Is Google Broken?

Elsewhere on this site I’ve stated that I love Google. That still mostly holds true, but there’s been some things about Google lately that are making me pause a bit.

The first concerns Google’s apparent abandonment of RSS for (exclusively) the still-incubating Atom syndication format/API. I won’t bother rehashing the situation here; if you want more details, check out this wonderfully recursive-ironic Google search for “google atom” to get all the gory details. To me this seems like a highly questionable/irresponsible move for Google to make, frankly rather surprising. Hopefully they’ll come to their senses over there.

The other thing deals with their AdWords program. I think it’s broken. Here’s the deal: We’ve been toying with AdWords to run ads on a new project we’re working on, to see how the system worked and if it would be worth it to ramp it up. (Side note: very cool. You can get a nice in-depth look at Google’s internal keyword rankings without ever putting any money down.) Well, it worked for a while, we were very impressed, but then suddenly, over the weekend sometime (I think), it stopped working.

Completely. Our ad never shows up on the exact same searches that it was previously showing up under before. In fact—and here’s the biggest clue that something is seriously broken—as you page through the results, the exact same ads that appeared on the first page of results appears on every subsequent page of results.


This did not happen before and should not be happening now. Something is broken. Period. For at least a week. Could it have something to do with Google doubling their index to over 6 billion items (4 billion web pages)? Maybe.