This is a fun read.
How much ass does Google kick? All of it.
Remember when searching the Internet was hard? The dark days when we relied on dumb-as-sand machine intelligences, like those on the back-ends of AltaVista and Lycos, to rank the documents that matched our keywords? The grim era before Google, when searching was a spew of boolean mumbo-jumbo, NEAR this, NOT that, AND the other?
God, that sucked.
Lucky for the Internet, Google figured out the One True Way to make sense of the Internet, to defeat gamers of the system and send info-free brochureware plummeting to number n - 1 out of n results.
They did it with our help. Google's near-magical ordering of the Internet is built around the notion that computers are good at doing repetitive, uncreative things -- fetishistically counting things, for example -- and rotten at understanding why they're being asked to do these boring tasks. By contrast, human beings are great at understanding why they're doing something, but they're woefully deficient in the do-the-same-thing-perfectly-and-forever department.
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Panopticon
O'Reilly Network, by Cory Doctorow
Thursday, March 14, 2002