The chains we made, the chains we break

Monday, 1 May 2006

Chris Anderson:

What matters to modern search engines is relevance, measure mostly by the number of other sites that link to a page. A little-noticed implication of this is that older content tends to score higher because it’s had longer to accumulate incoming links. In other words, search inverts the usual priority of content: older is often better.

We don’t think of Google as a time machine, but that’s actually what it is. By subsuming time under more important criteria such as “authority”, it frees us from the tyranny of the new.