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Thursday, December 04, 2003

Google Results Now Start with Relevant Category

I'm not sure if this is new, but I use Google every single day, and just noticed it this morning. Do a search for anything on Google now, and you'll see a category related to your search phrase just before the results begin.

For example, search on "buy wine," and you'll see this link to the Google Directory (which is a rebranded version of the Open Directory Project, aka the ODP, aka DMOZ):

Shopping > Food > Beverages > Wine

It appears that this somewhat confirms Andrew's speculation that Google is trying to discern the type of search you are doing in order to display the most relevant results based on what it thinks you're seeking. I've performed several searches, and it seems to be pretty good at showing the proper category for my search.

This step seems to make the ODP even more important than it was before in Google's estimation, which is a paradox in a way. I've never been able to understand why Google "trusts" the ODP so much to decide which category a site belongs in. The ODP is by far the worst commercial web directory on the Web! Google's reliance on such an outdated, bloated and poorly categorized collection of links undermines their supposedly sacrosanct regard for relevancy.

The entire Google/ODP relationship is a kind of bias toward older sites that have been listed in the directory for years. I think it's unfair to newer sites that are just as relevant, and perhaps even more so because newer sites tend to have fresher content. Many of these ODP listings that enjoy great PageRank numbers are nothing but rotting links, stinking up the joint. Just try to get a new site listed in the ODP. Bet you can't!

So, while I like the category idea, if Google wants to remain the search engine with the most relevant results, it's going to have to do better than the ODP.

Posted by Cory Kleinschmidt




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