Wednesday, March 03, 2004

How Google Changed the World

I was watching the Gilmore Girls with my wife last night, and was ROTFL at the scene in which Lorelai (Lauren Graham) tells her stuffy mom to 'Google' a recipe for Mock Turtle Soup.

Google has entered the vernacular in a massive way. I remember my summer interns showing it to me in 1999, when I still preferred Yahoo, and I have been hooked since. It is probably one of the greatest things since sliced bread. Lately Yahoo and MSN have been trying to improve their own searching technologies to compete better with Google - a war that only means the end users will see vast improvements and changes for the better. I just want to share two more Google tidbits:

Google Bombing - Since google ranks sites not just by content, but by the number of pages and terms that link to them, a clever Stanford student discovered that he could have his friend come up in the Google search as the first result for 'Talentless Hack' if he got enough people to link to his friends web site where the link text was exactly that term. There is a great Slate article that explains how this might and will be exploited. (Hmm... maybe I should start a campaign to link The Passion of the Christ to the Simon Wiesenthal Center's page about that movie? Or link the Palestinian Authority to PMW?

Where your name comes up - I will ocassionally do a narcissus search (i.e. one where I search on "Yonah Wolf" to see how far down my site appears on the list). More often than not it will come up first when I have made an update to my site, otherwise, the various message board posts I make show up ranked higher - because they were updated more recently. Yesterday and old boss of mine called me and asked me to play with how I mention her on my site, because she has just launched a new consulting business and my site comes up before hers. (Even though I don't mention anything disparaging about her, I do mention how the company bombed with the collapse of the .com era.

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