Valleywag just wrote about something that’s been bothering me for a few weeks now.
Google has stopped linking directly to sites in their main search results and is instead passing each url through a really long, gnarly redirect. This is something Yahoo! has been doing for a long time and it’s pretty lame. You can’t cut and paste links out of the search results any more, and it takes longer to get where you want to go because you have to go through a middleman. It’s a subtle thing, but it’s really annoying. I’ve always believed that the lack of such redirects was a big reason why Google always maintained a lead over Yahoo! in the search wars.
This is a bad, bad sign for Google. It means they are, perhaps for the first time, willing to sacrifice the quality of the user experience in order to feed more data to the reports read by upper management. Google wins here (short term), but the user loses. It’s very un-dude.
A change like this could only be made to their #1 money-maker if their fantastic culture and spirit is eroding and giving way to typical big company BS. It means that some VP managed to put his short term goals ahead of the company’s long term success. Perhaps they’ve let too many Paul Buchheit’s get away and hired ladder climbers in their place.
If I owned any Google stock, I’d sell it soon (although, to be fair, I’ve said that a few times before and I’ve been wrong every time).