Seth Dillingham points out that I didn’t do my homework here. Google might be starting out with the Open Directory database, but they are then modifying it apparently using Page Rank.
The bizarre thing is they’ve apparently truncated the listings — the Open Directory database has many more weblog tools listed than does the Google version (unless Google’s version is old and not being updated, which seems unlikely).
In that case, it is indeed odd that Radio Userland doesn’t show up there is odd. It may not be the best or most widely used tool, but it certainly has a significant base, and leaving it out is odd.
This certainly validates part of Winer’s point — that Google’s got a stupid way of producing its directory. It looks like they’re using Page Rank to create a half-human/half-machine created directory which is actually less useful than if they’d just reproduced as-is the Open Directory data.
Dave Winer has this (unintentionally) amusing slam at Google over the lack of inclusion of his blogging tools in their directory of blogging tools,
Google’s directory of weblog tools. None of the tools I wrote made the list. Centralized directories on the Web are like buggy whips for cars. Let’s fix this bug.
Google, this makes you look like a total asshole company. Your tool is
listed first, and your competitor’s tools aren’t listed at all. When
will it become too embarassing to support this antiquated mode
But, of course, this is not Google’s directory — they have no responsibility at all over what gets listed here. They’re simply rebranding the Open Directory project whose directory is available to anyone. I guess the Open Directory folks are probably in some sort of conspiracy with Google or something like that.
As far as Open Directory, it’s not a bad directory but runs smack into the main problem that creating a general directory of the Internet is pretty much an unmanageable task at this point. Dave’s got his own proposed solution which doesn’t do anything that I can see to obviate the obvious problems with creating a directory of a network that has millions of sites and billions of pages.
I’m surprised that anybody uses these general directories like Yahoo! or Open Directory anymore. It’s a little like encountering an old card catalog for a library with a sign reading, “Warning: this catalog only indexes 5% of the actual known books in the library.” Would you actually bother to use such a tool? Then why bother with Yahoo! or Open Directory?