Friday, March 23, 2007

Google Search Results - Cloaking...

My comments on: A quick word about cloaking:

I consider the issue in a much better state now, in that most (all?) Google searchers get the identical page to what Googlebot saw. But I still consider Philipp’s February posts open for investigation, and I will get to them, in the same way that I tackled Philipp’s first two posts about this.

March 4th:
Good. This is a problem with that has bothered me for a long time. Here is one post from 2005 I made:

I would think Google could come up with a user participation tool that could help identify this type of behavior. Just give people the ability to click something saying the search link didn’t return the expected results or something (I am sure Google can work on the details). I am sure Google can figure out how to separate, from that feedback, the problematic web sites from all the mistaken, malicious… clicks. Then those few sites, site sections and pages that systemically appear could be forwarded for human examination. This really doesn’t seem like it would be very tricky.

I suppose Google might worry about he confusion such an attempt might cause regular users. Ok, just make it an option. Then users that like me use Google alot and get annoyed at having to ignore those sites I have learned won’t provide the content Google says they will can choose to participate. Yes I understand this will create a self selected population identifying problems but I really don’t see that as a problem.

Another options I mentioned in 2005 is to give me a way of adding a list of websites I don’t want returned. Actually now I can just use a Google CSE to do this. In fact I just did - I excluded to test it out and it does work. Less than 2 minutes to do. This doesn’t do anything for those who think it is unfair for some to have Google return cloaked pages as results, but it does help if you just want to exclude certain sites from your results.

March 23rd:
In Search results: “Do Shareholders Have the Clout to Rein in Excessive Executive Pay...
Warren Buffett’s latest attack on excessive executive compensation is another chapter in the long-running saga about how much to pay top business leaders,”


But that isn’t the page the site gives web browsers who are instead forwarded to:

As I stated before I think having these results might well be fine but options should be provided to users to exclude these sites normally (but you can click an option to provide links that are matches but require additional hoops be jumped through - hopefully the option could be separated - show free registration sites and show sites where pay is required to view results. Also over time this should have the option for me to tell Google which sites I want included by default (say I have subscriptions to 3 sites already…). When I suggested this years ago I figured it might be a bit early to expect. I would have expected it by now.

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