During the last TWIG they spent about 10 minutes discussing misinformation presented by Tom Foremski on ZDNet about Google allegedly manually tweaking search results.
I had a better opinion about ZDNet before. The allowed Mr. Foremski to publish misinformation and either didn't bother to proof it or did it intentionally. They did not apologize after Matt Cutts, a software engineer and the head of the web spam team at Google, explained in a comment that accusations against Google are false.
Anyway, G-d forgives it to ZDNet. But This Week In Google podcast is supposed to be well informed about Google, isn't it? Instead they spent time trying to defend Google and explain that the alleged wrong-doing is not a wrong doing at all! Mr. Foremski accused Google in an almost criminal activity (think about millions of dollars depending on companies page ranks). If it would be true, no one should have any deal with Google. But a programmer Gina Trapani went to long discourses about algorithms being human-made too, which was supposed to approve manual tweaking of page ranks! Jeff Jarvis wrote a book called "What Would Google Do". In a comment under TWIG buzz I suggested they should name the last podcast What Would Google Never Do.
Matt Cutts said,
"Hi, my name is Matt Cutts and I'm a software engineer and the head of the webspam team at Google. Tom, I believe you're reaching an incorrect conclusion from the sentence "Google uses human raters to assess the quality of individual sites in order to counter this effect" if you believe evaluation raters can change Google's search rankings. Our evaluation team only rates search quality changes; those raters don't have the ability to change Google's search results. Google has actually been remarkably open about how our evaluation team works. See a very detailed piece here, for example: http:// www.businessweek.com/the_thread/ techbeat/archives/2009/10/ googles_scott_huffman_ many_more_search_features_coming.html My team (webspam) does take action on spam in Google's web index, but we've disclosed that quite clearly for the last 7-8 years in our quality guidelines."