Soon to be renamed "Friend Computer" :p Remember citizen, Google is your friend! Happiness is mandatory!
Does Google control the way people see the web? I can't say I sympathise with the guys that sued it a few months ago for dropping their score, but has the Web effectively become flat - all points of entry through Google? Can information be removed from the world simply by editing the Google record of it?
Ooo, paranoia! There are still other search engines. Also, lot of links are found in newsgroups, blogs and forums such as this one before they are ever indexed. Removing Google records isn't enough to remove information from the world - you have to stop word-of-mouth, too. Admittedly, word-of-mouth is much slower. And admittedly, censoring Google records would effectively hide information for a lot of the masses who can't be bothered to look anywhere else. But does it really matter, given the sort of [things] the masses tend to search for? - MoonShadow
PeterTaylor, amusing himself by scrolling through those logs, was startled to find that if one Googles CICCU one of his quotes pages is the 16th hit.
It has to be said that Google is very very big and much used. But no, not total. Still [El'Reg] does like to point out how it is very large, very much a central service - and totally opaque in operation. At the moment, it seems google is a good thing, but the old adage about too much of a good thing does seem to apply. --Vitenka
Also, its popularity is an effect of its practices, and to that extent it finds itself in a feedback loop. If it was found to be censoring interesting things (e.g. if interesting things were mentioned in newsgroups etc. yet remained conspicuously absent from Google indexes), Google's popularity would wane and people would look for and/or produce alternatives. Google itself is quite recent and became popular simply because its indices had fewer omissions than those of other search engines. - MoonShadow
That's wrong: even after Google was quite popular, often searching on altavista would produce results when Google knew nothing. Google's popularity was due to its mechanisms for separating wheat from chaff: its number of sites indexed actually rose quite slowly.
True 'nuff. But who is going to set up a rival SearchEngine in this environment? When the web haemorrages money and Google owns the space? Also - we're not talking total censorship - just a chilling effect. If google does list the page, but only on an incredibly specific search, or otherwise just ranks it very low - then few if any blogs will find it in the first place to link to it (using blogs since usenet is a wilderness) and so it just won't spread as fast as a competing idea. The recent hijacking of the phrase 'SecondSuperpower' is a good example. --Vitenka
It is usually due to a website admin's actions that a site gets indexed in the first place. Those actions could be to place the site URL in a blog or on slashdot instead. - MoonShadow
(PeterTaylor) Really? I didn't do anything to get my sites indexed.
No, but you did things that resulted in your site getting indexed, without which it would not have been. Which was part of my point. What you say you in fact did is actually a good example of the other part (i.e. you linked to it from two forums expecting the forum visitors to come to it, which is a wonderful demonstration of ways of drawing traffic to your site that aren't search engines! - MoonShadow
Well, Google has to find your site somehow - either you submit the URL directly, or a page that's already indexed links to you and Google follows the link. I had to explain this quite carefully to my dad a few weeks ago. "But the pages are on the web now, won't SearchEngines just come across them anyway?" "No." --M-A
I said that I didn't do anything to get my sites indexed. I did put two external links to them (one in my JDC forum profile, and one in my 5k competition profile).
... so Thing You Did was to link to them. That counts.
I think we may be disagreeing on interpretation of "to get". I was interpreting it as "with the intent of getting". You seem to be interpreting it as "which could possibly result in getting".
Oh, fair enough. Yes, you don't have to intend to get your site indexed, but nonetheless it was as a result of your actions that the sites got indexed. That was all.
Except that the correct answer is yes. It will take them a bit longer, because they'll have to come to it via someone elses link to you - but they will do it. Assuming someone links to you. But since your site is hosted somewhere, that host almost certainly does. --Vitenka
Really? Why on earth would Demon link to my parents' humble homepage? In fact, I don't know of any ISPs that link to their users' homepages... --M-A
MoonShadow, remind me - did freeparking link to us? I don't think EasyDSL? do. How did toothycat.net first get indexed on Google? - SunKitten
Freeparking (people who hold our DNS tags for us) don't link to us. Neither do EasyDSL?. Google first came to our site from a link on my old site on tripod.com. Google first indexed that site when I told it it existed; it had been completely unindexed until then.
Sections of toothycat.net are not linked from the main site or external sites, and have never been entered into Google. In particular, user directories other than [Tsunami's] exist. While robots are not actively banned from these sections, they do not exist in Google's directory, as a search reveals. In addition, a lot of sites and sections of sites that do ban robots and hence don't get indexed still get lots of traffic (typically sites generated by CGI scripts, like bulletin boards, large reference sites and shops). This shows that both the argument that you don't need to do anything for your site to get indexed (telling the URL to a friend who gets crawled so they can link to you counts as doing something) and the argument that removing a site's records from Google will effectively remove that site from the Internet are not universally true.
Well, ok - fair enough. You have to do something. But very little, and very often other people will do it for you. Heck, I bet even if you just ran a single page on a site for long enough, eventually a portscanner would find it, and someone would link to it, and the google would know about it. I think I got google noticed first because I linked out to someone. That someone checked their logs and linked back. Then google came along. My point is that you don't have to actively tell SearchEngines that you exist any more - they find out (eventually) anyway, through normal activities of your website. --Vitenka
In which case this doesn't contradict what I'm trying to say. My points basically are that if you need to do something to get indexed that is outside your normal activities, then if Google start to censor you, you could do the thing that falls outside your normal activities in Slashdot or on Usenet instead of in the Google submission form, and draw people that way; whereas if you do *not* need to do anything outside your normal activities for Google to index you, Google censoring you won't wipe you off the face of the net since people can still find you the same way Google would have, and people would probably have been finding you for some while by that means before Google got around to indexing you in the first place. - MoonShadow
Can but won't. As I said - it's not a question of complete censorship, it's a question of degree. If you lose 99% of your direct hits, then the number of people cross linking you falls off and the effect snowballs. Whilst there is a chance of getting a sleeper hit (hey! Check this site that google has censored!) in general I think you'd find being unlisted on google a serious impediment to getting a message out. --Vitenka
What do you mean by "direct hit", as opposed to any other kind of hit? About 80% of toothycat.net hits come from Google. However, over 70% of the visitors that go to more than one page do not come from search engines (yes, I can and do track individual visits to build statistics, and have raw logs starting from september last year). The people that stay tend to be visitors from friends' sites, visitors that followed the link in my or SunKitten's signature from a usenet posting I made, visitors from one of a number of bulletin boards some ToothyWikizens frequent and have linked to the wiki from, or visitors from one of several online comics directories that PhoenixFeathers is listed in (http://www.onlinecomics.net seems to attract a very hardcore sort of visitor who read through the entire archive from the start! We get lots of hits from them and a large proportion do that.) Of the rest that stay, about 1 in 5 are searching for keywords such as "toothycat", "toothywiki" or my or SunKitten's real names, which implies they already know about our site through some channel other than Google; 1 in 3 are searching for very specific recipes and acronym definitions. The multiple political, religious etc rants on the wiki have attracted very few hits from Google, and (so far) none at all that went on to visit any other pages on the site. Thus I find that my experience suggests that Google has relatively low importance when it comes to "getting a message out to the Internet". ((all percentages rounded down to nearest 10%)- MoonShadow
I recall a very interesting study of Google/UsagePatterns - but I can't remember where.
To link to a Google search from the Wiki, substitute + for spaces and %22 for double quotes, then tack a "Google:" on the front.
There is a [log] of Google and other searches that have led people to toothycat.net
Suggestion - fire a pre-emptive strike at anyone coming to the ScriptKiddie page that way :)
Just an update - I found myself helping a couple of people with a php coding problem last night. I discovered that my usage patterns of the net are heavily atypical. Most of the IRC channels occupants looked for the information by going to sites that they knew were on topic and searched them (either manually or automatically). I went into google and entered what sounded like good search terms. Despite entering the conversation only midway through, not knowing what the problem was etc. I nevertheless had a page detailing the precise problem and two suggested fixes before anyone else had anything other than half baked possibilities. The killer ability, I think, is that google indexes forums. And people chat about things on forums but don't get backlinked by the root sites where many people look for solutions. I hope archive.org is saving all these forums. Google's cache is also very helpful.
Google is in no way perfect - but for "I have this much information, please fill in the blanks" it is as close as makes no odds. The real trouble is that if google can't find it, then, for me at least, it may as well not be on the web. Any other popularity system (such as getting on news sites, forums or link aggregation sites) will (in absence of a mass 'no googling me' rebellion) lead to google getting ahold of the information and links too. I'd have to say that (barring its update cycle lag) google is at least as efficient as any other means of accessing the web. I will follow links around, but to use the net for any actual purpose instead of just rambling, I use google.
(PeterTaylor) I participate in some Java fora, as I expect most ToothyWikizens have gathered by now, and I have two stock answers which I use an awful lot: "You see that search box in the top-right corner?" and "Google is your friend". (Well, I have a third, which is to tell them to read the API documentation, but that's less relevant in this context). I really don't understand people who post a question to a forum and sit back for someone who knows the answer before even trying Google (and when you get the solution as first hit on the first search you try, you can be pretty confident they didn't try).
It has also replaced the dns system for me. I can't remember URLs, nor do I want to - but I can remember enough to get a google hit. --Vitenka
It also has a really quite cool calculator attached (as mentioned by MoonShadow on MetricConversionChart) which, as of a couple of quick tests, understands "sin(60)", "pi", "e" and "^"... No more need for the Windows calc, this is much better... :) --K
That's powerful. Oh, by the way, it can also do silly things, like "0x7a2 * 0b1011010 in Roman Numerals".
I can't make it do that... it'll do "4 in roman numerals" and it will evaluate that sum in hex or decimal... it does find this page when you search for it though -- Naath
Yeah, I was shocked the day I absentmindedly googled "10 feet in meters" and got a google page back saying "10 feet = 3.04800 meters" --JW Probably relevant to the more academic ToothyWikizens is [Google Scholar]: for searching academic literature (papers, theses, abstracts etc). It searches inside subscription-only online libraries and will turn up citations to an article even if it can't find that actual article online.
Ooooo! Edith likes. This will come in useful with my literatutre review. It seems to have turned out a few papers WebOfScience? didn't and I'm impressed by the relevance ordering. I'll withhold final judgement until it screws me over horribly but for the moment: Shiney O_O
There's an interesting Tragedy of the Commons here, whereby people stop creating websites that link to specific information because google is so effective at finding it for them, while google relies on these website lists in order to build up it's search hierarchy.
I don't think TragedyOfTheCommons? is quite the right term, but it's certainly an interesting problem - if it is happening. I suspect that enough people are running link aggregator sites that it's not a problem yet, but I can see how it might be. Maybe people will have to start manually submitting their sites to google again, and google will use more of its collected data to determine relevancy. --Vitenka