Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Wired News

Kristen Philipkoski
02:00 AM Nov. 01, 2002 PST

The journal Science retracted eight of Hendrik Schon's discredited research papers on Thursday, but the information still lurks on the Internet.

In September, an investigative committee found that 17 papers authored by Schon, considered to be major breakthroughs in physics, were mostly fabrications.

But a Web search on Schon's name turns up more pages touting those "accomplishments" than his firing in September by Bell Labs, the result of his fabricating that data.

So this is an important issue, but not an impossible one. It relates to the story about "The Google Gods"
Does search engine's power threaten Web's independence?
By Stefanie Olsen
Staff Writer, CNET
October 31, 2002, 4:00 a.m. PT

Patrick Ahern has witnessed the power of Google--and the difficulties of trying to do business without it.

Data Recovery Group, where he is president, would typically come up around the fourth listing on Google's popular search engine last year. Then in January, when Google removed the company from its listings without explanation, Data Recovery saw a 30 percent drop in business.

I have also suffered as I wait for Google to update it's database. It just today finally dumped my old URL's and rolled over to my new ones making my site google searchable again. It took months for Google to index me properly when I first got started. It was very frustrating. Having said that, I've run a search engine and I know how difficult it is to keep everyone happy.

blog theme song on... So maybe blogs, meta-indexes and things like to keep track of updates... basically the whole xml thing will help solve the issue of keep track of "the living web"...


I'm not sure I see a problem here. Even in a clear cut case like this, when search engines start taking an editorial role it's a bad thing. Search engines really do have a dispropriinate ammount of power on the internet. Maybe blogging will bring, uh, "balance to the force" (geek). Remains to be seen. But search engines are so much more convenient then blogs for instant information access. Just less trustworthy then a network of people.

Hmmm, I'm not sure about the relationship between business blogs yet. But as to google business, does it make sense to run a business who's dependent on search hits? Sounds dangerous and inflexible.

You probably already know this, but many people don't know that one can have some control over how Google behaves on your site (at least you can reliably tell google *not* to index something) by using the standard robots.txt file on the root level of the server. A search on "robots.txt" should reveal the specific situations in which this is appropriate. also looks for directives there which is very useful..

I was just loking at this page and just a little critisism,

try to edit your pictures that's all =)

It is really a case of 'power corrupts, and corrupts absolutely', and without a doubt, just by tweaking slightly on its algorithm knob, will effect overnight changes in the fortunes of thousands of small family operated websites. They themselves were taken aback by their own actions, and because of the bad publicity, and their intention to go for an IPO, they have finally(maybe short-lived) come to their senses to not exercise their power for the time being. Perhaps after their IPO, we will again feel this 'godly power' of theirs?