In Response to Brian Tuners “Google was a links-driven search engine” article found on the domain http://www.internetbusiness.co.uk.
My comment was too long to leave on your article page. I added a track-back I hope it works.
I like the article. I do believe however it is missing some key points of “how” Google is assimilating its vast data base of user data. I personally believe there are at least five key tools Google uses.
The 1st is of course the SERP. They have the most control and the most time tweaking the code to get the data as accurate as possible for their search engine result pages. Results that are more clicked on than others are in my opinion more relevant.
The second is the purchase of Urchin and giving away “FREE” website analytics. I wonder just how much of the web Google is really tracking. I mean With website analytics we invite them to get more data then any other search engine. I think this is the ultimate user driven data source Google has at its finger tips.
The third is the Google Checkout system. The data is mainly for weighting is mainly for commercial keywords. Think about it with website analytics combined with actual revenue of a specific keyword they can actually judge how well your site converts, how much money you made from that customer, what keyword that customer used from ANY search engine, and thus could manipulate keyword ranks in this manner. A higher converting website with more traffic and more sales, that grosses more revenue than another is more relevant in my book. What if they started to base certain keyword PPC bidding prices based on this data. They know how much money your company grossed remember.
However, this brings up a thousand questions. What happens to startup companies, will they even be able to compete? Will the price of entering a market skyrocket? Bid prices really being “bids”? Shoot they even have an algorithm that gives a “quality score” on that. And many many other questions!
The fourth is the data gathered from sites like YouTube which you already mentioned. Don’t forget that Google is a advertising system company, thats where they make their money. They are a glorified publisher of user generated content. Yes the entire web is “Internet User” generated. They used to just publish our (Internet User) content, and label them as “search results” now they finally have websites that are not a search engines and have “real content”.
They also do advertising on TV and radio now. My point is simply they are a business. Many people tend to forget that they exist to make money. They are not a government entity nor are they a “non-profit” organization. I completely agree with you when you say they are trying to defend their algorithm and keep their user base.
The fifth all is all the rest of the data we actually just give to them for free because of the neat services they give us in return. These are the tools they give away for free just to keep us coming back and using their search engine. Or at least we thought thats all they were giving the tools away for free for. But come to find out in their TOS they can use my email for their business purposes. They can use my pictures, my blogger blog, my spreadsheets, text documents, notebooks, and etc. for enhancing their advertising system.
All of this Brian is where the user data is. I think explaining this would greatly enhance your personal position concerning the Google Algorithm(s) and its (their) new and future state.
Please note however, I do not believe all these systems are fully integrated. I am glad they are taking their time to make changes, if they do it right they will conquer the search engine space for another 20 years. Microsoft and Yahoo are so far behind in collecting data. Its ridiculous. Unless maybe Microsoft is collecting data via their IE browser and their Operating Systems. Wow, shoot that brings up so many many more questions.
If Microsoft did do that they would be able to compete with Google. That is their one and only current advantage over Google for user data in the search engine advertising world. Microsoft is not a advertising company. Which is one of the reasons why I love them. They actually produce their own products and services that people BUY! Google sells ads! in my opinion, thats their only product / service they actually sell. Where Microsoft actually produces products and hires advertising firms. It will be a long uphill battle for Microsoft. Its just not what they do best.