Tinfoil hat alert

According to Google Watch, our favorite search engine is dying. Supposedly Google is not indexing anywhere from ten percent to seventy percent of the pages it knows about.

Well, those are some pretty huge error bars, which right away scream out “wild speculation”. But if we read on, the guy offers as evidence the fact that his web site, namebase.org, appears as a bare URL in the Google index, rather than having the conventional snippet of content and careful indexing.

It sounds pretty convincing, until you go look at the source of his web page:


Yes, the idiot has specifically set headers on his web site to try to tell web crawlers not to archive any of the text, and not to cache anything—and then he complains that the Google index doesn’t have a cached index of his content in its archive.

Of course, it goes without saying that his site’s home page also isn’t valid HTML, failing to validate against any DTD whatsoever.

So in conclusion: (a) Google doesn’t always do a good job of keeping an indexed cache of things you’ve told it not to cache, and (b) Google doesn’t always do a good job of indexing things that aren’t actually web pages.

I mean, I’m not delighted that I’m no longer the #1 spot in a search for my name, but I don’t take it as proof that Google is broken.

I’ve been wondering for a while why it is that people are so keen to predict that Google is ruined, hopeless, shooting itself in the foot, lost, going to crash, it’s doomed, doomed, doomed I tell you!

I think it’s more than http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schadenfreude”>schadenfreude. I think Google irritates a lot of people because of the way they’ve put together a successful business by ignoring business rules and behaving ethically. They’ve refused to pollute search results with ads; they’ve refused to let people buy their way to the top; they’ve refused flashy graphical banners. They’ve thrived anyway. And a lot of people hate them for it.