Recently people have been asking whether the approach that Google has taken to PageRank hurts the Google brand. Some people have made the parallel between the manual adjustments to PageRank and the adding of epicycles to a scientific theory to deal with anamolies. So the interesting question is whether these PageRank epicycles are chinks in the Google armor.
Personally, I think that it would take a lot more than the webmaster community to bring down Google. However, I do think that this reveals a weakness in Google’s typical philosophy that everything can be solved by algorithmically. And, I also think that it’s a shame that some important sites online aren’t being accurately represented by PageRank. So while it might be a chink in the Google armor, it’s going to take another search engine coming in and offering a stronger, more accurate measurement of a page’s overall value.
Yahoo, Ask and MSN have the infrastructure in place to offer a better alternative. But the only thing that could ultimately beat Google is a company that came along with a truly semantic search that was more fully human. And it wouldn’t hurt if they also offered a better way to evaluate the relationships between websites on the web.