Google - not the Operating System of the Internet
We expect an operating system to work, know what files are on its disks and show us a consistent behavior. Google doesn't give us any of this.
June 3rd update: On May 31, Doc Searls posted a link to this very page (Mountain View, we have a melborp Thanks Doc). The same day Dave Winer picks it up and also publish a link to here. Thanks Dave. On June 2nd GoogleGuy, a Google Inc. employee, reads about it there and answer the thread I have started five days before that at a forum on WebmasterWorld.com.
After some thinking I reached the conclusion that the display mechanism of Google somehow chokes on information that comes from webpages with ALL languages that are written from right to left. To this GoogleGuy replies:
If only all our reports were so thorough! :) I agree with what hanan_cohen was saying--it's not a problem in the index, but rather with the generation of snippets (the display mechanism). That's a good sign; it might take a few days to nail it down and get a fix pushed out, but it shouldn't require any crawling/indexing changes, because we have the correct documents. Thanks again, hanan_cohen. I'll drop by again if I find out more info from talking to people around here.
David Weinberger writes in a Guardian column : "A URL (uniform resource locator) is an internet address and a Google URL is the shortest, simplest phrase you can search for at Google that will put the desired URL at the top of the list of matches."
As I see it, Weinberger is thinking of using Google as a file listing command for the internet, like DIR in DOS or PIP in RSTS/E.
Google is not THE operating of the internet and not AN operating system of the internet.
First, an OS is something that sits in the middle (or the bottom) of a computer system. Domain name servers and TCP/IP routers are located in the middle of the World Of Ends. They work, and continue to work, for a long time. The TCP/IP and DNS protocols don't belong to anyone. They are part of the infrastructure of the internet.
On the other hand Google is located at the ends of the World Of Ends. It belongs to a commercial company and it is unstable and broken at times.
Today, May 30th, 2003, Google has been unstable and disfunctioning for 25 days. Google has changed its PageRank algorithm and until Google finished reshuffling its index, it's really not clear now who is going to be at the top and who will be at the bottom of SERPs (Search Engine Result Page). Today, no one can give anyone a Google URL (like Weinberger suggested) knowing what page will come first as a result.
But if this is not enough, there is more. Since May 5th, google.co.il is totally broken. All the results from Israeli domains show only the URL of the page, without the title of the page, without the search term in context of the page and without a link to the cached page. It's not the first time that it happened. I have documented the same problem back in November 2002.
I have tried to use almost all the local versions of Google (Visit Google's Site in Your Country) and found out that the only local Googles that are broken are those with languages that are written from right to left, United Arab Emirates and Israel.
And there is even more. I run a website call Irrelevant that is the Israeli equivalent of Snopes.com where I publish and debunk Email chain letters and rumors. It is the first and only such site in Israel that publish this content in one place.
I don't want people to come to my site and read if they should forward a piece of Email they get. I want them to search Google for keywords or names found in the Email and see if "Irrelevant" appear on the search results.
My site has more than 60 items. First, All the stories were listed on the main page. Then I saw that it is too much text for one page and added links to individual items on the first page, while keeping all the stories on the main page. What I thought was that Google will find the links to the items and index them. Then I will be able to remove the full texts of all the items from the first page.
I have waited for more than three months, changed the names of the links to the items, changed the structure of the page and nothing. Google didn't index the pages with the individual items. My readers search for specific items, find the main page and have to wait for a very long page to load before being able to locate the Email they are checking.
And a last note. A few days ago I taught a course at work on searching the Internet. Most of my curriculum was based on Google. I told my students that I am sorry but Google is broken. One of my students asked "Did a virus hit it? Can we do something about it?" and my answer to her was a sad "No".
Look outside the window. The graphics are amazing