Nov 6 2014

Matt Cutts Talks About Google Trying Not To Be Evil

Google’s famous “Don’t be Evil” mantra has been questioned time and time again for many years, but it’s back in the spotlight thanks to comments made recently by co-founder and CEO Larry Page. Page did an interview with the Financial Times in which he talked about how, as the FT put it, “the search engine’s original mission is not big enough for what he now has in mind.” The mission is actually that whole thing about organizing the world’s information and making it universally accessible, but the evil thing did come up. This is the part that deals specifically with that. FT reports: It is a decade on from the first flush of idealism that accompanied its stock market listing, and all Google’s talk of “don’t be evil” and “making the world a better place” has come to sound somewhat quaint. Its power and wealth have stirred resentment and brought a backlash, in Europe in particular, where it is under investigation for how it wields its monopoly power in internet search. Page, however, is not shrinking an inch from the altruistic principles or the outsized ambitions that he and co-founder Sergey Brin laid down in seemingly more innocent times. “The societal goal is our primary goal,” he says. “We’ve always tried to say that with Google. I think we’ve not succeeded as much as we’d like.” After that, the actual mission statement was discussed, and Page said he thought they probably needed a new one, and that they’re “still trying to work that out.” The reason they need a new one is basically that Google has grown so much, and has become so much more than the search engine it was when it was founded. I mean, they have robots, self-driving cars, smart glasses, smart contact lenses, and are trying to work on a cure for aging. It’s probably not too unreasonable to be thinking about updating the mission. Some took this story, however, and spun it as something along the lines of “Google has outgrown its ‘Don’t be Evil’ mantra”. I think this misses the point. Either way, Matt Cutts, who is currently on leave from Google (and it’s unclear whether he’ll actually be back or not), weighed in on the topic on an episode of This Week in Google . He said, “They have tried to have a culture of ‘Don’t be Evil,’ and you can argue over individual incidents, and you know, whether this specific thing is evil or that specific thing is evil, but Google as a whole, whenever I look at the DNA, the people try to do the right things. So if you’ve got Larry marching off in one direction, and you’ve got the rest of the company saying, ‘No, we disagree,’ then they drag their heels, and they create friction. That, in my opinion, helps to move things toward a consensus of maybe a middleground, which works pretty well.” He added, “And then having that critical mass of smart people lets you say, ‘Oh, now I can do voice recognition better. Now I can do image recognition better, and I can unlock all kinds of good applications to improve the world that way…’ It’s a tough call…It’s a good problem to have, I guess.” Here’s the full episode. This takes place roughly 28 minutes in, but the discussion about this whole topic lasts for quite a bit. The episode also has a lot of discussion about Cutts’ future with Google . Image via YouTube

Nov 6 2014

Has Google Lived Up To Its ‘Don’t Be Evil’ Mantra?

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Google’s famous “Don’t be Evil” mantra has been questioned time and time again for many years, but it’s back in the spotlight thanks to comments made recently by co-founder and CEO Larry Page. Do you think Google has done a decent job of keeping in line with the “Don’t be evil” mantra? Share your thoughts in the comments . Page did an interview with the Financial Times in which he talked about how, as the FT put it, “the search engine’s original mission is not big enough for what he now has in mind.” The mission is actually that whole thing about organizing the world’s information and making it universally accessible, but the evil thing did come up. This is the part that deals specifically with that. FT reports: It is a decade on from the first flush of idealism that accompanied its stock market listing, and all Google’s talk of “don’t be evil” and “making the world a better place” has come to sound somewhat quaint. Its power and wealth have stirred resentment and brought a backlash, in Europe in particular, where it is under investigation for how it wields its monopoly power in internet search. Page, however, is not shrinking an inch from the altruistic principles or the outsized ambitions that he and co-founder Sergey Brin laid down in seemingly more innocent times. “The societal goal is our primary goal,” he says. “We’ve always tried to say that with Google. I think we’ve not succeeded as much as we’d like.” After that, the actual mission statement was discussed, and Page said he thought they probably needed a new one, and that they’re “still trying to work that out.” The reason they need a new one is basically that Google has grown so much, and has become so much more than the search engine it was when it was founded. I mean, they have robots, self-driving cars, smart glasses, smart contact lenses, and are trying to work on a cure for aging. It’s probably not too unreasonable to be thinking about updating the mission. Some took this story, however, and spun it as something along the lines of “Google has outgrown its ‘Don’t be Evil’ mantra”. I think this misses the point. Either way, Matt Cutts, who is currently on leave from Google (and it’s unclear whether he’ll actually be back or not), weighed in on the topic on an episode of This Week in Google . He said, “They have tried to have a culture of ‘Don’t be Evil,’ and you can argue over individual incidents, and you know, whether this specific thing is evil or that specific thing is evil, but Google as a whole, whenever I look at the DNA, the people try to do the right things. So if you’ve got Larry marching off in one direction, and you’ve got the rest of the company saying, ‘No, we disagree,’ then they drag their heels, and they create friction. That, in my opinion, helps to move things toward a consensus of maybe a middleground, which works pretty well.” He added, “And then having that critical mass of smart people lets you say, ‘Oh, now I can do voice recognition better. Now I can do image recognition better, and I can unlock all kinds of good applications to improve the world that way…’ It’s a tough call…It’s a good problem to have, I guess.” Here’s the full episode. This takes place roughly 28 minutes in, but the discussion about this whole topic lasts for quite a bit. The episode also has a lot of discussion about Cutts’ future with Google . Cutts thinks Google tries not to be evil. Do you believe him? What are some specific areas that you think the company needs to improve on in that regard? Share in the comments . Image via YouTube

Apr 18 2014

Google Penalizes PostJoint, Another Guest Blog Network

Google has taken out another guest blog network. This time it’s PostJoint. Techtada tweeted about it to Matt Cutts ( via Search Engine Land ), who responded: @techtada any link or guest blog network that claims to have "zero footprints" is waving a giant red flag. — Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) April 18, 2014 Luana Spinetti says it can “thrive outside of Google”. @mattcutts @techtada PostJoint can still thrive outside of Google and I'm all for that. I really love that service. — Luana Spinetti (@luanatf) April 18, 2014 PostJoint is no longer ranking for a search for its own name. What a great user experience and relevant results! The penalty comes after Google had already penalized MyBlogGuest . When that happened, PostJoint put up a blog post about how it was differerent, in which Saleem Yaqub wrote: We’ve always put quality first even if this means a smaller user base and lower revenues. We are selective about who we work with, and we moderate everything from user accounts, to links, content and participating sites (on average we decline 70% of sites that apply). We’ve always been concerned about footprints, so from day one we’ve had a unique no browsing approach, where nobody can browse or crawl through our site list or user base. Our technology is built from the ground up with a zero footprints principle in mind. Compare this to MBG which is essentially a modified forum that anyone could join and you’ll start to understand the fundamental differences. We work hard to filter out spam and sites made for SEO. Sometimes activity on PostJoint does include follow links but these are mostly surrounded by good content, good blogs, and good marketers. PostJoint is an independent intermediary, we facilitate the connections and streamline the process, but what the users ultimately do is their own choice. Apparently Google doesn’t care about all that. Saleem confirms the penalty in the comments of that post ( via Search Engine Watch ). As we’ve seen, Google has legitimate sites afraid of accepting guest blog posts, and some that do accept them afraid to link naturally . Image via PostJoint

Apr 14 2014

Google Considers Making SSL A Ranking Signal

About a month ago, Google’s head of webspam Matt Cutts said at the Search Marketing Expo that he’d like to see Google make SSL site encryption a signal in Google’s ranking algorithm. Barry Schwartz at SMX sister site Search Engine Land wrote at the time, “Let me be clear, Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search spam, did not say it is or it will be part of the ranking algorithm. But he did say that he personally would like to see it happen in 2014. Matt Cutts is a senior Google search engineer that has opinions that matter, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Google does announce in 2014 that this is a ranking factor – but it is far off and may never happen.” It doesn’t look like anything new has really happened with this yet, but the Wall Street Journal has a new report out reaffirming Cutts’ desire for such a signal: Cutts also has spoken in private conversations of Google’s interest in making the change, according to a person familiar with the matter. The person says Google’s internal discussions about encryption are still at an early stage and any change wouldn’t happen soon. A Google spokesman said the company has nothing to announce at this time. Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan is quoted in the article, and makes a pretty valid point that Google adopting such a signal could “cause an immediate change by all the wrong sites” – those specifically trying to game Google. Of course as head of webspam, something tells me Cutts has considered this. If it is to become a signal, it’s likely not going to carry a huge amount of weight. Google will still always want to provide the best user experience and content to users. At least that’s what their official stance will be. Even if the motivation is to improve search rankings, sites making themselves more secure can’t be a bad thing ( until it is ). But then, one has to wonder if Google will launch another algorithm update to penalize sites that are making themselves more secure just to influence search rankings just as it penalizes those who try to get links to get better search rankings. I wonder how that would work. Image via YouTube

Dec 9 2013

Google Gives Advice On Speedier Penalty Recovery

Google has shared some advice in a new Webmaster Help video about recovering from Google penalties that you have incurred as the result of a time period of spammy links. Now, as we’ve seen, sometimes this happens to a company unintentionally. A business could have hired the wrong person/people to do their SEO work, and gotten their site banished from Google, without even realizing they were doing anything wrong. Remember when Google had to penalize its own Chrome landing page because a third-party firm bent the rules on its behalf? Google is cautiously suggesting “radical” actions from webmasters, and sending a bit of a mixed message. How far would you go to get back in Google’s good graces? How important is Google to your business’ survival? Share your thoughts in the comments . The company’s head of webspam, Matt Cutts, took on the following question: How did Interflora turn their ban in 11 days? Can you explain what kind of penalty they had, how did they fix it, as some of us have spent months try[ing] to clean things up after an unclear GWT notification. As you may recall, Interflora, a major UK flowers site, was hit with a Google penalty early this year . Google didn’t exactly call out the company publicly, but after reports of the penalty came out, the company mysteriously wrote a blog post warning people not to engage in the buying and selling of links. But you don’t have to buy and sell links to get hit with a Google penalty for webspam, and Cutts’ response goes beyond that. He declines to discuss a specific company because that’s not typically not Google’s style, but proceeds to try and answer the question in more general terms. “Google tends to looking at buying and selling links that pass PageRank as a violation of our guidelines, and if we see that happening multiple times – repeated times – then the actions that we take get more and more severe, so we’re more willing to take stronger action whenever we see repeat violations,” he says. That’s the first thing to keep in mind, if you’re trying to recover. Don’t try to recover by breaking the rules more, because that will just make Google’s vengeance all the greater when it inevitably catches you. Google continues to bring the hammer down on any black hat link network it can get its hands on, by the way. Just the other day, Cutts noted that Google has taken out a few of them , following a larger trend that has been going on throughout the year. The second thing to keep in mind is that Google wants to know your’e taking its guidelines seriously, and that you really do want to get better – you really do want to play by the rules. “If a company were to be caught buying links, it would be interesting if, for example, [if] you knew that it started in the middle of 2012, and ended in March 2013 or something like that,” Cutts continues in the video. “If a company were to go back and disavow every single link that they had gotten in 2012, that’s a pretty monumentally epic, large action. So that’s the sort of thing where a company is willing to say, ‘You know what? We might have had good links for a number of years, and then we just had really bad advice, and somebody did everything wrong for a few months – maybe up to a year, so just to be safe, let’s just disavow everything in that timeframe.’ That’s a pretty radical action, and that’s the sort of thing where if we heard back in a reconsideration request that someone had taken that kind of a strong action, then we could look, and say, ‘Ok, this is something that people are taking seriously.” Now, don’t go getting carried away. Google has been pretty clear since the Disavow Links tool launched that this isn’t something that most people want to do. Cutts reiterates, “So it’s not something that I would typically recommend for everybody – to disavow every link that you’ve gotten for a period of years – but certainly when people start over with completely new websites they bought – we have seen a few cases where people will disavow every single link because they truly want to get a fresh start. It’s a nice looking domain, but the previous owners had just burned it to a crisp in terms of the amount of webspam that they’ve done. So typically what we see from a reconsideration request is people starting out, and just trying to prune a few links. A good reconsideration request is often using the ‘domain:’ query, and taking out large amounts of domains which have bad links.” “I wouldn’t necessarily recommend going and removing everything from the last year or everything from the last year and a half,” he adds. “But that sort of large-scale action, if taken, can have an impact whenever we’re assessing a domain within a reconsideration request.” In other words, if your’e willing to go to such great lengths and eliminate such a big number of links, Google’s going to notice. I don’t know that it’s going to get you out of the penalty box in eleven days (as the Interflora question mentions), but it will at least show Google that you mean business, and, in theory at least, help you get out of it. Much of what Cutts has to say this time around echoes things he has mentioned in the past. Earlier this year, he suggested using the Disavow Links tool like a “machete”. He noted that Google sees a lot of people trying to go through their links with a fine-toothed comb, when they should really be taking broader swipes. “For example, often it would help to use the ‘domain:’ operator to disavow all bad backlinks from an entire domain rather than trying to use a scalpel to pick out the individual bad links,” he said. “That’s one reason why we sometimes see it take a while to clean up those old, not-very-good links.” On another occasion, he discussed some common mistakes he sees people making with the Disavow Links tool. The first time someone attempts a reconsideration request, people are taking the scalpel (or “fine-toothed comb”) approach, rather than the machete approach. “You need to go a little bit deeper in terms of getting rid of the really bad links,” he said. “So, for example, if you’ve got links from some very spammy forum or something like that, rather than trying to identify the individual pages, that might be the opportunity to do a ‘domain:’. So if you’ve got a lot of links that you think are bad from a particular site, just go ahead and do ‘domain:’ and the name of that domain. Don’t maybe try to pick out the individual links because you might be missing a lot more links.” And remember, you need to make sure you’re using the right syntax. You need to use the “domain:” query in the following format: domain:example.com Don’t add an “http” or a ‘www” or anything like that. Just the domain. So, just to recap: Radical, large-scale actions could be just what you need to take to make Google seriously reconsider your site, and could get things moving more quickly than trying single out links from domains. But Google wouldn’t necessarily recommend doing it. Oh, Google. You and your crystal clear, never-mixed messaging. As Max Minzer commented on YouTube (or is that Google+? ), “everyone is going to do exactly that now…unfortunately.” Yes, this advice will no doubt lead many to unnecessarily obliterate many of the backlinks they’ve accumulated – including legitimate links – for fear of Google . Fear they won’t be able to make that recovery at all, let alone quickly. Hopefully the potential for overcompensation will be considered if Google decides to use Disavow Links as a ranking signal . Would you consider having Google disavow all links from a year’s time? Share your thoughts in the comments .

Nov 14 2013

Matt Cutts Talks Blog Comments And Link Spam

If you run a blog, you no doubt come across spammy comments with links in them frequently. You may know that this can hurt your page in Google, but sometimes people leave comments with links that are actually relevant to the conversation. Perhaps they want to illustrate a point, or discussed the topic at length in their own blog post that they want to share. Perhaps it’s a relevant YouTube video. Are you allowing these types of comments in? Are you putting a nofollow on all comment links? Should they really be nofollowed if they are in fact relevant? Google’s Matt Cutts talks about comments with links in a new Webmaster Help video, but from the perspective of the person leaving the comments. A user submitted the following question: Google’s Webmaster Guidelines discourage forum signature links but what about links from comments? Is link building by commenting against Google Webmaster Guidelines? What if it’s a topically relevant site and the comment is meaningful? “I leave topically relevant comments on topically relevant sites all the time,” says Cutts. “So if somebody posts, you know, an SEO conspiracy theory, and I’m like, ‘No, that’s not right,’ I’ll show up, and I’ll leave, you know, a comment that says, ‘Here’s a pointer that shows that that’s not correct,’ or ‘Here’s the official word,’ or something like that. And I’ll just leave a comment with my name, and I’ll often even point to my blog rather than to Google’s webmaster blog or something like that because I’m just representing myself. So lots of people do that all the time, and that’s completely fine.” “The sorts of things that I would start to worry about is, it’s better, often, to leave your name, so someone knows who they’re dealing with rather than you know, ‘cheap study tutorials’. You know, or ‘fake drivers license,’ or whatever the name of your business is,” he continues. “Often that will get a chillier reception than if you show up with your name.” “The other thing that I would say is if your primary link-building strategy is to leave comments all over the web to the degree that you’ve got a huge fraction of your link portfolio in comments, and no real people linking to you then at some point, that can be considered a link scheme,” Cutts adds. “At a very high level, we reserve the right to take action on any sort of deceptive or manipulative link schemes that we consider to be distorting our rankings. But if your’e just doing regular organic comments, and you’re not doing it as a, you know, ‘I have to leave this many comments a day every single day because that’s what I’m doing to build links to my site,’ you should be completely fine. It’s not the sort of thing that I would worry about at all.” I doubt that this video will do much to change people’s commenting habits, and prevent excessive comment spam, but at least it’s out there. Bloggers are going to have to continue being aggressive with comment moderation and/or use nofollows on comment links if they don’t want spammy links making their pages look bad. Of course, if the spammy comments are there, the page will still look bad to users, and Google doesn’t want that either, regardless of whether or not links are passing PageRank. At the same time, if you’re leaving a comment with a link, and aren’t trying to influence Google’s rankings, you shouldn’t really care if your link is nofollowed, right?

Oct 9 2013

Matt Cutts On Geo-location: Just Treat Googlebot Like Every Other User

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In the latest Google Webmaster Help video, Matt Cutts responds to a question about geo-location: Using geo-detection techniques is against Google, I am offering the useful information (price, USPs) to the users based on the geo-location. Will Google consider this as spam? i.e. showing X content to search engines and Y content to users. “Geo-location is not spam,” he says. “As long as you’re showing, ‘Oh, someone’s coming from a French IP address, let’s redirect them to the French version of my page or the French domain for my business,’ that’s totally fine. Someone comes in from a German IP address, I’ll redirect them over to the German version of my page – that’s totally fine. The thing that I would do is make sure that you don’t treat search engines any differently than a regular user. So if Googlebot comes in, you check the IP address, imagine that we’re coming from the United States, just redirect Googlebot to the United States version of your page or the .com, – whatever it is that you would serve to regular United States users. So geo-location is not spam. Google does it.” “Whenever users come in, we send them to what we think is the most appropriate page based on a lot of different signals, but usually the IP address of the actual user,” he adds. The last part of the question (the X content to search engines and Y content to users part), he says, is cloaking, and is something he would be “very careful about.” The point is, just treat Googlebot like every other user, and you should be fine.

Aug 8 2013

Can Google Really Keep Competitors From Harming Your Business?

Some webmasters aren’t convinced by Google’s “solution” to negative SEO. Wasn’t Google’s Disavow Links tool supposed to be a major help in preventing negative SEO – competitors (or other enemies) associating your otherwise legitimate site with “bad neighborhoods,” by way of links? Do you think Google’s tool does its job the way it should? Is it the answer to this problem? What more should Google be doing to help webmasters? Let us know what you think in the comments . Perhaps Disavow Links has helped combat negative SEO for some, but it hasn’t stopped the issue from coming up repeatedly since the tool was launched. Google has a new Webmaster Help video out about the topic. Matt Cutts responds to the user-submitted question: Recently I found two porn websites linking to my site. I disavow[ed] those links and wrote to admins asking them to remove those links but… what can I do if someone, (my competition), is trying to harm me with bad backlinks? Notice that Google rephrased the question for the video title: Should I be worried if a couple of sites that I don’t want to be associated with are linking to me? Cutts says, “So, you’ve done exactly the right thing. You got in touch with the site owners, and you said, ‘Look, please don’t link to me. I don’t want to have anything to do with your site, and then if those folks aren’t receptive, just go ahead and disavow those links. As long as you’ve taken those steps, you should be in good shape. But if there’s any site that you don’t want to be associated with that’s linking to you, and you want to say, ‘Hey, I got nothing to do with this site,’ you can just do a disavow, and you can even do it at a domain level.” “At that point, you should be in good shape, and I wouldn’t worry about it after that,” Cutts concludes. So, this has basically been Google’s advice since the Disavow tool launched, but is it really the answer? Based on the submitted question, it makes it seem like the webmaster did what he was supposed to do (as Cutts acknowledges). So why submit the question if the issue was resolved? Is it just a matter of time? Is the webmaster overlooking other variables? Is the solution Cutts prescribes really not the solution? Is there even a truly effective solution? Some webmasters in the comments on YouTube aren’t convinced by Cutts’ response. “What a crock Matt,” writes user jeffostroff. “What about the scammers who have 5000 links pointing to our site from sites in China or Russia, where no one responds, not even the web hosts. Disavow has not worked. When are you going to offer ability to disavow whole countries. I’m sure many Americans don’t want any links coming from other countries if their site is targeted only to Americans.” That comment has the most YouTube likes of the bunch so far (17) . “I don’t think simply disavowing links is necessarily the solution Matt,” Chris Ainsworth comments. “Agreed it will help to disassociate a website from any rogue/malicious links but it doesn’t solve the on-going issue of competitor link spam tactics. In many cases, especially with larger brands, managing link activity can be a time intensive process. Should it be the responsibility of the business to manage their link profile or should Google have the ability to better identify malicious activity?” That one got 15 likes. Google has been talking about the effects of the Disavow tool on negative SEO from the beginning. In the initial blog post announcing the tool, Google included an FAQ section, and one of the questions was: Can this tool be used if I’m worried about negative SEO? The official response from Google was: The primary purpose of this tool is to help clean up if you’ve hired a bad SEO or made mistakes in your own link-building. If you know of bad link-building done on your behalf (e.g., paid posts or paid links that pass PageRank), we recommend that you contact the sites that link to you and try to get links taken off the public web first. You’re also helping to protect your site’s image, since people will no longer find spammy links and jump to conclusions about your website or business. If, despite your best efforts, you’re unable to get a few backlinks taken down, that’s a good time to use the Disavow Links tool. In general, Google works hard to prevent other webmasters from being able to harm your ranking. However, if you’re worried that some backlinks might be affecting your site’s reputation, you can use the Disavow Links tool to indicate to Google that those links should be ignored. Again, we build our algorithms with an eye to preventing negative SEO, so the vast majority of webmasters don’t need to worry about negative SEO at all. So really, it does sound like Google does aim to shoulder the responsibility for negative SEO, rather than webmasters having to rely on their tool to battle it. Google wants to do that battling algorithmically, but is it doing a good enough job? Comments like the ones above and countless others in various threads around the SEO industry would suggest that it is not. Google is probably right in that “the vast majority of webmasters don’t need to worry about negative SEO,” but what about the minority? How big is the minority? That, we don’t know, but as often as the issue comes up in discussion, it seems big enough. Even if Google isn’t doing a good enough job combatting the issue, that doesn’t mean it’s not trying. Google makes algorithm changes on a daily basis, and many of them are certainly aimed at spam-related issues. Perhaps it will get better. Perhaps it has already gotten better to some extent. The concerns are still out there, however. Real people appear to still be dealing with negative SEO. Either that, or they’re just diagnosing their problems wrong. What do you think? How common is negative SEO really? What would you like to see Google do to address the issue? Share your thoughts .

May 1 2013

Guess Which SEO ‘Misconception’ Matt Cutts Puts To Rest

In Google’s latest Webmaster Help video, Matt Cutts is asked about a common SEO misconception that he wishes to put to rest. The answer: Google is not doing everything you read about in patents. Cutts says, “There a sort of persistent misconception that people often have, which is that just because a patent issues…that has somebody’s name on it, or someone who works at search quality, or someone who works at Google, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we are using that patent at that moment.” He continues, “Sometimes you’ll see speculation, ‘Oh, Google had a patent where they mentioned using the length of time that the domain was registered.’ That doesn’t mean that we’re necessarily doing that. It just means that, you know, that mechanism is patented.” Cutts recalls, “Somebody else at Google had gotten a patent on the idea (or the mechanism, not just the idea, the actual implementation) by which you could look at how people had changed their webpage after an update, and basically say, ‘Oh, these are people who are responding to Google, or they are dynamically SEOing their stuff,’ and so there were a lot of publishers who were like, ‘Ugh, I’m just gonna throw up my hands. Why bother at all if Google’s just gonna keep an eye?’ and you know, ‘If we change, and Google’s just using that and monitoring that, and changing their ranking in response,’ and it’s the sort of thing where just because that patent comes out, doesn’t mean that Google’s currently using that technology.” “So, patents are a lot of interesting ideas,” he adds. “You can see a lot of stuff mentioned in them, but don’t take it as an automatic golden truth that we’re doing any particular thing that is mentioned in a patent.” It is true that patents provide a lot of insight into the kinds of ideas that Google is thinking about, and often we can only really speculate about certain things that it is actually implementing.

Apr 15 2013

Matt Cutts Thinks You Should Consider Giving Up News

An interesting Twitter exchange between Googlers Matt Cutts and Tim Bray: Follow @mattcutts Matt Cutts @mattcutts A great article about why you should consider giving up news: http://t.co/p32BilNFxc   Follow @timbray Tim Bray @timbray @mattcutts Except for, the world is run by people who care about what’s going on in it. Want to be one of them, or not?   Follow @mattcutts Matt Cutts @mattcutts @timbray all I know is the two times I’ve given up news/social media for 30 days have been among my most productive months.   Reply  ·   Retweet  ·   Favorite 10 hours ago via web · powered by @socialditto If you follow the adventures of Matt Cutts, you no doubt know that he regularly engages in “30 day challenges,” in which he spends a month focusing on some goal. For January, his challenge was “no news, no Twitter, fewer emails, and no social media in general”). It was a quiet time for Google algorithm update news to say the least. “In general, when I wanted to hop onto Techmeme or Google News or Hacker News or Twitter/Nuzzel, instead I opened up my to-do list,” Cutts wrote of his experience. “As a result, I got a ton of stuff done in January. I quickly learned that if something important was happening, I’d hear about it from someone else.” The article Cutts points to in the tweet above comes from The Guardian, and is called, “News is bad for you – and giving up reading it will make you happier”. According to that, news: misleads, is irrelevant, has no explanatory power, is toxic to your body, increases cognitive errors, inhibits thinking, works like a drug, wastes time, makes us passive, and kills creativity. It’s an interesting read. I’ll give it that.