Sugarrae has a great post on how Google's policing of the web and pushing nofollow are undermining the social network and links that their relevancy algorithms are based upon. Worth reading from start to finish twice, then blogging about it. I would quote it, but a quote wouldn't do it justice.
The core issue is that Google places too much weight on domain authority and PageRank. Is The Wall Street Journal easy to trust? Sure...if they print garbage investors will stop buying their magazine. But even they publish garbage sometimes. Maybe Google could find a way to tune down domain trust and place more weight on other factors.
If Google decides that large networks should be trusted but that individuals should not be trusted much they are doing a bad job of encouraging web innovation. You only have to look at the entire history of mankind to realize that most innovation comes from individuals and small groups...not the large existing ones.
With as strong as Google is integrated into the web, if they are ever to fail their failure is more likely going to be due to an internal misperception than an external force. Great ideas are ignored, then shunned, then proven, then accepted. If Google doesn't make things accessible until step 3 or 4 they leave a big hole for competition in the search marketplace.
The path of least resistance and least trouble is a mental rut already made. It requires troublesome work to undertake the alternation of old beliefs. Self-conceit often regards it as a sign of weakness to admit that a belief to which we have once committed ourselves is wrong. We get so identified with an idea that it is literally a “pet” notion and we rise to its defense and stop our eyes and ears to anything different. — John Dewey
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