Google is ahead of its competitors but there is no denial that it has been struggling with spam for some time now. There is a lot of talk about this issue on some leading blogs i.e Google faces its next big challenge: ridding itself of the spammers it createdTHREE’S A TREND: THE DECLINE OF GOOGLE SEARCH QUALITY.

London and other major cities in the UK are riddled with Google Chrome ads (images below). In 24 hours I came across so many billboard ads promoting Google Chrome that I lost count, but to give you a rough estimate I can safely say that I must have come across at least 20 billboard ads in under 5 hours driving around London. 48 & 96 sheet billboards don’t come cheap specially at premium locations, minimum budget to run such an outdoor campaign would be roughly in the region of £2.5 million.

Why would Google promote a free browser so aggressively?

We know Google collects click stream data but why a sudden surge of outdoor ads? What could justify their aggressive campaign? Could Google use Chrome bookmarks as a ranking signal?

Let’s assume the following:

  • Domain.com/page.html receives 1000 visits per month via ‘XYZ’ keyword
  • 100 of those visitors spend an average of 1 min on page.html and they end up bookmarking the page in Chrome.

Wouldn’t bookmarks indicate that page.html is not only relevant to “XYZ” but its content is also useful? After all, why shouldn’t it? It is as good as it can get because it is an actual human being reviewing the page. These bookmarks can not be compared to social bookmarks because social bookmarks could be easily manipulated or automated. Of course, this doesn’t mean that such a signal would be bullet-proof, spammers might use malware/botnets to automatically bookmark sites through infected machines.

I believe click stream data along with bookmarks can be used as a strong relevancy and worthiness signal. Exactly how Google mines for this is like knowing the Pepsi recipe but I am confident it is using it as a signal.

Google Chrome Billboard London

Google Chrome Billboard London

Google Chrome Billboard Ad