Google's No-Google tag blesses the Balkanized web
Karl Auerbach's prediction that the internet is balkanizing into groups of people who only accept traffic from each other took another step closer to reality today. The veteran TCP/IP engineer and ICANN board member has warned of the effect for years.
"The 'Net is balkanizing. There are communities of trust forming in which traffic is accepted only from known friends," Auerbach told Wired last year.
The trend can be seen at various levels. At the user level, where we see bloggers repeating each other in an echo chamber and reinforcing their views; in the middle of the network, where Verizon recently blocking off inbound email from Europe, and it's happening deep down at the packet level too, as a result of the net's background radiation.
But all these may look like an innocent prelude. Google said today that its search engine will respect a new link attribute, "rel=nofollow", which will means its algorithms will not give weighting to the target URL. MSN, Yahoo! and blog vendors said they'll follow suit. It's effectively declaring PageRank dead for weblogs, in an attempt to stem the problem.
Rest of Story: The Register