Brian Russell
Brian Russell / Marketing / September 12th, 2012

Won't That Hurt the Web, Matt?

Mr. Google - Matt CuttsHave a question for Google? No, not the kind you enter into a search box. The kind for Matt Cutts — one of the few faces you see regularly speaking on behalf of the search behemoth. He gives some behind-the-scenes information on why they did this or that, or if what you heard they were doing is actually true.
If you have a new question for him, well, you’re too late. Questions are closed. But, you can still vote up my question for Matt Cutts. I think the answer is important to the future of the Web.
The burning question I have (and that’s burning me up) is “won’t ‘not provided’ make the Web worse?”   You can probably tell what I think the answer is. It’s one of those things which, I said earlier this week, makes me like Google less than I did.

I agree with the venerable Poynter Institute, it’s hurting the Web more each day. It’s not just marketers that are being hurt by the now-withheld information. It’s impacting everyone — website owners and website users.

When you can help visitors get to where they want to go faster, everyone wins. And, sure, you can infer what the search visitor was looking for when they arrived at the site, and whether they found what they were looking for or bounced.
“Infer” isn’t far off from “assume,” though. There’s at least one clever saying about what happens when one assumes.
Another great inference, later proved to not be true, is: the whiskey missing from the barrel was consumed by angels. History is littered with bad inferences, because they’re easy to make in the absence of observation or scientific data.
I’ve always heard that Google hires the top scientists in their field. Shouldn’t they support exact data, too, rather than making improvements based on inferences and assumptions?