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How Google killed the web

How Google killed the web


It is difficult now to comprehend what a giant leap in thinking the web was when it was first created. It was, and still is to an extent, a vast resource of information without a central catalog of any kind. Before the web, it was considered simply the natural order of things that information had to be cataloged. Libraries have their Dewey Decimal System, for instance; the Library of Congress has its special Classification Outline and Subject Headings. But the world wide web has nothing… only links between the pages that form the fabric of the web itself.

So the 'catalog' of the web does not exist in any central location or resource. Popular sites will be linked to more often, hence will be found and viewed more often. The links on those popular sites will in turn make other sites that provide valuable material popular themselves. There would have been a natural growth of order in the web over time, while still allowing new sites to be created and have the opportunity to be found, linked to, and become popular in turn. Sites that were not maintained would die as their links were erased.

By now, the web should have been the most complete and most easily accessible information repository on the planet. For-profit sites and non-profit sites could have peacefully co-existed as long as they provided value to the user.

But then came Google and destroyed all of this.

Initially, Google held the hint of promise. The web was still wild and in some disorder, although order was quietly but slowly evolving. Google's seemingly effective search technology made it possible to find the information you were looking for very quickly. At first, this was good.

However, then came a new breed of webmasters whose first priority now was not to provide value to the user, which was the only thing that mattered before, but to get high rankings in Google's search results. And since Google's technology was not and is still not perfect, it was and is a fairly simple matter to 'game' Google and attain high rankings without giving value to the user.

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This has continued to the point where genuinely useful websites are now hard to find in Google's search results. The top results are frequently affiliate sites with content that is so thin it is almost transparent, but naturally with Google-baiting keywords liberally sprinkled throughout the text. Also there are sites that themselves pretend to be search engines, and get listed very highly in Google's results, but all they contain is the titles and descriptions of other web pages. And they are just copied from the sites they list using automated technology.

So, although Google appears superficially to be useful, it has in fact destroyed the natural order and flexibility that the web would have had by now. It encourages leeches and charlatans to exploit and prey on the quality provided by worthwhile sites. It demeans and dumbs down the whole of the Internet making it a place where knowledge and revelation are sparse at best, when they should have been shining brightly as the most complete and most accessible knowledge and information resource mankind has ever invented.

Shame on you Google.

David Mellor

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David Mellor