Google Disarms 'Googlebombs'

Google has made what it calls a "pretty small" change to the way it indexes Web sites in order to prevent a prank often called "Googlebombing" in which many people link the same word to specific Web site in order to raise it to the top of search results.

Notable Googlebombs, or linkbombs, include the word "failure" resulting in a link to U.S. President George W. Bush's Web site, as well as associating the word "talentless hack" with Adam Mathes. In turn, Google says it has improved the way it analyzes the link structure of the Web.

"Now we will typically return commentary, discussions, and articles about the Googlebombs instead," explained Google engineer Matt Cuts in a blog post. "Over time, we've seen more people assume that they are Google's opinion, or that Google has hand-coded the results for these Googlebombed queries. That's not true, and it seemed like it was worth trying to correct that misperception."

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Instead of correcting the results by hand, which was possible as Cuts said there are under 100 well-known Googlebombs, Google developed an algorithm to address the problem. "Algorithms are great because they scale well: computers can process lots of data very fast, and robust algorithms often work well in many different languages."

Searching for the word "failure" on Google no longer links first to the White House, although "utter failure" still displays an editorial on President Bush as the top result.

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