Open Sourcing the Page Rank Algorithm

I'm proud to have the honor to make the single biggest announcement of 2009:

Google is open sourcing the Page Rank Algorithm!

We've all wondered for years what the factors and their weighting were. Now we'll know for sure.  No more guessing on what the penalties are for duplicate content. No more guessing on what effect SEO practices actually have. No more guessing on whether or not we should use “nofollow“. Sure, we'll likely have to deal with spammers but enough companies' livelihood is based on traffic, I don't think that's a huge problem.

But wait!?” you say. “Why would Google release their propritary technology to the world!? That makes no sense!

Personally, I always believed the same thing too.  That is until Google CEO Eric Schmidt spoke out recently.  In order to not take him out of context, here's a full quote:

If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place, but if you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines including Google do retain this information for some time, and it's important, for example that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act. It is possible that that information could be made available to the authorities.

Source: Slate's The Big Money (with video)

The only conclusion I can draw from this comment is that Mr Schmidt wants to end the concept of secret/private/proprietary information.  While I'm absolutely stunned – and more than a little concerned – but in this instance, I look forward to Google demonstrating leadership once again.  A great first step would be to open source the Page Rank Algorithm and releasing all employees from existing Non-Disclosure Agreements.

Google, when you give up your privacy, then we'll talk about me giving up mine.

Security guru Bruce Schneier has a less snarky look at Eric Schmidt's comments.