PageRank was broken from the start. The concept they were going after may still well exist though if they can get enough users of their search history tool. While other search engines still seem relatively easy to spam Google may be trying to measure web wide trust scores using much more than just raw linkage data.
Google need not stomp SEO techniques out, they only need to:
make the costs of SEO high enough that it is cheaper to build legitimate business models and brands than it is to build a business off of manipulating search results
Some people will be untouchable. They will know enough about social engineering and database programming to where they will still spam Google all day long. I am sure Google realizes that, but they want to continually increase costs to where that is an exceptionally small pool.
As SEO gets harder Google makes more money from ads. As they make more money from ads they can spend more into making SEO harder.
Now if only they could share more data with advertisers to help make click fraud easier to detect. Google bought Urchin. Why not buy, create, or offer something like Who's Clicking Who. Surely Google has the market data and it will not increase costs much to give advertisers more options and more data.
A search company which makes tons of profit organizing data should recognize that by making advertising transparent and making more ad information available they will create a more efficient market which creates more profits. The advertising community would likely police themselves if you gave them enough data and responded to feedback.
Google Inc. (GOOG.O: Quote, Profile, Research) on Wednesday debuted a test service called My Search History that analysts said is a move closer to personalized search, which is widely considered the Holy Grail for the Web search leader and its rivals. source
to use My Search History you must register at Google Accounts and maintain an active account. Ask Jeeves have had a search history tool for a while now and Yahoo! has My Yahoo! for various personalization effects, although Yahoo! seems more focused on providing news and blog feeds and the like. I think Yahoo! is betting on the abundance of information making subscribing to channels much more appealing than searching the web. I believe Yahoo! also allows you to subscribe to Yahoo! News feeds by keyword phrase.
Personalized search allows engines to better understand users to improve search quality and ad targeting. Whoever is branded as the best market solution on that front is going to make a bucket of cash, because keeping your search history and learning the user raises the barrier to switching search providers.
It makes it hard for another search service to be as relevant if you have tons of personal information already locked in a competing service. This data will be hard to export to other systems as well, as importing huge hunks of data will also allow marketers to import large volumes of spam.
I just briefly tested Google's service. It is fairly slick. You can quickly sign in or out and it adds minimal clutter to the Google home page.
From the link in the upper right corner you are brought to a new page. It shows a calender which color codes your search volume on the right side. The left side shows your searches for that day and the results you clicked on. The my history results that you click on also show up in the Google one box area when you search for similar terms using the regular search results.
Some privacy advocates would likely go nuts with this offering. It is all opt in though. I encourage everyone to sign in, search for seo, scroll past the Japanese stuff, and click on my listing.
Presumably some searchers may be able to build up a search history.
As they build it up it could build Google's trust in that user, which in turn could potentially allow Google to use that user feedback to verify search result relevancy.
I would not doubt this to do a bit more of globalizing SEO. Paying people in third world countries to randomly click certain sites. I am already building a search history today as a prospective SEO tool.
The Term Extraction service provides a list of significant words or phrases extracted from a larger content. It is one of the technologies used in Y!Q.
Google Blogoscoped created a free auto linker tool, which makes adding on topic outbound links exceptionally easy. Am betting some people creating fake blogs probably enjoy the offering.
Part of Google's strong brand is PageRank, which now is of little use AND rarely updated. With all of these other good ideas Yahoo! Search is coming out with I am a bit surprised they are not providing and heavily promoting a regularly updated connectivity measurement service. Whatever happened to WebRank?