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Old news is new again. This article contains some good historical analysis about human reviews on Google.
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from MattCutts 4374 Days ago #
Votes: 0

"Next, let’s talk about "hand manipulation." To me, the anonymous search engineer from a Google rival cited in the New York Times article is suggesting that Google is actually picking the best sites on a query-by-query basis. For example, if you were to search for cars, then Google had people behind the scenes picking out the top sites. Bull."100% agree and concur. Just two weeks ago, someone did a joke video at PubCon where they offered $500,000 for a #1 ranking: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjYQ-ev3DKE . Not only did I turn this down for all the normal reasons, but as I explained in the video, we don’t even have a way to pick or force a result to be the #1 result for a query. So this is old news no matter how you slice it. I want to know what search engineer at other search engine made the claim that Google hand-picks the results for queries. Come on, ’fess up. :) P.S. Danny, I promise that the googlebomb detection is 100% algorithmic. :)

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from PhilippLenssen 4374 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Matt:"... we don’t even have a way to pick or force a result to be the #1 result for a query."Not true, there’s always the weird "Google Promotion" box (that doesn’t seem to be triggered by AdWords, and neither is organic). It may even include images!As far as "humans vs algorithms"... well, every algorithm is human-made and human-tested. That applies to Google ranking algos too, of course.Another way to think about hand-picking which results go to #1 is this. When a Google employee can ban the "normal" #1, then the old #2 result will be the new #1. Hence, you did pick the #1, manually. Take for instance censored results in Google China, where many "former" #1 results are removed by Google. (If you admit that there can be a self-increasing feedback loop -- people in China linking to the result they find at #1, thereby increasing its PageRank -- then you would even strengthen the former #2 a long time after you removed the censorship, if Google ever considers doing that in China.)

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from MattCutts 4374 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Philipp Lenssen, I think "you picked the #2 result to be the #1 result by banning the #1 result" isn’t what the story was talking about. Several people interpreted the story to say "Google evaluators can pick an arbitrary url and hard-code or pin that result to be #1 for the organic search results at Google." And that’s simply not true.That said, I completely agree that humans write the algorithms that run at Google. And humans make the links that form the basis of PageRank. So I’m not trying to say that humans don’t affect Google. I just wanted to respond to the "people can hard-code what the #1 search result is" claim on Google. And I’ve talked about this subject before, of course: http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/the-role-of-humans-in-google-search/

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from tonyp 4374 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Matt and Philipp, thanks for your comments about this important subject.Matt a special word of appreciation to you for being the "human" side of the Google algorithm.

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from MattCutts 4374 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Happy to try to help, tonyp. Just fyi, a Google PR person and I called Saul to make these points and Saul did a quick follow-up: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/12/19/google-theres-nobody-in-our-black-box-yet/

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from PhilippLenssen 4373 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I know you were not referring to the "Google Promotion" box, which happened to sit at the #1 overall spot -- organic + non-organic -- for some queries in the past (and present, if you include Google Products search).But likely either it’s an ad or it’s not, I think Google should make up their mind. If it’s considered part of organic results than you are misleading people by saying no one can simply toggle a switch to have something on #1. If it’s an ad, then the AdWords team is misleading people as they said Google manages ads under "the exact same guidelines, principles, practices and algorithms as the ads of any other advertiser. Likewise, we use the very same tools and account interface."Or is this box that thing in-between ads and organic results, and if so, isn’t that a great loophole where Google *can* put anything they like at #1?I know you aren’t responsible for all Google departments. But IMO someone at Google *should* be responsible for "overall results quality & integrity," including every last onebox and "related tip" and checkout icon and results censorship and "Google promotion" and what-not. Or do you already have that person/ team?

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