Google Weblog

August 29, 2002: Watching Google Watch Meet Mr. Anti-Google, an article about the man behind Google-Watch (unfortunately it seems his server is down).

The article mostly matches my experiences with him (although he's been rather rude to me). I'd like to note that it would be easy for Google to store only the user's preferences in their cookie ("I like English but not SafeSearch"), but instead they also store an identifying code ("I am user 575245214585").

I tend to think Brandt should focus on building a better web site than complaining to Google about things. Maybe I'm just thick but I couldn't figure out what namebase did from their front page (archive cache). They also ask Google not to cache their pages, which makes them hard to use when the server is down (like now).

I agree with his contention that PageRank isn't a "democracy" but I don't think we'd want it to be either. PageRank is a meritocracy, where you get the best page, not the most popular. I think that's what we want.

I'm sympathetic to the fact that Google has become extremely important and I do think they should be far more open to the public (I'd even go so far to say that they should be come a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation -- I'm sure they'd get plenty of donations) but the fact is that building a search engine isn't all that difficult. As Raph Levien has said, Google's competitors have been kind enough to just go in the corner and die. If you think your system will get better results than Google's, go build it and show us like Page and Brin did at Stanford years ago.

Posted by Aaron Swartz on August 29, 2002 06:44 PM