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in an article on zdnet UK on google’s vast IT infrastructure, google’s vice president of engineering is quoted with an interesting sentence which i (in a way;-) understand as answer to a suggestion i have made on back in february. he says:

we have thought of having a button saying ‘give me less commercial results’, but the company has shied away from implementing this yet.

wow! that’s big news – and i still hope they have the guts to implement that.
my original suggestion, for which i was heavily criticized on orkut:

separate commercial from informational queries
recent algorithm changes resulting from google’s fight against spam have made many webmasters furious, as apparently also a lot of innocent sites were dropped in an effort to fight “overoptimized” websites, aka spam.

so google is trying to find the right balance between informational SERPs and commercial ones, to satisfy both types of searchers. but why not let the user themselves decide which way to go? example: with used cars i’d be searching for bargains, with the search operator noncommercial:used cars (or radio butttons in advanced search or whatever) i’d be able to find informational resources about the pros and cons of driving used cars, etc.

we know that google is able to make the destinction. the only real disadvantage i see is that with such a feature, SEO professionals would quickly be able to learn how to bypass google’s distinction algos. but would they do it? would commerces want to be found on explicitly non-commercial queries? probably yes, but i think they wouldn’t persue spamming as forcefully as they do now.

so, google: give us searchers the power to switch off (over-)commerical results! google would partially return to its root as an informational research tool, at least to power users.

see the original thread on orkut, from february 13th (orkut is for registered users only). i cannot entirely rule out that google was listening, as it was in the early days of orkut when google was mainly populated by googlers and few others. of course, i maybe wasn’t the first with this idea, but still cool :-)


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