I think the Google Co-op concept is a novel idea. It allows individuals to rank information on the web “by creating ‘subscribed links’ for your services and labeling webpages around the topics you know best”. Wait, did I just read that correctly? Has something failed at Google? What happened to their pigeon algorithm revolution? Wasn’t the original concept of their search technology based upon figuring out a clever way to interpret page ranking through links? (Incidentally, I didn’t see a way to label webpages as safe/trusted, which would be the most interesting feature from a security perspective and also useful in the traditional sense of PGP.)
I must be missing something, because the announcement seems to suggest to me that so many attackers have been able to riddle the Google page-ranking system with holes, that the search giant has maxed-out their pigeon power and is essentially trying to ask everyone to help by sticking their own thumb into the cracks…
Don’t get me wrong, I agree that the power of the internet is in the people who have localized and specialized knowledge. But this is so completely counter to the origins of this “our algorithm is smarter than you are” company, one has to wonder if Google will next start trying to actually work within (or to help build) social fabric/structure rather than just pop out intellectually challenging tools. A better plow is great, since people can make better use of available land, but what’s your role when the plows turn into swords? Do you keep making swords and fan the discord among people fighting for resources or do you look for a way to establish localized rights and try to preserve the real value of plows?
More insight available courtesy of the Reg:
The problem is, Google has created a commons that is designed to be exploited beyond its capacity. Each user of a commons has an incentive to defect from the common good, to seek individual advantage. But in the Google commons, SEOs have an incentive to DESTROY the common good, to try to prevent anyone else from having any individual advantage. How the hell do you create a sustainable business model when everyone is intent on fucking up yours?
Many people have waxed lyrical about how Google was “God’s Brain” and contained some sort of magical Gestalt of all of mankind’s knowledge. But now it’s like an autistic brain that can’t say anything except advertising jingles.
— Charles Eicher
The Reg also had another take on the problem here:
creating junk web pages is so cheap and easy to do, Google is engaged in an arms race with search engine optimizers. Each innovation designed to bring clarity to the web, such as tagging, is rapidly exploited by spammers or site owners wishing to harvest some classified advertising revenue.
Recently, we featured a software tool that can create 100 Blogger weblogs in 24 minutes, called Blog Mass Installer. A subterranean industry of sites providing “private label articles,” or PLAs exists to flesh out “content” for these freshly minted sites. And as a result, legitimate sites are often caught in the cross fire.