Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

> The stream is so noisy...

See "Pump up (or down) the volume!" here: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/12/google-few-big-improv...

> Culturally, it feels like walking into a religious school.

Your Google+ is made up of who you Circle. Just like the parties you go to are made up of the people who are at the parties you go to. If yours feels a certain way, it is because of who you Circle, and who you share posts with.

> It was familiar because I had written it. I didn't see any attribution, though, let alone a link to the story.

Rohit Shrivastava was a bad actor, in this case. Plagiarism is a terrible problem, and it's childish of you to blame Google+ for it. It is very easy to correctly link to an article, or share it. I agree that you have legitimate usability problems in many of the versions of Google+ that you used, but Rohit intentionally plagiarized you. You don't want attribution, you want links - that's understandable. Encourage people to use the tool the way it was intended to be used, don't blame the tool for existing.

> Google thought I would prefer to click through Google+ to find my article than to go straight to it.

Google thought that you and your friends are more interesting to you than the unwashed internet. In general, I think that's the correct choice. If I search "Steve Smith," I probably care a lot more about my friend, than any of the other Steve Smiths on the internet.

> One comment (to which Google+ allows no way to link)

I can't link to comments on your site either, Jon.

> Hoops like reading the article?

Hoops like Disqus, which you use allow people to comment.

> All this personalization and real-time stuff surely helps Google organize its content, but it's breaking search.

No, it's not. It's combining multiple searches into one interface. Searching your Google+ friends is one aspect of what a person could possibly want to search for. It sounds like you don't want to search the people you've Circled, and what they say. Other people do. If you want to search the internet with as little personalization as possible, your best bet is to open an incognito window.

> Remember when it was "minimal?" This is what it looks like now:

Look at your own site, Jon. No, seriously - go back and look at it for a moment. Sites got rich, with lots of content.

> But Google is different. Google used to be about organizing the world's information. It was a service to the entire Web. But this social tangent is changing that.

No, it's not. It's an outreach of that. It's a recognition that your view of the people that you know, and what they think, and how they're talking, is information - information that they're trying to help you organize, if you wish to use their tools. If you wish to use Google News. If you wish to use Android. If you wish to use Google+.

> Thanks to the Scoble effect, I have 8,000 encirclements on Google+. It creeps me out, because I don't know why I'm encircled by all these people, and I don't really get what they're talking about most of the time.

There are people who want to know if you say anything publicly. If you don't want to say anything publicly, don't.

> I changed it, because my informal language gave trolls too much ammunition to make a distracting non-point.


Do you want people to care what you say, or don't you? Whose job is it to make sure that people think you're saying what you mean to say?

> Google+ Hates The Internet

Who is the troll? No, seriously - please define the word troll such that it includes the people who pointed out how ridiculous it was for you to say "because now I know Google is showing different Internets to different people", but excludes you, when you say "Google+ Hates The Internet."

> I hate Google+.

That's unfortunate. I wish it was a valuable tool for you, to help you organize how you're sharing content with people you know. If it's not, then oh well. My mom hates email. If she wrote an article like yours about how email is ruining cursive, she'd have a valid point. But the world is moving forward - and social interactions on the internet are going to spread everywhere. The only question is, what tools are we going to want to use?

Again, you have legitimate complaints about sharing links on some platforms. I hope they get fixed, over time. But your other complaints strike me as either being your own fault for how you used the tool, other people's fault for doing the same bad things that people have been doing forever, or minor differences of opinion about usability... or just lamenting the decline of cursive.

Your point-by-point answer focuses on the details of his post rather than his general point, and makes your answer both pedantic and accusatory. The way I read it, he only has a few main points:

1) Google+ makes it easy to unintentionally plagarize. Case in point, he wasn't able to easily get from a re-share to the original.

2) Google (the search engine) should NOT rank a Google+ post which is itself a clone of an actual article above the article itself. (Quote: 'But my query for "jon mitchell jury duty" didn't mean "Show me what my Friends+ are saying about 'jon mitchell jury duty.'" It meant "Show me Jon Mitchell's article about jury duty!"'.)

3) The Google+ web app is ugly.

4) Google (the company) is forcing you use your Google+ profile to identify yourself.

Summary) Google+ is a bad service.

You can disagree or agree with the above points, but simply quoting individual sentences doesn't lead to positive discussion.

Point taken.

I think Jon's post was a troll post, with some personal opinions (which are totally valid), a few technical criticisms (totally valid), but mostly "user error" and "nothing new."

The internet makes it easy to unintentionally plagiarize, the internet makes it easy to intentionally plagiarize. Jon makes the valid point that linking is better on the internet than quoting with attribution. He makes the invalid point that plagiarism of any form is Google+'s fault.

Specific ranking is a matter of opinion. Really what Google (the search engine) has to go off of is people's behaviors. If people legitimately like Google+ posts more than anything else on the internet, how would you have them behave?

Google (the company) is forcing you to use your Google+ profile to identify yourself to people who use Google Search, and Google News. Facebook is forcing you to use your Facebook profile to identify yourself when you post on Facebook. Yahoo! is forcing you to use your Yahoo! ID to use Yahoo mail.

Summary) Google+ is as valuable to you as you choose to make it.

Jon's post was designed to attract attention, not to lead to positive discussion. I responded in kind.

Totally fair. Bloggers are professional trolls, but, as I think you've conceded (correct me if I'm wrong), I only trolled to get people in the door, and there are substantive arguments waiting when you get there.

I just want to point out that you absolutely can permalink to Disqus comments. The timestamp is the link, just like on Twitter.

I missed the fact that the timestamp is the link.

"Dad is ruining this family." That's a way to get people in the door, and there are substantive arguments waiting when you get there.

Isn't it a bit too negative, though? Dismissive? Whiny? Dishonest? Trollish?

There are people who want what's best for me, and there are people who attack me without reason. What are your feelings for Google+, Jon? As far as I can tell, you hate it, and you think it's ruining the internet.

"If people legitimately like Google+ posts more than anything else on the internet, how would you have them behave?"

So are you suggesting that might makes right or that if a site is popular it should be able to outrank the original content source just because it is popular?

Using this theory shouldn't Google check to see if Facebook has a similar post & rank that above the Google+ post whenever possible?


More seriously though, Google allows Google to create "relevancy" signals that are unique to certain pieces of content hosted on Google.com (or, at a minimum, over-represented among nepotistic sources), thus Google should aggressively discount that self-serving bias to error on the side of safety rather than setting up platforms that make it really easy to "accidentally" plagiarize content.

Obviously Google biz dev people realize the above self-serving bias & will do nothing to correct it, but it isn't a fact that should be ignored in public debate. At least not if we want to have an honest debate.

"""I think Jon's post was a troll post, """

Is "troll" now a synonym for "he uses bad arguments"?

No. Troll means "Says things in order to rile people up, often to attract attention or amuse the troll". Bad arguments are one popular method of trolling.

1) Hm. I usually just click on "Ripples", and I see the entire _chain_ of shares. All the way back to the first poster. We can debate the discoverability of that feature, but it's definitely there.

2) That, again, is debatable. It's certainly imaginable that the discussion about his article is more interesting to people than the actual article. It's true for this article, too - we're discussing it here, not over on his site.

3) There's no accounting for taste.

Going from there to "Google+ is a bad service" at least deserves a "for Jon Mitchell" qualifier. "is going to mess up the Internet" is pure link bait.

"Have fun flaming, +Friends" at the closing of an article makes it pretty clear he's not really interested in any discussion anyways.

Actually, I think Jon's postwas deliberately inflamatory and laden with hyperbole. This response is welcome as it goes through each issue raised one by one.

I didn't intentionally plagiarize, I mentioned Jon Mitchell name on the post, before I shared the post which WAS presented better and then later shared by Mike Elgan did it became famous and the question of plagiarism arise before that no one really cared for that content.

In my defence... Rohit Shrivastava. The guy who unintentionally shared something that bombed big time.

On the internet, anything without a link is the new plagiarism.

I think Jon is completely overreacting, but I think the lesson we should all learn here is that linking is the polite thing to do. Attribution is no longer enough.

I should not have used the word plagiarism so carelessly, in association with your name. I apologize to you.

I don't really mind it as much since the intention was not wrong, infact on the contrary there were more discussion on the way we, me and Mike Elgan shared the story then as originally shared but Jon, I did mention his name on it though I WAS not sure about the fact if he WAS on Google+. I usually avoid links because not all users would want to get out of Google plus to read articles, I mean I as a user never click on shared links on social site, that's just a behaviour pattern.

So, a self-proclaimed "technology evangelist" doesn't know how to properly credit someone? You are essentially saying you have no clue how Google search works?

I am technology evangelist not a google+ evangelist.

Also Jon Mitchell was always on the post, had he brought it with me I would mentioned him the original post itself. But I guess that was not Jon Mitchell's intention. He wanted this to be self promoting propaganda. Nobody cared about the post by Jon Mitchell until it was shared by ME & Mike ELgan.

Well, you cared about the post and so did Mike Elgan.

>it's childish of you to blame Google+ for it<

It is childish to run a search company & create platforms for stealing content without checking for stolen content during the ranking process.

All the hard work on scraper sites doesn't apply so long as the content is hosted on Google.com???

As a search company your primary job is to deliver relevant search results to user. But as a secondary goal (every bit as important as wrapping everything in ads is) you need to ensure that the right people who are putting in human and financial capital get rewarded for their efforts. If you don't then the ecosystem you create becomes a ghetto.

Sites like Mahalo requiring the Panda update were funded by Google. Sure Google may have (eventually) solved that problem, but they created it too.

And in terms of "Google as scraper site" this isn't Google's first time around with this "accidental problem" either, as I distinctly remember them doing the same thing with Google Knol. http://www.seobook.com/google-knol

Worse yet, when they did it with Knol they even had a check for how related the article was to other content that they posted right on the article, but still chose to outrank the original source. http://www.seobook.com/images/knol-similar.png

And I publicly posted about the above Google+ scraper site issue last September. http://www.seobook.com/the-doors I know Google engineers read my blog & read that post, so PR spin that tries to blame another party is simply unacceptable over 3 months later.

> checking for stolen content during the ranking process

Google should check for stolen content during the ranking process, huh? That's a cool idea. How exactly would they do that? They find 5 web pages that all have the same content. How would they figure out who actually wrote it?

Perhaps if they had some form of trusted identity service, where you knew what a person's real name was. And if you could mark up your web page with attribution tags of some sort, so that they knew it was you who had said it.

But what if multiple people all do this, with the same content? Well, then maybe they would have to invent some kind of social graph, so that they could see which sources you trust most. Is it Linus Torvalds or Deeke McSlayton that you think is the most likely author of this post on the Linux Kernel?

And maybe when you search, they should rank results by how close someone is to you in your social graph.

Oh wait... That's what Google+ already is.

>> checking for stolen content during the ranking process<<

>Google should check for stolen content during the ranking process, huh? That's a cool idea. How exactly would they do that? They find 5 web pages that all have the same content. How would they figure out who actually wrote it?<

Duplicate content filtering is nothing new.

Scraper sites (mostly Google funded) have been around even before Google+ started behaving like a glorified Mahalo-esq scraper site.

Document first crawl date is a great data point. And if a document links to another document with nearly identical content on it, then the document that is being referenced should probably rank higher, especially if the document was created earlier.

>Perhaps if they had some form of trusted identity service, where you knew what a person's real name was. And if you could mark up your web page with attribution tags of some sort, so that they knew it was you who had said it.<

You don't need real names to allow the link graph to work.

If the proposed service was NOT SELF-SERVING GARBAGE it could use the signal from that network to act as a signal to help rank the rest of the web, rather than sucking content into that network and OUTRANKING THE ACTUAL LEGITIMATE ORIGINAL CONTENT SOURCE.

>But what if multiple people all do this, with the same content? Well, then maybe they would have to invent some kind of social graph, so that they could see which sources you trust most. Is it Linus Torvalds or Deeke McSlayton that you think is the most likely author of this post on the Linux Kernel?<

And, once again, if the service wasn't SELF-SERVING GARBAGE it would create a signal that would apply to the rest of the web so that the ACTUAL LEGITIMATE ORIGINAL CONTENT SOURCE ranked before the house-hosted copy of it.

If I pull a chunk of content from a document and post it to Google+ it is pretty easy for you to put that citation in the SERPs (sorta like what is done with the Google+ votes on AdWords, http://explicitly.me/how-to-get-a-celebrity-to-endorse-all-y... but maybe in a less sleazy way).

>And maybe when you search, they should rank results by how close someone is to you in your social graph<

I have seen Google+ scraper pages that were not in any of my social circles outranking original content sources. That is part of what makes Google's behavior so outrageous.

>Oh wait... That's what Google+ already is.<

Except it's not.

Google was already one of the most heavily linked to websites before launching a social network & now Google+ is a PageRank funneling scheme http://www.thegooglecache.com/white-hat-seo/how-to-buy-11788... built around coming up with a cheesy excuse for Google to outrank original content sources for their content. If it were legitimate then the original content source would outrank the scraped version hosted on Google+

I realize that things are "not spam" when they are done by Google, but if the mechanics & impact are the exact same as what a spam scraper site does then the quacking animal is a duck.

I really wish that all technology challenges were as easy to overcome, as you think they are. That would be a beautiful world.

And then it would be easy to blame companies for having products that weren't perfect.

You could discount all of their efforts to try to make something new, original, and helpful - if it weren't absolutely perfect in its first iteration.

Let's all switch to the search engine that is perfect, and does everything you describe. Since it's so easy to do, clearly there must be a search engine like that. Which one is it?

...or maybe, it's actually a really hard problem.

But that's exactly what everyone is saying and the OP was trying to get at. The Google Search before this WASN'T broken with this 'imperfect product' like it is now. It worked really well and that's why it became #1.

You guys wouldn't have to do all this social rigging if you hadn't broken the web's tried-and-true link graph in the first place by making sites' feel like they had to 'hoard' pagerank and link-condom every outgoing link citation with a no-follow flag.

Unintended consequences for sure, as no-follow was well-intentioned and designed to help with blog comment spam, but unintended consequences can be a bugger. The result is still sad.

I'm sure there's no rolling back now to the 'old' google with 10 blue links, but I sure miss it.

Google introduced a game, and people figured out how to exploit it. Now they do everything they can to stop exploitation. It's a classic predator/prey relationship.

What do you think of today's announcement?


Specifically, "unpersonalized results"?

I am with gcarswell on this one. +1 to her!

I don't think search is an easy problem. And (where it is not conflicted by self promotional interests) Google does an amazing job of indexing, filtering & scoring.

It is nearly unbelievable how good Google is in many areas. But that is also the problem...Google set the bar for itself rather high through its own performance.

A gold medal sprinter doesn't get a pat on the back for running a 23 second 100-meter dash.

When most companies put out a product they have to make it better than existing products to win marketshare. They can't put out something sort of average and then just arbitrarily promote it in the results through bundling (the way Google has with things like Checkout, places, product search, flight search, and +)

In the past Google did a much better job at search when it wasn't actively subverting itself.

If I searched on Google 3 or 5 years ago I didn't see Avis-rent-a-car ranking near the top of the search results for "Las Vegas hotels" ... it was only after Google decided to displace & monetize the organic results that Avis started ranking on hotel searches.


And who's fault is that?


If the monetary incentive wasn't there, I am sure Google wouldn't be polluting their own search results, especially as they have put thousands of man-years in trying to do the opposite.


I also think the suggestion that a person should switch their default search engine is a bit inauthentic for 2 reasons:

1.) Google is spending BILLIONS of Dollars per year buying search & browser distribution + buying default search rights on 3rd party browsers

2.) even if I change my default search engine that personal choice wouldn't impact how other users search & for those other users the copy of copyright content hosted on Google.com will often still outrank the original source.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact