Google blames supposedly buried iTunes links on technical difficulties, fix on the way

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Hours after media outlets caught wind of a potential search issue relating to direct iTunes App Store links, Google has issued a statement saying the problem has to do with fetching pages from iTunes' web servers.

Duplicate
As noted by Search Engine Land, a Google search restricted to Apple's iTunes server for "WhatsApp" returns regional results separately.


The search giant told The Verge late Tuesday that a server issue is to blame for a problem in which searches for iOS apps buried direct iTunes links in pages of results.

Google's statement:
We've been having some issues fetching pages from the iTunes web servers, and as a result some people may have had problems finding iTunes apps in search easily. We're working with the team there to ensure search users can find what they're looking for.
According to Danny Sullivan from Search Engine Land, the issue could be a "duplicate content problem" on Apple's side.

"With duplicate content, you have two or more pages that are virtually identical to each other," Sullivan said. "That can confuse search engines and sometimes have the effect of 'splitting the vote' when it comes to ranking, so that neither page wins."

However, the fault may not entirely lie with Apple, as an identical search on Microsoft's Bing returns no duplicate content.

Ouriel Ohayon, co-founder of AppsFire, first discovered the anomaly earlier on Tuesday after noticing a direct iTunes link to his WhatsApp messaging app was difficult to find when doing a basic Google search.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 75
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    This was the most likely reason.
  • Reply 2 of 75
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,544member
    They found a way to blame Apple.
  • Reply 3 of 75
    jecaronjecaron Posts: 12member
    Difference between Apple and Google.. Apple admits when they did wrong .. Google just blames everyone else!!
  • Reply 4 of 75
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    The search giant told <em>The Verge</em> late Tuesday that a server issue is <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2013/4/2/4176530/google-says-missing-itunes-store-links-in-search-results-due-to">to blame</a> for a problem in which searches for iOS apps buried direct iTunes links in <a href="http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/04/02/google-search-reportedly-de-ranking-direct-itunes-app-store-links">pages of results</a>.

    Of course. It was a server issue - the issue is that Google's servers were programmed to downgrade Apple pages.

    Does ANYONE believe the garbage that Google says any more (other than the paid shills, of course)?
  • Reply 5 of 75
    jameskatt2jameskatt2 Posts: 688member
    Google is being evil as usual.

    The European Union should investigate Google on this latest attempt to shore up its Monopoly.
  • Reply 6 of 75
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    jragosta wrote: »
    Of course. It was a server issue - the issue is that Google's servers were programmed to downgrade Apple pages.

    Does ANYONE believe the garbage that Google says any more (other than the paid shills, of course)?

    You are so quick to discharge any hypothesis if there isn't a mountain of verifiable proof to back it up but now you're claiming it was done maliciously by Google. Does not compute!

    Consider what you're suggesting. Google had some meeting where they conspired to make anything by Apple not sure up for several pages just to reverse that a few hours later. Do you think they didn't expect anyone to notice that one of the most heavily searched for domain names and products on the internet was coming up with bad results? Do you think Google expected the world to suddenly forget Apple, the tech company with the most mindshare, to be instantly forgotten? They rely on their searches to be accurate and if they are not they can lose that position to competitors. If they put anything about Apple several pages back people would go to other engines, not stop buying and using Apple's products. No matter what the scenario this hurts Google.
  • Reply 7 of 75
    pendergastpendergast Posts: 1,358member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    You are so quick to discharge any hypothesis if there isn't a mountain of verifiable proof to back it up but now you're claiming it was done maliciously by Google. Does not compute!

    Consider what you're suggesting. Google had some meeting where they conspired to make anything by Apple not sure up for several pages just to reverse that a few hours later. Do you think they didn't expect anyone to notice that one of the most heavily searched for domain names and products on the internet was coming up with bad results? Do you think Google expected the world to suddenly forget Apple, the tech company with the most mindshare, to be instantly forgotten? They rely on their searches to be accurate and if they are not they can lose that position to competitors. If they put anything about Apple several pages back people would go to other engines, not stop buying and using Apple's products. No matter what the scenario this hurts Google.

    I doubt this was an actual conspiracy, but it does seem like Google always makes sure its own products or services appear high on its rankings. I think this is a conflict of interest and abuse of market power, and should raise antitrust concerns. This is just the latest example where Google makes sure its service is ranked higher than a competing one.
  • Reply 8 of 75
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,714member


    Translation:  We didn't think anyone would notice or call us out on it.


     


    This from the same company that claimed they couldn't fix the bogus Santorum "definition" at the top of their search results during the last election.


     


    "Don't be evil", my arse.

  • Reply 9 of 75


    Another reason I no longer use Google

  • Reply 10 of 75
    macbook promacbook pro Posts: 1,605member
    I noticed this several weeks ago but thought that the few instances I noted were isolated.

    Given the various nefarious practices in which Google has previously engaged I am inclined to believe this was not a server error.
  • Reply 11 of 75
    macbook promacbook pro Posts: 1,605member
    I hate to say this but perhaps it is time Apple considered purchasing a search engine.
  • Reply 12 of 75
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    pendergast wrote: »
    I doubt this was an actual conspiracy, but it does seem like Google always makes sure its own products or services appear high on its rankings. I think this is a conflict of interest and abuse of market power, and should raise antitrust concerns. This is just the latest example where Google makes sure its service is ranked higher than a competing one.

    A lot of their services are very popular so I don't think that's unreasonable. I have personally noticed over the years that Google's own services don't always come up first. The first time I noticed this was with their Maps. I distinctly recall MapQuest ranking higher for quite some time after I had moved to Google Maps.

    That isn't to say that there isn't some finagling going on make Google's result look more attractive — they certainly have done some very dubious things over the years — but to all of a sudden push Apple's results back a half dozen pages makes absolutely no sense for a business standpoint. It could be an asshole engineer that maliciously made a change on his own behalf and Google is covering up that fact to save some face in how easily results can be manipulated (just a scenario; I have no idea how easy it is to do that) but it's certainly not Google the company sitting around looking for ways to not include Apple in their search results.
  • Reply 13 of 75
    pendergastpendergast Posts: 1,358member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    A lot of their services are very popular so I don't think that's unreasonable. I have personally noticed over the years that Google's own services don't always come up first. The first time I noticed this was with their Maps. I distinctly recall MapQuest ranking higher for quite some time after I had moved to Google Maps.

    That isn't to say that there isn't some finagling going on make Google's result look more attractive — they certainly have done some very dubious things over the years — but to all of a sudden push Apple's results back a half dozen pages makes absolutely no sense for a business standpoint. It could be an asshole engineer that maliciously made a change on his own behalf and Google is covering up that fact to save some face in how easily results can be manipulated (just a scenario; I have no idea how easy it is to do that) but it's certainly not Google the company sitting around looking for ways to not include Apple in their search results.

    I agree. I more think Google is potentially guilty of inflating its own ranks, and am specifically referring to the whole Google+ thing from a while back.

    The potential for abuse is too high, proof or not, and Google really needs to be split into a Search Company and a Services Company.
  • Reply 14 of 75
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    You are so quick to discharge any hypothesis if there isn't a mountain of verifiable proof to back it up but now you're claiming it was done maliciously by Google. Does not compute!

    Let's see if we can figure this out:

    1. Google has many years of search experience and presumably knows what they're doing.

    2. It just happens that results of their largest competitor in the mobile space (and, arguably, the largest threat to their overall business) sees its results downgraded and Google's competing products upgraded - even though Apple's products are significantly more popular.

    3. This only started appearing a couple of years after Google started competing with Apple (it never happened before) and a year or so after Google started facing serious legal issues with Apple.

    4. It doesn't happen to anyone else - just Apple.

    Yeah, I'm sure it's just a coincidence. Some gremlin climbed into their system and upset the search results without any direction from Google management. Absolutely a coincidence as you're implying.

    Right.
  • Reply 15 of 75
    solipsismx wrote: »
    This was the most likely reason.

    I guess that is why Bing has the same pro... Oh, wait. Bing does not have the same problem.
  • Reply 16 of 75
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    jragosta wrote: »
    Let's see if we can figure this out:

    1. Google has many years of search experience and presumably knows what they're doing.

    2. It just happens that results of their largest competitor in the mobile space (and, arguably, the largest threat to their overall business) sees its results downgraded and Google's competing products upgraded - even though Apple's products are significantly more popular.

    3. This only started appearing a couple of years after Google started competing with Apple (it never happened before) and a year or so after Google started facing serious legal issues with Apple.

    4. It doesn't happen to anyone else - just Apple.

    Yeah, I'm sure it's just a coincidence. Some gremlin climbed into their system and upset the search results without any direction from Google management. Absolutely a coincidence as you're implying.

    Right.

    1) I've bee getting email from Apple successfully (for the most part) for more than a decade so presumably Apple knows what their doing and yet they still have email delivery issues. So it's just a temporary inconvenience when it happens with a longstanding Apple service but when it happens to Google it's some sort circuitous conspiracy hatched by Dr. Claw?

    2) How do you know that it didn't affect any other search results? All you know is that it affected Apple's results, which certainly has the highest mindshare and therefore would easily be noticed. Let's remember that you claim that Google Maps can't be better than Apple Maps unless you test every possibility so where is your detailed testing suite of at least a handful of other companies with huge server load?

    3) Seriously think about your finger-pointing. You have no proof, Google hurts themselves in every way possible with this action, and it's cartoonishly foolish if it is on purpose. It simply makes no sense. If they were going to do it don't you think they'd be a little more subtle about it than sticking Apple's results on page 6 or 7? There is no Monty Burns touching his fingertips saying "Excellent."

    4) Again, Google doesn't benefit from this gaffe. In every possible way it hurts them.

    I guess that is why Bing has the same pro... Oh, wait. Bing does not have the same problem.

    So if something happens to Google and doesn't simultaneously happen to Microsoft then Google is lying? How the **** does that make sense?
  • Reply 17 of 75
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,174member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MacBook Pro View Post



    I hate to say this but perhaps it is time Apple considered purchasing a search engine.


     


    Why bother with that when Siri can be molded to much of that function, and likely is on that path

  • Reply 18 of 75

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    1) I've bee getting email from Apple successfully for more than a decade so presumably Apple knows what their doing and yet they still have email delivery issues. So it's just a temporary inconvenience when it happens with a longstanding Apple service but when it happens to Google it's some sort circuitous conspiracy hatched by Dr. Claw?



    2) How do you know that it didn't affect any other search results? All you know is that it affected Apple's results, which certainly has the highest mindshare and therefore would easily be noticed. Let's remember that you claim that Google Maps can't be better than Apple Maps unless you test every possibility so where is your detailed testing suite of at least a handful of other companies with huge server load?



    3) Seriously think about your finger-pointing. You have no proof, Google hurts themselves in every way possible with this action, and it's cartoonishly foolish if it is on purpose. It simply makes no sense. If they were going to do it don't you think they'd be a little more subtle about it than sticking Apple's results on page 6 or 7? There is no Monty Burns touching his fingertips saying "Excellent."



    4) Again, Google doesn't benefit from this gaffe. In every possible way it hurts them.

    So if something happens to Google and doesn't simultaneously happen to Microsoft then Google is lying? How the **** does that make sense?


     


    You're absolutely right.  Since Google makes money through search, they want popular search results to be on top regardless of whether those pages belong to a competitor.


     


    jragosta, why would Google intentionally downrank iTunes results?  iTunes doesn't compete with Google services.  Apple users download through iTunes while Android users download through the Play Store.  An iPhone owner isn't going to start using Google Play because it appears in search results.  It doesn't work that way.

  • Reply 19 of 75
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    charlituna wrote: »
    Why bother with that when Siri can be molded to much of that function, and likely is on that path

    Sir's backend appears to have it's own search functions but a great deal of it is offloaded to other specific services. However, the majority of topics will ask you to search in Safari which defaults to your pre-selected search engine. I wouldn't mind Apple giving this a go but first I would like maps.apple.com to launch with a web version of their mapping software. I say release and perfect one of these services at a time.
  • Reply 20 of 75
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,544member
    You're absolutely right.  Since Google makes money through search, they want popular search results to be on top regardless of whether those pages belong to a competitor.

    jragosta, why would Google intentionally downrank iTunes results?  iTunes doesn't compete with Google services.  Apple users download through iTunes while Android users download through the Play Store.  An iPhone owner isn't going to start using Google Play because it appears in search results.  It doesn't work that way.

    Well if the android version is closer to the top/front, the naive user would think the app is only for android. Google makes money on ads. The more pages, the more ads, the better chance of user clicking an ad.
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