Your Vote Needed: Should Google sleep with its Relatives?

Google is growing, and folks are concernced it will favor it’s own tools and data over that of others

Dave Winer audaciously claims that Google will prefer and favor it’s own tools and applications than other third-party applications.

Dave Winer puts fear in my heart for a world where Google won’t support feeds from other than it’s recent acquisition, Feedburner:

“It could end up meaning “doesn’t work at all.” It’s quite possible in the second or third iteration that Google drops support for non-Feedburner feeds. It wouldn’t be unprecedented, far from it. Google Blogoscoped created a long list of Google products that “prefer” other Google products. I’ve never seen Google not do this when they had the chance.”

Dave also gives an example of Blogger, which was acquired by Google:

“The instant they bought Blogger they tied it to their toolbar. If they had used an open API the toolbar would have worked with all blogging tools. Google just doesn’t think that way, sorry to say.”

I’ve got my own findings: My previous blog was on blogspot, which I stopped publishing to over a year ago, it’s technorati Authority is 56 compared my current wordpress with 1356. This wordpress blog has 24 times that authority (incoming links) of my Blogspot site.

Yet, when I do a Google search on “Web Strategy” the blogspot URL comes up top.

When I try Yahoo, I get significantly different results, this domain comes up top

[Google is favoring it’s own blogspot domain over my generic domain, although Yahoo does not. This incestuous behavior will likely continue, is it right or wrong?]

The same thing will likely happen for videos published on all networks. Google will start to favor it’s YouTube videos before any other network, I mean why wouldn’t they?

As Google continues to acquire more and more applications, the web becomes somewhat less democratized and those who align with Google products are more likely to succeed.

Dave’s not so audacious as it may first seem, he’s right, this will only continue as Google continues to grow.

Is this Right or Wrong? Should Google favor it’s own applications?

1) Wrong: standards or a governing body should impartially cleanse this, this is a vicious cycle, stop being Gevil.
2) Right: Google is building the best software network the world’s ever seen, the more power to them.
3) Indifferent: Laissez-faire, it’s what happens in free markets, let’s let it happen naturally.
4) Other thoughts: Leave a comment below

Update: Adam from Google has responded in my comments, be sure to read his perspective.

  • Wrong: When it calls FCC to open up airwaves much to the disgust of Telecom companies, it should set a standard by adopting open standards.

  • Nope, you site comes up first here.

    And: Technorati links are your links in the last 180 days.

    Compare your numbers of backlinks for both sites and you will notice the difference. If you would have run your blog on another platform like typepad and had now switched, I’d expect similar results like you have.

    This is not google pushing theirs first, but google pushing higher linked site first.

    Which does not exclude the likely possibility of them preferring their own childreen.

    So far, Google has been quite good at finding something valuable for me. If most valuable is second best to a google product, people will start noticing it. Not for reasons as you give in comparison with the Technorati ranking of course. 😉

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  • I’m sure it’s tough not to favor their own services, but they must balance this with what their users want.

    If users disapprove, it will open up the door for competition, much like the new privacy initiatives offered by

    The users will decide by their actions if it is right or wrong.

  • I wrote about this over the weekend:

    I am torn but lean to the side of “Google is in business to make money, why shouldn’t they keep people inside their network?”

    Fair game left once they went IPO. Now the shareholders want the best return they can get.

  • Hey Jeremiah,

    I work in Search at Google, and I wanted to help debunk a current myth which you’ve spread above: We don’t elevante Google-hosted/created content in our search results above like content.

    That means we don’t push Blogger blogs about WordPress blogs. YouTube videos above Metacafe videos. We aim to show the most relevant and important results for every query… regardless of which results are affiliated with Google properties.

  • I have various blogs, some of which are at Blogspot.

    I haven’t seen those Blogspot blogs elevated in the SERPs, even if those blogger blogs have unique, original content.

    I’ll see what happens if I update those Blogspot blogs more often than my non-Blogspot blogs.

  • Nicole, thanks for the German perspective. I’m now in Virginia, (not CA anymore) and still see it happening.

    Great perspectives.

  • Chris, agreed.

    Allen, good article as always, we’re on the same track.

  • Adam,

    First of all, thanks for stopping by, it’s great to see someone from Google responding to blogs, that’s appreciated.

    Any thoughts why my blogspot blog (which I left a year ago) is scoring so high in Google and not Yahoo? I use pretty much the same keywords throughout.

  • Manual

    The experiment will work best if you shift one blog (like in my case) to a new tool. Same content, same posting pattern, etc.

  • or

    Why do you immediately assume that blogspot blogs are being favored in the results by one example. Furthermore, on the search this blog comes up in the second spot. Most likely it is due to the way Google rank sites. You point out that yahoo results are different as if that matters – yahoo results are different for many queries. And it is common knowledge that the search engines use different algorithms to rank results. By the way, scoble’s old blog url ranked first for a search on his name for a long time in Google(it changed now); his old blog was not on blogspot, so the same thing could be happening here. I am just amazed that you would make the accusation from just this one example. You can find one example for alot of things, and come to all kinds of wrong conclusions.

  • Thanks Or

    I’ve been known to be wrong before.

  • For quite some time my hosted site had a handsome pagerank, while my new domain doesn’t even rank (still hosted on WP software, but my install). I attributed this to doing some good SEO and submission, something I haven’t gotten round to doing.
    Sometimes the still comes up in searches.

  • It looks like there are lots of differing opinions here. I will only say this – if Google *is* skewing the results, it’s going to lose the power that made it what it is today – relevant, impartial search results.

    For any business, once you start getting away from your core competency, you’re on the road to trouble. It seems to me that Google has been diluting its brand over the last few years, and consumers are going to start being confused as to what they are.

    Even if they’re not skewing results, they’re going to have to do something soon to break this perception and win back the web community’s trust. Otherwise, public opinion will kill them faster than any competition might. Has Google “jumped the shark”?

  • Personally, I can’t imagine Google only supporting Feedburner any more than I can imagine them suddenly not supporting any blog platforms other than Blogger. However, I wouldn’t necessarily be surprised if they gave preferential treatment to services and applications that they own. I don’t think that they’re doing that, but it wouldn’t come as a huge shock if they were.

    As for the “Web Strategist” search, this domain comes up first in the rankings for me (I’m in Canada), and the old blogspot domain is second.

  • Paul Denlinger

    How about comparing search result rankings depending on which ad network the publisher belongs to?

    I’ll bet the results for that would be very interesting…

  • I like how Jeremiah shows proof (his old blog vs. new one) and Google’s Adam responds by waving his hands and saying “it is not true.” No proof. No arguments against. Just a simple “You’re wrong, we’re right. Now stop spreading lies!”

  • Thanks Michael.

    You’re right, my observations were based upon what I actually was experiencing. Maybe it was insular and not a global test, but it’s what I saw.

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  • Hi Jeremiah,

    Does the same thing happen when you do a Google Blog search? I think the proper comparison to Technorati would be via Google Blog search.

    While not the only factor, I suspect that pagerank & overall links could be a factor as well in displaying which blog comes first.

    I would also suggest doing the same search with your name at the various search engines (google, yahoo, msn) because they return different results. I get way more hits from Google than Yahoo, even less from MSN using my name.

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