article makes it clear that they haven't made any plans to actually implement it until they know how well it works. At this stage, blackhat activity would lead that project to a negative conclusion, and the feature wouldn't be implemented, and it couldn't be manipulated.

Re:"Proposed", not "plans to" (2)

mfh (56) | about 3 years ago | (#37252324)

At this stage, blackhat activity would lead that project to a negative conclusion, and the feature wouldn't be implemented, and it couldn't be manipulated.

Unless the blackhats were smart, which most are. In which case they will use this testing stage as a way to elicit false confidence in this new avenue while gathering information they will need to make the new changes work in their favour. Black hats almost never do what you'd expect them to do. They often do the exact opposite until just the very proper moment.

Re:"Proposed", not "plans to" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37252522)

They don't even need to be that devious.
Until it's actually live and affecting rankings there's no point in waiting effort or valuable bot net time to exploit the weakness.
Once the system goes live it becomes a trivial method to SEO firms to exploit.

The main question I have is: what makes Google think this could be a good idea? It's too obviously flawed to be seriously considered by any competent firm unless there's some new method of distinguished the spam from the signal.

Re:"Proposed", not "plans to" (1)

mfh (56) | about 3 years ago | (#37252588)

Once the system goes live it becomes a trivial method to SEO firms to exploit.

Well if it's trivial for SEO people to exploit, then it's trivial for Google to identify SEO firms and put them in the great ethereal void.

Re:"Proposed", not "plans to" (2)

ginbot462 (626023) | about 3 years ago | (#37252718)

My exact sentiment. You would either "play nice" or not play at all until it goes live. Even then ... you might wait for the PUBLIC to gain confidence, then launch what ever human/computer methodology to pump up your desired links.

Re:"Proposed", not "plans to" (1)

mfh (56) | about 3 years ago | (#37253532)

What this all comes down to is that we have a distinct need present that is not being met. The need we all have is to have a site that reviews specific content types and vets it against objective truth; the best results are measured by scientists, and the result is delivered.

Google used to do this somehow. But since the SEO people basically managed to figure out how to circumnavigate the search engine's security or algorithms to prevent corruption of results, we now see more and more search results that simply put, suck the big one compared to actual possible results available with the right fine-tuning.

The problem here is that Google isn't asking any questions to the users of search. They are just offering up results and hoping for the best. But really if you want to have search get to the next level, you've got to have rep play a part of it, and have moderators who have more rep than everyone else in control of how sites get exposure.

I can take five seconds and tell you if a search result is bogus. I was looking for a review of a virtual assistant website today and I found a slew of reviews that were phony. It was totally obvious, but still the same this is what is occupying Google's first page of results.

How many of you remember when Google destroyed Yahoo in terms of search quality? Look at them now and it's like the same website.

Re:"Proposed", not "plans to" (1)

vlm (69642) | about 3 years ago | (#37252444)

At this stage, blackhat activity would lead that project to a negative conclusion

What if they narrowed their project to an admittedly database killing subset of only counting +1s from people in your circles?

I don't have any blackhats in my circles. Err, let me rephrase that, I don't have any SEO blackhats in my circles, so far as I know.

If they tried that, aside from vaporizing their DBMS, the blackhats can +1 the entire world of spam for all I care, no one will ever see them.

They could alternatively only pay attention to +1s from "celebrities". I read posts on G+ from Linus all the time, if he +1'd the world's best git tutorial, I wanna know about it.

Re:"Proposed", not "plans to" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37253008)

It would be perfectly possible for blackhats to use Clickjacking [wikipedia.org] to get someone in your circle to +1 something.

sadham & gonorrhea re-erupts (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37252242)

that's fauxking neogod+ for us

previously; atmostfear inc. enacts oxygen rationing mandate

just in time? by 2025 anyway. the system will be tested on the totally
submerged population living down under southern hillary, in the 3X6
citizen bunkers. the oxygen supply will not be wasted on the southern
hillarians, as they are used to a lot of hot air, & have consented to
breath the untested synthetic oxygen, developed in an unproven manner, at
a secret location. no problems are expected.

the hillarians still must (they have the new pay-per-flush toilets)
believe that the crown royals will be victorious, & that they will be
unsubmerged, to join us all, in the former state of utah, come hell or
even higher water.

System Law of Change (1)

mfh (56) | about 3 years ago | (#37252246)

Changes to any system will elicit unpredictable changes by forces acting upon said system.

+1 data is a good thing if you accept that it is delivered by people who have been vetted by Google. What's to stop Google from then only listening to those that represent Google's interests? From a fiduciary perspective they would be foolish not to listen to those they revere the most.

The +1 data is useful, but is it useful enough? Not without a -1 button, imho. But in the big picture, +/- is just a perspective from a subjective opinion. It doesn't reflect real objective perspectives. There is a better way.

we don't need a +1 we need a flag spam button (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37252280)

Wouldn't it be a lot easier to have web pages flagged as spam and ranks lowered rather than trying to crazy +1 thing that most people won't use, even if they liked the link?

Re:we don't need a +1 we need a flag spam button (1)

Seumas (6865) | about 3 years ago | (#37252438)

They have one. You just have to log into your gmail account, click the "Feedback" button on the bottom of a page of search results, select a radio button option for what you're reporting, then explain what/why you're reporting something (I think it gives you a text box). I don't think it lets you choose a specific result, though. It just lets you report that a "page" of results has spam.

Yes, it's too many steps. But I don't know of another solution. Having a big button next to each result wouldn't be a better option. Clicking +1 by accident isn't nearly as bad as clicking "report as spam" by accident.

I think that search results should certainly be influenced by what people actually find informative and useful versus how many times links show up in related pages. The inference is more meaningful. However, I don't know that the results of the feelings of all mankind is necessarily the right filter/ordering system, either. Perhaps basing it on a more limited set of social results, like those that you are friends with on Google+? That is, instead of the order of results on my page being derived from a billion people's +1ing, it would be based on the 48 people in my social network.

That might suck, too, of course.

Yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37252294)

That's what I want: a search engines that gives me pictures of cute cats unrelated with the keyword search when I type "apache", and not pictures of helicopters or native americans, or webserver logos...

Re:Yes! (1)

neokushan (932374) | about 3 years ago | (#37252652)

I'm surprised at how few /.ers trust Google not to mess up what is, essentially, everything Google stands for - search.
The idea that people might abuse the +1 feature is so obvious that it goes without saying. I'm pretty sure Google realise this. Whatever they do, they won't jeopardise their leadership in the search market and even if they do, well you've always got Bing.

Social ranking (1)

Kabloink (834009) | about 3 years ago | (#37252374)

You know this will result in any site with cats being the top ranked search result no matter the topic.

+1 button? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37252436)

I've never seen one of these, maybe because I am not allowed to go to google.com any more, and get redirected to google.co.uk without being asked. What is this fabled +1 button of which they speak, and how do I get to see it? Does it mean that Americans will be deciding the order of our great british search results from now on?

Re:+1 button? (1)

SystemicPlural (1405625) | about 3 years ago | (#37252504)

Have you been living on the moon or something because over here in Yorkshire I can see them just fine. http://www.google.com/+1/button/ [google.com] You only see the buttons if you are logged on to your Google+ account.

Re:+1 button? (1)

cpghost (719344) | about 3 years ago | (#37253166)

You only see the buttons if you are logged on to your Google+ account.

I don't have a Google+ account (only a regular Google Account), but I see the +1 buttons in the search results too. Just not being able to use them without getting a Google Profile (which I won't at the moment for obvious privacy reasons).

Leveraging search to get identity entries (2)

David Gerard (12369) | about 3 years ago | (#37252440)

Better than that - they're actively leveraging the search engine to collect identity profiles [webpronews.com] . Join G+ or your page falls down the search.

They're actually willing to compromise the search to collect profiles.

Re:Leveraging search to get identity entries (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 3 years ago | (#37252530)

They're talking about possibly using the credibility afforded to authors by other authors as a search signal. And they're currently using G+ profiles as author identifiers.

It reads to me more like "join G+ or your author rank has no effect".

YOU FAIl IT (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37252464)

their par71ng [goat.cx]

Ummmm.... a given? (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | about 3 years ago | (#37252488)

I don't know about anyone else, but I sort of (logically) assumed (no ass jokes, please) that this was the case.

In other words, imagine Google and what "it" does. Imagine the amount of money they take in on a daily, monthly, yearly basis. Now tear it down into its components and don't just assume the logo is what makes it all happen; where does all of this money come from. Data - data that's sold.

What happens when a company (extended context: a person, a country, anything that involves a Human) do when it reaches its peak of success and solidarity? It tries to gain more... From boredom? From lack of affirmation? From aggression? That's how I see it - LOGICALLY - not emotionally. This is not troll material, just observation.

So where does Google make more money if they aren't just doing it with Ad data - get some more data. How do you get more data? There are lots of ways to do it.... but if you want to get data that's hard data and not assumed data in any way, where would you gather it through the WWW? Interface. Everything a user does on their computer that can be recorded should be recorded. Easiest way with the least malware (in the proper respect to its name) is clicks. Anything that's clicked is recorded as data.

The data can be used for something, it can be sold, or it can do both. Logically, why would Google not do both? Better "products" created using acquired data for better demand, and more data to sell.

Win, win. Logically. /logic :)

Re:Ummmm.... a given? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 3 years ago | (#37252606)

What you're talking about isn't a hypothetical. As a high-profile example Microsoft uses telemetry from Windows users to drive UI design, although by all accounts the process of turning user info into better products is, uh, inefficient. Whenever something crashes on your iPhone, it phones home a bug report.

Holy Crap (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37252510)

Just provide a fucking search engine. Jesus tits.

even better; provide an unbuyassed search again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37252750)

that would do just fine. all this manipulation & overt 'engineering' smells like censorship & prejudice against 'just folks' who the vast majority of whom are not + anything.

Go right ahead. (0)

earls (1367951) | about 3 years ago | (#37252836)

Holy Crap

Linking +1 with their normal antispam measures (1)

Dachannien (617929) | about 3 years ago | (#37252534)

One way to mitigate the influence of the SEO asshats is to purge +1's that are associated with accounts and/or IPs that are seen to offer a lot of +1's for known spam/linkfarm pages.

The Pirate Bay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37252628)

Will be the top result for every search.

Multi-Algorithm? (1)

Randwulf (997659) | about 3 years ago | (#37252732)

Google has had a number of algorithms to rank search results over the years. Some people liked some better than others. Why not have one default algorithm, but also have alternate algorithms (including one that takes into account +1 data) as part of their Advanced Search options? That way I can try Algorithm #2 or 3 if Algorithm #1 isn't giving the results I want.

HotBot! (1)

Kagetsuki (1620613) | about 3 years ago | (#37252736)

HotBot did this back when... you know back when people still knew about a search engine called HotBot. They had a ranking system where you could add a point to the sites that you felt most resembled what you were looking for.

They need vigilantes (1)

paiute (550198) | about 3 years ago | (#37252796)

What Google really needs is a small number of trusted volunteers who have a special Death To This Site button which appears in their browser window so they can nuke those damn link farms and equipment manual sites.

Re:They need vigilantes (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 3 years ago | (#37253530)

or just give the option to do that per user. that would be a nice webbrowser plugin nowadays.. that let you add shit like adding ad-referral codes to downrank search results(just for you). that would make mining less of a chore.

Re:They need vigilantes (1)

matthewv789 (1803086) | about 3 years ago | (#37254818)

They try to get the computers do do that automatically. They DO have human search quality reviewers who manually do this kind of ranking in an effort to verify how well site rank performs and highlight areas for improvement.

Not all bad .. (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 3 years ago | (#37252858)

The +1 idea is not bad, it is bad only if you don't have any controls. +1 doesn't have to be a static value, it could just be a place to start. For a person that "likes" everything, their +1 doesn't mean as much as someone like me who only +1 on rare occasions. Likewise, a +1 from a "new account" is probably worth less than someone like me who's had their account for years.

All this means is that the +1 is weighted by several factors that prevent skewing results by link farmers and blackhats..

Economics (1)

fermion (181285) | about 3 years ago | (#37253072)

Google began to fail when the economics governing the value of a top link in Google became very large even if the value of the information was very small. At that point link farms began to propagate and Google graph theory could not keep up. It is not just spam, but the quality of the results. look up the lyrics to a song. Any community based site is going be relegated to sites that have potentially load viruses and other payload into your machine. Even the sites that are not malicious have ad payloads and other issues that make the content less useful than sites that had lyrics 10 years ago.

This goes for things like locksmiths, car engines, and other goods and services. All too often the top links are not the quality service, but those who have paid specialists to insure that they are the too links. How is the '+1' going to help this? How many people can you hire in third world countries to create proxy accounts that appear to originate from first world countries and '+1' your firm? Google just made the link farm easier to manipulate.

Re:Economics (1)

wye43 (769759) | about 3 years ago | (#37253948)

The core of the problem is the advertising system. Its main philosophy idea is flawed, because its based on a lie.

We need a truly micro-transaction oriented paid content system, not the current "who can fake more SEO" to get a pay-check for content. Let the customer payments _directly_ decide who is worthy, not the stupid web of lies driven by advertisements.

Re:Economics (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about 3 years ago | (#37253994)

Personally I don't think this will help any as you have correctly surmised. It will probably make things worse as it is another avenue for SEOs to use, unless Google decides to treat +1 from a SEO as a -1 internally and adjust accordingly. Also google does seem to have location awareness with the local results so if lots of people from a foreign country were adding +1s to a domestic site in a non native language you could probably rule them out as spam or even better go and treat all of those +1s as a -1 internally and bury the page like they did to J.C..Penney [go.com] when they allegedly link spamed everything.

What they need is a -1 API (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37253376)

I spend an hour each day deleting the spam comments and links left on my site. The software has a 'killspam' option that allows me to mark spammers plus I how have moderation installed. But it doesn't seem to be stemming the flow of crap left on the site. They need an API installed that DOWNGRADES spam links and comments. That way the incentive offered to spammers will be eliminated. By building an API developers can add the capability into multiple platforms (such as Blogger, Wordpress, and Typepad) making it easy to discourage this type of behavior.

As the saying goes, if you build it they will come. If Google develops the API others will make use of it.

obvious (1)

optymizer (1944916) | about 3 years ago | (#37253592)

This was fairly obvious to anyone who has observed the evolution of Facebook, the Facebook Like button and sites like StumbleUpon.

Letting people choose the best needles in a haystack based on their likes is just too invaluable for any search engine with a huge haystack. Clearly, G+ and the +1 buttons on the search page (and on other sites) play their part in curating Google's data. As far as abuse goes, people have tried to abuse every variable in the page rank formula, and succeeded at times. But, it's like always playing catch-up: it's time consuming and not a sustainable model in the long run.

Now back to the Facebook Like buttons. Facebook's disadvantage was they didn't have a search engine at hand to exploit the data they were getting. If I were them, I would have tried to sell it to Bing or Yahoo. Maybe Bing/Yahoo weren't interested. But, as far as I can tell, there are more Facebook Like buttons on websites now, than there are +1 buttons (though this is changing rapidly). Perhaps now Bing will be interested in Facebook's Like button data, if Google's ranking system benefits a lot from their own +1 data (and I assume it will).

Results skewed by arbitrary actions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37253814)

I don't really want my search results to be skewed by some arbitrary actions, for instance, clicking +1 on some random articles I found mildly interesting. Will my search results forever rank animal-related pages above tech-related pages because I like to +1 a bunch of silly pet trick videos?

No problem ... (1)

PPH (736903) | about 3 years ago | (#37254086)

... because, as we on Slashdot know, modding things +1 is rarely abused by our dispassionate users</sarcasm>.

Re:No problem ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37254188)

+1 to that!

fail (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 3 years ago | (#37254210)

every time I click it I get asked to sign up for yet another google account. it already constantly fuck up the 2 I have why would I want yet another for +

should have done -1 instead (1)

Khashishi (775369) | about 3 years ago | (#37254758)

If I search for something and find what I want, I'm satisfied, and I'm not going to bother pressing +1. On the other hand, I have seen some bad matches turn up; I would rate them -1 but there wasn't an option for that.

Privacy issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37255036)

This is just like failbook's like button, a massive privacy issue. Nothing to do with improving search results and everything to do with sucking in even more users' behavioral data. Disgusting!

What about intentions? (1)

formfeed (703859) | about 3 years ago | (#37255050)

If I google "Rick Parry" the first two hits are correctly about Colbert. If I google with bing (hehe), Microsoft's not-too-much-information-engine, the first Colbert result is a third of the page down. Instead they talk about a guy I never heard about "Rick Perry"with an e. But someone else who is friends with that Perry guy might find that result to be the better one.

If I type in "cups" I probably look for the web-page of my printing system, and not for sippy cups. But with the +1 button all the young moms will ruin my search. This is "correcting results" by majority opinion. If you are looking for something specific, you won't find it anymore. If everyone is interested in Homer Simpson, the two people looking for the other Homer won't find anything. If there is a popular consumer item with the same name as some scientific term, good luck. Worse, sometimes I look for something technical and very specific, and the next day for a completely different item with the same name. What should I give +1?

It would help if the advanced search had a topic field: Cups, software vs Cups, kitchen vs Cups, sport

Surprised (1)

Rockstar Rich G (2217992) | about 3 years ago | (#37255108)

I'd be surprised if they aren't testing this already. Aren't they always running hundreds of tests? I'd also be surprised if they don't intentionally mix it up a bit (outside of +1) just to keep you searching longer - the longer you're on their page, the more chance you'll click an ad. End of the day, their algo will not be adjusted to deliver the best search results, it will be adjusted to whatever makes them the most $. Those two used to be the same thing. Not sure they are anymore.
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