Sunday, December 17, 2006

A plea for Google: meta tags for dates

A plea to Google, inspired by the ancient pages on my legacy hobby site.
Google Groups: Crawling, indexing, and ranking

I still get emails of gratitude from visitors to my legacy personal web site, even for pages that haven't been updated in five or six years. Much of the material is of historic or special interest -- some of it goes back about 10 years -- but there's a place for such content.

Alas, it's noise for most searchers, especially since Google can't handle date constrained searches very well. Which leads to a plea for Google to support date range meta tags.

If Google supported a 'creation date', 'last revised date', and 'archival date' users could create searches that would either filter out, or focus on, old pages. Sure crooks and scammers would produce invalid dates, but the bias would probably be to create invalid new dates. The value of false archival dates would be much less, so Google's algorithms could make inferences about the utility of the date information and act on it. (Archival dates are more likely to be true, date information from unchanging pages more likely to be true, date information from higher ranked pages more likely to be true, etc, etc.)

Thus my plea.

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