Google is Dying a Microsoft Death
I posted yesterday on potential problems with Google search results. It looks like other people are noticicing the same thing, and it's not me on the outside looking in, it's the people producing the content who are noticing.
Cotse.net, a privacy search, obviously monitors the term "privacy service" quite a bit. However they've noticed that instead of showing up on the first page as they have for a long time, they've been displaced by site privacy policies and Made For Adsense (MFA) pages. Not a very meaningful result set if you're actually looking for a privacy service.
A similar thing happened to people who posted other original content about canyoneering, WWII boats, and a few other miscellaneous topics. Google is losing the long tail of the Internet in a sea of search spam.
One person left a comment which pretty much lines up exactly with what I posted yesterday (not my words):
"Yep I agree... Google is becoming useless. 70-80% of results are pure SPAM. If you really want to find something it's easier to search digg/delicious or even blogs. "
Add on top of this the very real possibility that Google may be censoring news (hey, they did it in China, obviously they're not opposed to it!) and they've gotten themselves into a real pickle--they no longer deliver relevant information. That's their core business, and the reason they have a customer base.
I think what's happening to Google is the exact same thing that happened to Microsoft a few years ago. They've become so pervasive, so universal, that all the derelicts of society have focused all of their attention on them. In Microsoft's case, massive amounts of hackers started writing worms and viruses targeting them. In Google's case, people who used to send spam (until the spam filters got too good) have spent the last few years figuring out how to break Google's system.
This is going to be really, really bad for Google if this trend continues. I've already lost faith in Google, I won't be recommending them to my friends and family any longer. Could be the first time I'm hearing of Google losing lots of customers. It'll be interesting to keep an eye on.