Saturday, October 04, 2008

Google Is (Probably) Tampering With Its Search Results (Perhaps To Hurt Microsoft) - Intriguing Evidence

When I read about Microsoft's launch of the SearchPerks! program, I felt like reading about it on Wikipedia (I generally visit Wikipedia to read about something). I typed microsoft searchperks wikipedia into Google and got the top result pointing to the SearchPerks! webpage on Wikipedia.

Specifically, I reached this version of the article. Since at that time this version was the most recent version of the article, it was running as the main article. Once again feeling like puking about Microsoft's desperate actions, I decided to edit this article to give readers a
real perspective of this program.

So in the subsequent hours, I made multiple edits to the article which can be seen here, here, here, here, and here (these are in the order of older to newer). Note that I still believe that my perspective of this program (the way I presented it in Wikipedia) should be included in the Wikipedia article- it is something that deserves to be told to readers since it is true.

From time to time I would visit this webpage (always using Google to get me to the Wikipedia page) to check if someone added-to/edited/removed what I had added in the article. And every time Google would show the wikipedia article as the top search result, whether the query would be searchperks wikipedia, live searchperks wikipedia, windows live searchperk wikipedia or microsoft live searchperks wikipedia.

However, today when I wished to reach this page via Google, Google doesn't show link to the Wikipedia article any longer.

Following screenshots prove this:-

Also, a search conducted only on the Wikipedia in English domain returns zero results for the term searchperks:-

Finally, searching for the URL of the SearchPerks! program returns zero results:-

It seems that Google is manually tampering with its search results.

There is another interesting thing to observe. Look at this screenshot:-

It shows the search results page on Google for the query windows live searchperks wikipedia. Note that there are results from Wikipedia in the list of results returned by Google.

However, when I click on More results from link on the webpage, there are zero results, as visible in the screenshot below:-

This is awkward (and illogical) because if Google's algorithms return results from on the main search results page for the query windows live searchperks wikipedia, then why aren't at least those same results returned when the same query is ran for the domain

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