Saturday, January 29, 2005

Google - A Single Point of Failure

Hendrik Scholz has posted a paper that
he is going to present at <a href="http://chemnitzer.linux-">Chemnitzer Linux-Tage
(Babelfish required) and possibly at Interz0ne 4. The premise of the
paper is that we, as users, have become too reliant on Google.

I mostly disagree with Mr. Scholz. One or two of his points
are valid but I think the rest are in error. His error

  • the implication that it is only Google that voluntarily
    censors content based on local censorship laws
  • the implication
    that Google is not poisoned with ads in the way that Altavista is
    (Google has it bad also)
  • the implication that Firefox only works
    with Google (IE autosearches just one search engine also)(Firefox has
    the ability to add default search engines via plugins)
  • the
    assumption that Google should be used for all searches

is an underlying implication that Google is "the one". In my case, it
is not. Mr. Scholz statements about Google's (and other search
engines') results are accurate only from the point of view of the casual
user. Heavy use of search engines (I average 100 or so per day) reveal
that Google has many of the same problems as the rest (ad poisoning,
blind spots, etc.).

Yes, the community as a whole would suffer greatly
if Google ceased to exist or if Google resorted to overtly dishonest
practices but I don't think the topic is worthy of two conference