Techdirt: Google Caves On Russian Censorship. “Late last year, we were among those disappointed by leaked news from Google that it was toying around with a censored search engine for China — a country that the company had mostly left nearly a decade ago. After loud complaints both from people outside the company and many within, reports in late December said that the company had quietly halted efforts to build a censored Chinese search engine. But now… the company may be dipping its toe in the evil pool again, as it has apparently agreed to cooperate with Russia’s censors.”
BetaNews: Knowledge Graph ‘bug’ makes it possible to spoof Google search results. “A security specialist has discovered a bug in Google’s Knowledge Graph — the cards that appear at the top of search results to highlight key pieces of information and provide quick answers to questions– which makes it not only possible, but simple to manipulate search results.”
Search Engine Land: Hurricane Florence query shows Google delivering zero search results again in web search. “Back in March, Google conducted a limited test where they didn’t display search results in the web search results and instead only showed answers around time, calculations and conversions. Google quickly ended the test after only a few weeks of testing. But Google may be testing this again, according to Valentin Pletzer who tracks various Google tests in the search results.”
Search Engine Journal: Why & How to Track Google Algorithm Updates. “Most people tend to think of an algorithm as a way Google punishes websites. But really, algorithms are a way to reward websites for providing a good user experience and relevant content. Search is a zero-sum game. For every winner, there must be a loser.”
Scottish Legal News: Google comes under fire for revealing rape victims in searches. “Google is enabling users to uncover the identities of rape victims whose anonymity is guaranteed under law, The Times reports. Searches for criminals and alleged attackers in a number of prominent sexual assault cases reveal the names of women they have been convicted of attacking or accused of attacking.” You may remember that a similar issue was reported in Canada last September.
Gizmodo: Yelp And TripAdvisor Team Up To Pile On Google Over Search Monopoly. “Google found itself in an uncomfortable position over the weekend, as 60 Minutes placed a magnifying glass on the company that accounts for 90 per cent of all search traffic and asked if it is operating as a monopoly. Following the broadcast, Yelp and TripAdvisor announced a new initiative designed to restore more diverse local search results that have been undermined by Google’s own first-party services.”
SEO Roundtable: Google Cuts Down Search Snippets By Half. “Less than six months ago, Google increased the max characters shown in the search results snippets box to 320 characters but now it seems Google has cut it down to 160 or less characters over the past week. I’ve been hearing for the past week that Google is showing searchers a lot fewer details or characters in the search results snippet, but waited it out because Google is always testing stuff.”