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Google Recently Made A Silent Shift To A New Search Algorithm, “Hummingbird” (techcrunch.com)
197 points by mumbi 1540 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 146 comments

I've noticed that I often just started asking google questions instead of trying to assemble a sequence of words that I think will divine the results I'm looking for.

It's always worked reasonably well and saves me from trying to come up with a search.

At the same time I've noticed that coming up with a sequence of search terms has been working worse and worse in google over the last couple years. I frequently get results for whatever google thinks I was searching for, especially if my original search terms resulted in very few results or no results, I'll just get a result page anyway except it's almost never helpful.

Perhaps this is an attempt to make Google more Star-Trek/Watson-like, and it's great for those use-cases. But for the other cases, like looking up specific serial numbers or whatever, it's a mess.

> I've noticed that I often just started asking google questions instead of trying to assemble a sequence of words that I think will divine the results I'm looking for.

This is an interesting area where I found myself playing catch-up to the less technical people in my life. For a long time I saw them typing questions into google and getting bad results and my recommendation to use keywords never really stuck, probably because they didn't have the same mental model of how searching worked that I did.

Then along came a few sites that targeted question-askers and sometimes if you asked a question you'd find someone else asking the same question along with some answers of high variable quality. I didn't discover this myself, because I never typed questions into google -- I had to see observe the less technical people getting better results than me occasionally to pick up on this.

Still, they got worse results most of the time, and while it was a new tool in my arsenal, it wasn't usually what I was looking for and I used it sparingly.

Then when the first iPhone with Siri came out, I bought it for a family member and demo'd it. I did all the stuff the commercial was doing to make it seem like magic.

So my family member takes it and starts talking to it like it's a human. And I instantly regret what I've done, because I knew some keywords it would pick up on to look like magic, but I've made it look like you don't need to know the keywords, you just need to talk to it. So there they are, talking to it like a human, and I'm expecting it to fail. But instead, when they say "call my sister" it replies with a prompt asking who the sister is. I'm sure Siri is still a large number of special cases, but it's large enough that thinking of it that was failed me.

Similarly, I noticed one day that people asking google questions were getting better results than me sometimes even when they weren't looking for other people asking/answering the same question. So I've started asking google questions more often, but again, it required me to observe a less technical person doing so.

I remember back in the old days search engines were explicitly saying that words like "and" "how" etc.. were ignored when returning the results for your search. These days these words are becoming the key to get you the results you are actually looking for.

I'm going to answer this from a technical point of view. I find search is best done by using precedence.

For example say my question is: "how to use rails with devise and omniauth", I break it down to the group in which I think nets the most results should be the first keyword and so on.

1. rails 2. devise 3. omniauth

rails+devise+omniauth: https://www.google.com/search?q=rails+devise+omniauth

rails+omniauth+devise: https://www.google.com/search?q=rails+omniauth+devise

omniauth+devise+rails: https://www.google.com/search?q=omniauth+devise+rails

how+to+use+rails+with+devise+and+omniauth: https://www.google.com/search?q=how+to+use+rails+with+devise...

The top results are normally similar. With exception to the "how+to+use+rails+with+devise+and+omniauth" search, which is rather different.

From my standpoint the "rails+devise+omniauth" yields the best results as the source of truth is closer to the github documentation "OmniAuth: Overview · plataformatec/devise Wiki · GitHub", over third party information "#235 Devise and OmniAuth (revised) - RailsCasts".

Using "how+to+use+rails+with+devise+and+omniauth" gets rather off topic after the 3 or so results.

Another tactic I use is searching like a command line. For instance: "wiki list breaking bad", or "imdb iron man". This don't work with smaller properties, so "site:example.com" is another awesome tool.

Just my two cents.

Quotes do not require the plus sign as a placeholder for space, unless I'm missing something. I often use quotes to search for specific Linux error messages with great success; any hit that isn't a direct match gets shafted.

> it required me to observe a less technical person doing so.

That's a really fantastic observation. I suspect that lots of these changes are meant for those kinds of people (who happen to make up the majority of the world) and not for tech folks at all.

But yeah, I notice that if I ask a question, quite often the results I get are on question asking sites like Stack Overflow -- it turns out I usually get very good results that way too ;)

so what you are saying is that Ask Jeeves was on to something?

Search what people are likely to say when discussing this topic, it may be in the form of a question and maybe not.

If you want to search for a specific string, force it by putting quotes around it, e.g. "376718578383"

I really miss the + operator in Google searches. Back when Google disabled it to make their Google+ easier to search for, someone posted some good examples of where " " fails to reproduce the + search behavior.

Is that different from using a capital "AND"?

Completely different. It's a unitary literal operator, so if you put +shelf you would only get pages that had the word "shelf" and not shelved, shelving, bookcase, etc like you get normally.

I thought they got rid of the + operator a couple of years ago, recommending instead that you surround the formerly plussed word with quotes or use the Verbatim option under Search Tools.

However, I just tried a search for "anagram +python" and got 67 results vs 139,000 without the plus-sign. Does that mean they quietly restored the operator?

I haven't tried the "+" operator in a while but I know the "-" operator has continued to work.

I always use it to filter out commercial or store results when a query triggers some over-zealous SEO and throws up pages of junk. A quick "-buy" or "-store" usually cleans the results up.

I find now that the minus operator doesn't work half the time either.

Google results are getting worse and worse IMO and there don't appear to be any tools left in the available query language to rectify it.

> Google results are getting worse and worse IMO

They're optimising for normal people who don't formulate query strings in Google, but they ask questions or just search.

> I find now that the minus operator doesn't work half the time either.

I honestly suspect Google is A/B testing search results somehow.

I honestly suspect no power users or technical users are included in A/B testing, or if they are, they're a realistic minority whom does not have changes made for them....

Looking at Google's Search Operators page,† I see an OR, but no AND. I thought AND'ing was the default.


+shelf, search tools, type, Verbatim

Google often ignores quotes. I've had success using "intext:someword" (without quotes) to force Google to only return results that include someword.

Loose matching = more revenue.

Why was this voted down? It is the correct answer for searching for serial numbers, for example an Adobe Photoshop serial number: "1325-1576-6224-7891-3222-6645"

They've been messing with operators so much, I've lost track what works and what doesn't.

Apparently the double-quote still works. Well, that's good.

Double-quote is "sort of literal" (google will perform automatic stemming on single words in double quotes, but not on phrases) if you want really, really literal use "intext:" or "allintext:"

Good tip.

All is not lost! If you try their sample question, with quotes, it only turns up 4 results - with the article on top. https://www.google.com.au/search?q=“Which+is+better+for+me+—...

But it seems inevitable that as google targets what most people mean, they will target less what niche people mean (us). They could do both, with explicit operators etc, but would double their indices, and not worth it (for them). :( At least it creates opportunity for the google-usurper.

Yeah, people really need to know how to google effectively. You can also add "-" before a word to cut out results with that word. (example: "cats -dogs" will return searches with cats but take out ones that also include dogs.)

Then there's "file:" and a file extension name to find searches of that filetype. (example: "AP biology file:ppt" returns all ap biology related powerpoints.

Next there's "site:" and a website. (Example: "site:reddit.com fedoras" searches for fedoras on reddit, a very common thing. Useful if a site's search engine sucks.)

In my experience, as a rule, site search engines generally suck. And the exceptions to the rule often turn out to be farming the search out to Google one way or another.[1][2]

I often simply ignore site search boxes in favor of using the "site:" operator.



site: is one of the more useful search operators I've discovered. It's almost always better than a site search button for me.

is file: different than filetype:

file: doesn't appear to be a documented command, while filetype is [1]

Searching for a few random queries with either "file:pdf" or "filetype:pdf" shows that both return pdfs, but the results that I get are different. Not sure what to make of that or which is better.

[1] http://www.googleguide.com/using_advanced_operators.html

For me, "file:pdf" returns .pdfs, .pdf documentation, .pdf information...all kinds of things which aren't .pdf.

"filetype:pdf" seems to be the only command which reliably returns just .pdfs.

I'm in the UK, your mileage may vary.

It often gets completely ignored.

Yup, there have been plenty of times I've put quotes around my search terms and Google decided I didn't really mean to put quotes around them.

What do you think Google should do with the following search:

   Who said, "To hair is human?"

I would want Google to leave it alone and suggest what it thinks is correct as an option, like it used to.

I'd rather see:

  exact: Who said, "To hair is human?"
Quotes are too easy to be used accidentally by laymen.

Shift+2 just slips in their typing without any intention?

Wow. I was definitely not expecting this: http://i.imgur.com/9Zpqota.png

Thanks for pointing that out.

That's a massive fail for Google IMO. Why isn't it matching phrases for the search recommendation? Surely "to err is human" popularised by Pope [a million plus results] should be suggested before "to heir is human" (a minor computer game) [60k results].


"heir" is a much closer match for "hair" in terms of Levenshtein distance[1] (which indicates a typing error) and soundex[2] (misheard). But clearly "to err is human" should be offered as a possibility too.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levenshtein_distance

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soundex

I summarized the madness a while ago. I think today the situation is somewhat better but here it is: http://techinorg.blogspot.com/2013/03/what-is-going-on-with-...

@nimble: what about when you intentionally search for a misspelling?

I only recall it being ignored when the string in quotes returns no hits

I get a lot of "Showing results for X instead" when searching for model numbers or similar.

Usually you can click "search for {what I actually typed}" but it's still annoying. I liked it when +'s and double-quotes consistently did the same thing every time.

Maybe there is a setting that does this still? I've tried playing with a few settings but have had mixed results / consistency...

If that happens it's a bug, and I'd love to have some examples to pass along. I'll make sure they get to the right people. Looking through your search history: https://history.google.com/history/ might help you find them.

Yes, of course, but I and everybody I talk to find it incredibly obnoxious that it ignores the space.

I just wanted to confirm so I could document the issue properly. I wasn't sure what the original query was looking for. Thanks for reporting it.

I think the intention isn't for searching for literally that sequence of words, though, just something approximate-ish question-ish.

Quotes can help but they are often ignored.

also use - and + to force or remove certain results. (You can use this to limit areas of a website for example)

- still works, but they removed + a couple (few?) years ago. Instead, they recommend you put the single term in quotes, so a search for 'linux +powerpc' would now be 'linux "powerpc"'.

That, and they also have the Verbatim option under Search Tools, but using it seems to conflict with other Tools, such as date filtering, and also applies to the whole query, not just one or two terms.

You're making me miss alta-vista. :(

That doesn't always result in strict string matching with Google.

Google is increasingly becoming an "Ask Jeeves" clone. I have very little control of my searches and Google just returns what it thinks I meant, rather than what I actually typed.

I would love an advanced search mode with some simple boolean logic, even if it took several seconds to return the result, for those times when you really need to sift through a lot of garbage to find the results you really want.

What is the point of Google returning results in 0.000000001 seconds if they aren't the results I wanted and I have very little means of refining the search. The moment a new search engine comes with this functionality and a decent indexed base, it's bye-bye Google for me.

If you have any example queries I'd love to debug them. You might find them here: https://history.google.com/history/ if you have search history turned on.

That's great! I do not have search history turned on but will definitely find you some nice examples of what I mean going forward.

Does "verbatim" mode approach what you need? Google won't attempt to guess what words it thought you meant in that mode.

This is why I basically use DuckDuckGo for any search where I know exactly what terms I want to be super weighted, and Google for things like: "What is the weather in Amsterdam?"

It's worked out really well. That plus the !g operator in ddg means I get the best of both worlds, I'd suggest you try it for a day or so and see how it goes.

Same here. I was struggling over some results a couple times today where I entered keywords and it seemed more like Google was trying to answer a question. Wish I could turn the new thing off. I don't use Google that way.

But for the other cases, like looking up specific serial numbers or whatever, it's a mess.

It is a boatload of extra typing, but the "allintext:" operator is your friend for those kinds of searches. I wish there was a URL modifier that could force google to assume allintext: on the search - that way I could have two different google search engines in firefox, one for literal and one for more "semiotic" searches. Maybe there is and I just don't know it?


You could set that up in Firefox. Create a keyword search for Google[1], and replace &q=%s in the link to &q=allintext:%s

[1] http://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/how-search-from-address-...

EDIT: Looks like Chrome works in a similar manner: https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/95653

You only need to look at google's knowledge graph alongside google now to see that that's where they're going. Many Question Answering Systems are able to handle many kinds of questions with relative accuracy now. With all of the different kinds of data sources out there, I'm not really surprised.

That being said machine learning is far from perfect. Allowing for user correction is still an immense must.

Let's hope basic search operators like quotes don't go away anytime soon.

Turning on Verbatim mode can help. To do this, after you search, go to Search Tools -> All Results -> Verbatim.

I have noticed the same and I am having more and more difficulty to find exactly what I want in the first result page. The disappearance of the minus and plus operators is probably the major reason for me not getting the results that I want.

I wish the 1998 Google page that made the front page on HN was real (with updated index of course).

I operate 2 websites that are exact clones of each others, the only difference is the domain. This algorithm change literally shifted %70 of the traffic from one of them to the other one, in a matter of hours.


    * Links to the websites, I would say almost identical
    * Same number of the pages are indexed by google, around ~5 million
    * Domains are almost same, no keyword difference
    * They both have same pagerank
    * Domains are registered together
    * Sites are hosted on different ips
    * Total traffic sites get is around ~40k/day unique
    * By this change, total unique increased by %10

Sounds like the algorithm noticed the duplication, and picked a "winner". The new winner isn't the same as the old one.

While we are on this topic, does anyone know the current state of art for text duplication detection algos? I understand that Google used LSH but they must have made a lot of progress since.

LSH: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locality-sensitive_hashing

I'm not sure about the algorithm in use, but I what I hope is happening is that Google is now looking for the earliest publication of content when deduplicating. Most copycat sites have to copy their text from something existing, and if Google has already indexed that, they know that later versions of it are copies (and can presumably be knocked down in rank).

in a matter of hours

TFA mentions this update happened weeks ago. How are you able to pin this down to the hour and correlate your traffic changes to the algo change if we don't know when the algo change happened exactly?

Shift happened weeks ago, since then I am waiting for any kind of update from google about the algorithm change. Also I am not arguing what time they have deployed the new algorithm, I am just saying that the traffic shift happened in a matter of hours.

I think he was just hoping that you could pinpoint the change to a specific date.

I think I saw Hummingbird happen to one of my sites, but my traffic shift happened over the course of 5 weeks, with a steady ramp up in traffic. Very different from the near step-function you saw.

I doubt the incoming links are also identical.

Do you have any guesses as to why?

google used to care about matching domain and content, maybe it identified the 70% one as a more realistic name.

That's amazing. Do you have an idea what the difference is? Something like a hot keyword in the domain, or even a closely related word?

It seems to work:

Where is disneyland - Shows a map and has "Get Directions" https://www.google.com/#q=where+is+disneyland

How big is disneyland - 160 acres https://www.google.com/#q=how+big+is+disneyland

That's cool, haven't seen this one before. Thanks for sharing :) Played around with it a bit, and it seems to have pretty good coverage; got everyone from Frederick Douglas to Dijkstra.

yesterday for the first time I noticed the inline translation e.g. "cat in portuguese" -> gato.

Not sure if it's new.

Google has an interesting localization issue when it comes to Canada. If you ask it for someone's height, it gives it in metric, but everyone here uses imperial for body related measurements. The same goes for area, I hear acre a lot more than hectare, but "How big is disneyland" gives me 65ha.

There must be a name for this syndrome - tendency of US-based developers to over-exoticize foreign places, taking at face value all official units of measure, languages, etc.

When it comes to grammar, the term hypercorrection is typically used. Seems like it could be applied here as well.


yep , it works , i tried :"how tall is the eiffet tower?" gave me the result ( ~=324 meters).

"What is PI?" shows me a calculator with the result.

If people use your product all day, everyday, and you release the biggest overhaul of your product in 4 years, and nobody notices, is that a good thing, or a bad thing?

It makes me wonder if Google has become so "good enough" that more and more engineering effort will be spent for smaller and smaller returns.

Playing devil's advocate, they say in movies that the best special effects are the ones you don't notice at all.

I think that's more applicable to less obvious things like the audio production in a film.

It applies to a lot of special effects too. Many — probably most — special effects are striving to look organic. For example, did you notice that half of Titanic was shot in front of a green screen? Were the special effects in the Adventures of Superman TV series better because their chromakey work was more noticeable?

It isn't that the special effect doesn't have an impact, but that you don't specifically notice the effect because it blends seamlessly into the rest of the film.

Oh, it goes a lot deeper than that my friend. It's now normal for standard-issue comedies and dramas to be chroma keyed, comped, etc:



> For example, did you notice that half of Titanic was shot in front of a green screen?

Okay, I guess it depends what you mean by "notice." I certainly was aware that much of Titanic was shot in front of a green screen. No matter how photorealistic special effects become, it's often fairly obvious what's real and what's not.

i think it's unequivocally a good thing. Google has a product that works, they aren't trying to change the functionality. People's habits online and the type and volume of data that google indexes has changed, and google needs to update their algorithms so that the product functions the same despite the new inputs the algorithm is receiving.

Sometimes the good things are the one you don't notice. Maybe they noticed an increase or different usage patterns on their side.

This. One prime example I can think of is Gmail. I've used it pleasantly, while all the under-the-surface updates happened. I was pleasantly surprised when one day, Gmali client to remind me that I'd forgotten to attach the file I've said I've attached. It's one of the subtle updates which simply enhances the experiences, like performance changes.

Unfortunately the opposite example can be found in the same product, Gmail; when they visibly and ostensibly changed the UI, it was immediately noticed, and widely hated.

It's as if life forms have evolved communication means for the only purpose of complaining about regressions :)

Assuming "no one notices" as a good proxy for search quality remaining the same, I would argue that Google's getting better since the playing field is getting harder...

* There are a ton more people actively researching ways to reverse-engineer and game the system.

* There are a ton more sites and more content getting generated, including bot-generated ones which are of dubious quality.

Looking at it from the inside working on search, I see the returns as actually getting bigger and bigger. As Google gets better, people get more confident in issuing more complicated queries, which ups the bar again for the types of things search has to be able to do.

I think people are just bad at quantifying their own habits.

It's likely that the new "signal" was progressively added to the existing mix, to avoid sudden jarring changes. Boiling a frog, etc.

If people use your product all day, everyday, and you release the biggest overhaul of your product in 4 years, and nobody notices, is that a good thing, or a bad thing?

How do you know it was the "biggest overhaul"? Google is known to use every moment to hype itself.

Also Google has been doing these changes since 2011 almost monthly. Now sites that sell things or make money have almost given up on "free" traffic from Google, they know it's pay to play (outside Product Search it's not openly pay-to-play but you get the message after a few 70% traffic reducing updates).

They were just quoting the article: "While they did say that this was the biggest overhaul to their engine since the 2009 “Caffeine” overhaul (which focused on speed and integrating social network results into search) and that it affects “around 90% of searches”, there wasn’t much offered in terms of technical details."

Penguin .001% of search results - EVERYONE PANIC Hummingbird 90% of search results - No one cares

This is going to be not good news for SEO people that just have affiliate ads and used to do things like Celebrity Net Worth bc now the user does not have to click on their site as Google will give them the answer they need.

Google are infringing the content creators copyright in such circumstances.

Facts aren't copyrightable.

But collections of facts can be (or, at least, protected under a monopoly that is copyright-like)

Presentation of facts are and redisplaying the text verbatim isn't transformative.

The shift to answering questions becomes really important over the longer term, and people shift to using voice as a means of interacting with the net.

Dictated queries are going to come as natural language, not query syntax.

I remember building websites for the Internet back in the day. Now, all we do is building websites for Google as it became the main entrance of the Internet.

So it means a lot more words will be parsed as highlighters (like 'how to' or 'where is') of one or more main search terms. I see the big usability leap it will be for very everyday life, natural searches. At the same time the list of almost non searchable terms will be growing so much.

I dread the day I'll have to look for some satiric blog called something like 'how to not' but I won't be sure enough about the exact terms to allow me to search verbatim.

It feels like there's an expanding dark space in the shadow of bright neons.

I'm speculating that this change is the result of analyzing their users' behavior. Over the past couple of years I made a switch to asking questions, especially when trying to figure out some obscure Excel code I needed or something like that. I almost always found some forum response that would answer my question relatively quickly. I'm curious to see how this change will effect the results compared to my past experience. This might prove to be a boon for sites like Quora, as well.

Funny story (at least for me): When I was 13, I wrote a letter to Google to implement this because my mom used to search like this, entire sentences. I also remember I attached an algorithm of how they should do it - rewriting the sentences into separate and useful keywords.

Should have patented it!

Did they send a reply?

Nope, never.

I've been watching this ever since I noticed the a/b testing. One of the side effects is that you bounce off the Google page rather than click through to some page. Google got into some trouble for this with currency exchanges (the calculator would auto calculate currency conversions) But they seem to have worked around that complaint (type in x dollars in y currency to see a 'one box' type answer).

I wish I could see how it affects their AdSense revenue. (a lot of 'answer' sites are just AdSense landing pages)

At what point does it take all the load off the Wikipedia servers if it just serves up the answer on the page :-)


There are many things that I think should be google-time-worthy:

- mail notifier as a first class citizen, a tiny dot would be a time saver

- many of their urls are 256+ chars in size ... , I'd love parseable urls that fit in a 1024 width browser bar

- no more link hijack on the front page, they surely know how to do it without rewriting the link on click ... or at least propose a quick way to select the original url shown below (a web semantic-unit/best-practice since long)

I just had to ask, "How has Google changed its search algorithm?" and that produced some interesting results, with not all of the results being about the latest change.


As we search more on mobile devices, the way we interact with a search engine changed. Just look at Siri. It may not be a ground breaking technology now but we're slowing moving to making more and more voice controlled search requests. Some of these requests are better answered by Wolfram Alpha than Google.

During the past decade, Wikipedia emerged as the primary source of high quality organized digital knowledge. This, together with the open data policy practiced at may governmental agencies, supplied search engines with quantitative data easy to process and understand.

For the next few years, this looks like the biggest change in search engine technology to expect. We are going to switch from mathematically precise queries and semantic processing of the search corpus to a semantic processing of the queries and a reliance on more quantitative data sources.

People have used increasingly longer, more specific search queries over the years, either through Google's efforts or through people learning to make use of search engines. This is the logical next step since people were always asking questions of Google, even if people didn't always realize it.

Well, the article says it's in place for a longer period of time - we see a major organic traffic growth from Google on https://usersnap.com and many search result entries popped from page 2 to page 1 (and thus leading to clicks).

That's interesting...For the longest time, the .org domain that has my name, but that I haven't updated in at least 3 years (and has no real content), was almost always on the first result of Google searches for my name. Now it's nowhere to be seen

The change is interesting. It's making me re-think the description/title of my site if this algorithm is based on serving up the answer to questions. I have noticed that my traffic has dropped a little so I might not be targeting correctly.

If you rethink the description/title, you'll probably be inclined rethink the way you write the articles themselves. It makes me wonder if we'll see a change from "good writing" to "quick, digestible nuggets of information served without nuance" that's even more striking than the current content landscape. When Google makes strong decisions like this, it really opens up the playing field to others who have different ideas and may not even need to court advertisers.

In my case, it's not an article, it's just a single page that is a web utility. I just went on google insights to see what people are searching for and the keywords in my title aren't optimal. I'm just going to reformat my title based on answering a question instead.

I think, This is not end of the SEO but it's very difficult to get traffic for new website by seo. As new search engine's algorithm back link value is zero. But Content should be unique and informational.

I think "miserable failure" is the root cause of Hummingbird.


Not silent for me. I was wondering what happened to the use of keyword search, it seems to work less well nowadays. Only phrase searches still give great results...

Consult the SEO chicken bones.

Google is becoming the portals they railed against in early 2000. Their problem is that natural growth has all but stopped so Google is trying to keep as many people as possible in their properties hoping the click on an ad eventually. King Larry cannot face Wall Street and admit that Google needs to be treated as a money making giant but not as wildly growing one, so he's riding Google to the ground.

What's wrong with answering questions and offering everything under the sun? Because another site might have better answers and offering but Google's MBAs will make sure that page is buried down below--unless they advertise.

"Best for the users" has been replaced with "best for this quarter's earnings," and it's just a matter of time before it catches up with Google. Google criticism was barely existent just 2-3 years ago, now it's widespread. What else will they do to prop up their earnings??? On what can you trust them?

Is it baseless assumption Thursday? What evidence do you have to support any of this?

What evidence do you have to support any of this?

How about you tell me line by line where I'm wrong? Beware that I do this for a living, I help manage quite a few small business sites and know this first hand. I also follow Google's stock and earnings reports. You should read Patrick Pichette's comments about their low CPC and how ad clicks increased by double digits. It's obvious that Search will hand more penalties this quarter to more sites, hoping they advertise and help increase CPC along the way.

I believe that the burden of proof lies with you and your original claims, not with those that doubt you. We're not saying you're wrong, but we are saying we'd like to know more. Can you please provide us with resources so we can get familiar with the information behind what you have to say?

Fine. Where am I wrong? What claim needs to be supported?

Obviously you don't expect a secret email or memo, we deduce from their actions and results.

Sigh: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophic_burden_of_proof

Obviously nobody is expecting a leaked memo or something, but an explanation of which actions and what results you are talking about would be nice, since you are the one making claims.

So tell me, what claim needs to be supported? I am not going to sit here and write 1000 words for each word I used to try to convince you.

I will tell you are right once there are no longer 10 results on the serp page. Google wants you to use their products, if the search results they give you are bad then less people will use their search engine. It's that simple.

At any given point there are 10 sites that are listed in the search results and millions of others that need to advertise to get to the first page. Those millions will always think that Google is out to get them and that some conspiracy is involved.

I will tell you are right once there are no longer 10 results on the serp page....at any given point there are 10 sites that are listed in the search results

You do not know much about search engines. Maybe a Googler that optimizes Search to get more ad clicks can come in and explain it better, but if the "10 results" are buried deep, barely anyone will see /click them.

I could name at least 5 projects that Google is working now that is a long-term bet and doesn't care about quarterly earnings.

I'm afraid that it would still not convince you otherwise.

I could name at least 5 projects that Google is working now that is a long-term bet and doesn't care about quarterly earnings.

Name them. And how much money Google is investing in them. I could launch a project that costs me $5. All these "projects" are tolerated because Google is increasing earnings by double++ digits each quarter, albeit by destroying every bit of their credibility. The minute the over-monetization growth stops, Larry Page will see Google's stock drop by $200+ a share and he'll face a mutiny within Google and the press will call Google a has been. You bet he cares, he's just a good liar.

It's the job of the person making the claim to provide the evidence for their claim, not the job of the listener to provide counter-evidence.

> How about you tell me line by line where I'm wrong? Beware that I do this for a living

Then it should be pretty easy for you to point out some factual account of an action or property of Google that backs up your claims. Feel free to start with any sentence you wish.

Here's one: Google Shopping search or whatever they call it this month. They switched to a all paid version, so only stores that pay Google get featured and the price they pay to Google is what decides their placement--regardless of what Google says. If a store that has the best price does not pay Google or does not pay Google enough will not be seen by users.

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