Google backlash

Among the hot new topics in geekdom while I was on sabbatical is the Google backlash. First came the concern over Googlewashing, the web equivalent of memetic cleansing. Now bloggers are asking if pagerank is dead?
Google is far from dead (indeed, it seems to have been peaking in mainstream press love in recent months, since the mainstream press is always several months late to every technology revolution). However, Google's search result effectiveness has not improved significantly in quite a while. Its greatest strength is its greatest weakness, and that is the pagerank algorithm. Since everyone knows how it works, it can be gamed, Google's denials notwithstanding. And the idea of using the link structure of the web to sort search results, while a great improvement over previous predominant algorithms of web search, has plateaued in effectiveness. The next revolution in search requires not just a new body and a walnut trim but a different engine altogether.
Still, a search on my name in Google still puts me at the top of its search results, and for that my vanity is thankful. Though this Dr. Eugene Wei at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is getting on my nerves and must be stopped.