Google Blogoscoped

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Google Calling Itself Names

Peter Gasser noticed that when you search Google Germany for google rss feed, the top result will point to the German Google Reader service... with a title that can be roughly translated to “RSS reader of data-harvesting octopus Google” (“RSS-Reader der Datenkrake Google” – the word “Krake” is typically used negatively in contexts like these to express that a company has its arms in every sector, with potential privacy implications).

What’s happening? Usually Google takes the title shown from the title element of the target page, so it should be something like “Google Reader”. Well, this time Google Reader is disallowed for indexing by search engines, including the Googlebot... this can be seen by looking at the robots.txt line which reads “Disallow: /reader/”. In cases like these, Google looks at the text contained in links from crawlable pages which point at this uncrawlable page, to at least get something for the snippet. And apparently, a couple of webpages pointed to Google using the link text “RSS-Reader der Datenkrake Google”. While this title in Google’s result might have just been an unintended side effect, it may be that this could also be used as an approach for a different type of Googlebomb.

[Thanks Peter!]


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