Saturday, October 28, 2006

Search Bombs

A typical morning often finds me getting online and checking the news and reading some blogs before I head to work. This past week, I read an blog written by Jeremy Zawodny titled "You're welcome to google on Yahoo." The entry was in response to Google's attempt to get people to not overly generalize the word "google" which got a lot of attention this week because Google blogged about it on their official site (even though the news itself is actually pretty old).
As I was listening to the radio on the way to work, the reporter started to talk about "google bombs". My first thought was that people might be trying to hack Google, but then I realize that they were talking about search engines being tricked by political campaigns to return negative attacks on opposition candidates. The tactic is that if you are X running against Y then you put up a lot of pages that speaks negatively about Y so that when users search for "Y" they would find bad things written by X. This really didn't have anything to do with Google and has a distinctly negative connotation.

It is this type of usage that I believe Google is trying to prevent against. Imagine what other companies might do if their names were being used completely out-of-context in a negative way... Although I often find that people give Google a little too much credit, in this case I actually admire that they attempted to explain their action to the public in a way to help people understand. Too often, the languages use by company when they try to justify their actions are either too full of legal speak or they just don't say anything to the public at all.

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