Google Observations

Changes are afoot at Google. A couple of weeks ago Google announced that it is refining its algorithms to minimize the impact of “Google Bombs.” (It’s curious that they made a big announcement rather than just doing it covertly, but perhaps this way they get to control how the news is framed.) Apparently, link text will be weighted less heavily in determining relevance to search terms. Presumably this means the page content will get more weight — ultimately there are only a few parameters that can serve as inputs in PageRank.

A couple of weeks ago, I adopted the name Substantially Similar for this blog. I was looking for something clever and suggestive of the focus of this blog, but not overly clever or too narrowly focused. (I leave it to my readers to tell me if it works.) As a test case for Google’s new algorithm, this seems to be proof positive:

Substantially Similar Web Search

I am fairly certain no one has created a link to me yet with the link text “substantially similar,” yet I’m already the top result.

Another change I noticed is the substitution of third-party descriptions of URLs instead of excerpt text. I don’t know if this is a new development or not, but it’s an interesting departure from what I’ve seen before:

Google Excerpt Text

That last link above is my old law school outline site — and the text “not fancy, but tons of outlines” doesn’t appear anywhere on the page itself. Instead, it is a description of the site from a couple of outline “portal” pages.

Cully “Resigns”

I’ve written twice before about Charles “Cully” Stimson, the Pentagon official who urged corporate clients to boycott law firms representing Guantánamo detainees pro bono. The latest, via the legal tabloid, is that Cully has resigned over his remarks, a fitting end to the episode.