Maybe I'm just bitter because Popup Chinese is now ranking below nine pages of spam rather than our usual seven, but I had my hopes up for this latest Google salvo, mostly because of an unexpected Hacker News exchange
with a member of the Google search quality team who followed up by email and sounded like he actually cared about... you know... search quality.
So when I heard about the latest Panda rollout I tried a few queries only to discover that Google has managed to get worse. And this is no mean feat, since we're not talking about trivially worse so much as a plunge from pseudo-relevance into an almost total disconnect with reality. Impressively, the most popular Chinese learning resources online are now entirely invisible on the Big-G, buried below spam-friendly
Chinese-run operations which do not have any actual content or even any inbound links
. Maybe the company shouldn't have committed seppuku in Beijing after all.
In any event, I've tried to figure out what possible rule change could be causing this and my best guess is that Google is now penalizing the English language
, a conclusion I've reached since visiting these top-ten sites now presents a smorgasbord of Chinglish offers for "numbers of free classes and free Beijing tour guiding" once one does such things as hand over all one's personal information to "dawnload the applition." "Singing up" is easier than ever and who would not rush to hand over their credit card given the promise that "real business scenes of various situations,authentic and practical expressions are revealed"?Sarah Lacy
and Audrey Waters
, or anyone else who wonders why startups these days veer towards trivial apps that can be distributed anywhere but Google need look no further for the cause than the search engine's profound inability to show websites that people actually use. Because even if you're not interested in learning Chinese just try this search
to see exactly how screwed up Google is. And then compare the results to something like the App Store or Apple podcast directory, where things people use actually float to the top. What sort of product would anyone sane devote years of their life to, one that will never be found by the mainstream market or one with a shot of actually getting visibility if people use it? There is such a stunning contrast here between Apple and Google that it invites disbelief.
We all hear that search is a hard problem because Matt Cutts keeps telling us it is. But I'm starting to have my doubts. Because if Google can tell me as a webmaster what exact queries people are using to find my site and how long they are staying, I'm starting to wonder why they can't they use that data to get the trash off their front page? Or why their blog posts announcing the sanctity of the anonymized Analytics data I would happily share with them are now sandwiched between alerts that Facebook is the enemy and it is open season on my search history.
A panda throwing sh*t: all hail Google in 2012.