Speaking today at SMX West in Santa Clara, Google’s Director of Research, Peter Norvig, said that PageRank is overhyped and probably needs a new name.
His comments came during the morning keynote session in a conversation with Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan and Chris Sherman.
After being asked about search technologies that he thinks are over-hyped, Norvig eventually pointed out that the public’s focus on PageRank is misguided and it may be time for a new name.
One thing that I think is still overhyped is PageRank. People think, yeah, you do this computation on the web graph and then you just order all the pages by that [PageRank]. Yes, that computation is important but it’s just one of many things. And people say, “Oh, well you’re stuck if you don’t have that.” We never felt that way. We never felt that it was such a big factor. It’s got the catchy name and the name recognition, but we’ve always looked at all the available data….
There is this confusion that there’s this one component that’s called PageRank, but the whole thing [Google's algorithm] has [also] been called that. That was a mistake. We need some better branding.
Google has taken steps to de-emphasize PageRank already, as recently as last October when it removed PageRank from Webmaster Tools. There’s also been discussion about the idea of dropping PageRank from the Google Toolbar, but that hasn’t happened.