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PostSubject: Google Fights Bogus Web Sites   Sat Feb 26, 2011 12:01 am

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Google Inc., long considered the gold standard of Internet search, is changing the secret formula it uses to rank Web pages as it struggles to combat websites that have been able to game its system.

The Internet giant, which handles nearly two-thirds of the world's Web searches, has been under fire recently over the quality of its results. Google said it changed its mathematical formula late Thursday in order to better weed out "low-quality" sites that offer users little value. Some such sites offer just enough content to appear in search results and lure users to pages loaded with advertisements.

Last month, Google acknowledged it "can and should do better" to beat back sites that "copy content from other websites" or provide information that is "just not very useful" but are ranked highly anyway.

"I've never seen Google be attacked on the relevancy of their results the way they have these past couple of months," said Danny Sullivan, editor of a widely read blog about the field called Search Engine Land.

The debate about Google's results was sparked by a recent blog post by Vivek Wadhwa, a former technology executive and a visiting scholar at the University of California-Berkeley. He wrote that his students had trouble finding basic information about the founders of start-up companies on Google.

"The problem is that content on the internet is growing exponentially and the vast majority of this content is spam," or of little use, he wrote. "Google has become a jungle."
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