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Eugen Tarnow


      Google Does Not Scale

      Eugen G Tarnow  June 28 2017 07:15:54 AM
      By Eugen Tarnow, Ph.D.
      Avalon Business Systems, Inc.

      In the aftermath of the EU decision against Google's manipulation of its search results to favor its own products, it is instructive to ask why Google did what it did.

      The answer is, perhaps surprising: Google had to do it because Google does not scale. There are too many web pages and Google can't figure out what the order of the search results should be, including where its own products should display.

      Let me repeat it.  The Google search algorithm does not scale.  

      If it did scale, Google would not have to change its algorithm all the time.

      The reason it does not scale is that Google does not have enough statistics of what search results we prefer to click on.  The reason for that is that we rarely go beyond the first 5-10 results, making results further down the list for all purposes nonsense to Google.  Google just has no idea whether search result 15 should be higher up than result 16 because neither get enough clicks.  And Google has really no idea whatsoever once we get to search result 301.  

      Thus Google functions sort of as an intelligent phone book with 10 results that may be relevant.  The rest might as well never show up.

      If Google wants to sell its own products and the relevant search result starts out as 301, it will never move up.  So Google has to cheat and move it up to bypass its own search algorithm which does not scale.

      Here is an example.  I wanted to know who purports to measure the time it takes to fill out government forms.  My search query was "who measures how long it takes to fill out a government form".  The 2nd result was "How the Government Measures Unemployment".  The 8th result was "Handbook of Sexuality-Related Measures".  I did not find the answer I was looking for.

      So Google is great for answering some popular questions, to find the five largest manufacturers of a particular gadget. and to direct users to the businesses in Google's business directory (as long as they get to push their own directory ahead of everything else).

      But if you are a small business trying to sell something you don't have a chance.  And don't let the SEO companies tell you otherwise.  

      Google makes everybody scurry around in the false belief they can show up on the first search page.  It changes its algorithm and makes everybody run around again.

      It is just a waste of time - because Google does not scale.

      Added September 1, 2017: Google does not seem to know how to alphabetize.  A search on Big Little Lies indicates that the first choice of outlet starts with a "Y":

      Image:Google Does Not Scale.

      Added September 25, 2017.  When searching for a drug covered earlier in this blog ( http://mitphd.com/Check%20Big%20Data%20Blog.nsf/dx/an-unpopular-drug ), Google puts the uncorrelated drugs.com on top (see http://mitphd.com/Check%20Big%20Data%20Blog.nsf/dx/internet-drug-ratings-askapatient.com-webmd-correlate-well-but-drugs.com-does-not ):

      Image:Google Does Not Scale
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