Google faces its next big challenge: ridding itself of the spammers it created

There is, in the words of Jeff Atwood, trouble in the house of Google. It’s not unrest within the company that he’s talking about, though; it’s externally among users who are beginning to find that when they try to do searches to evaluate or buy consumer items – such as dishwashers, or iPhone 4 cases – or to find a site that will give them some useful answers, that Google’s results are awash with spam.

In fact, the problem that plagued the first generation of search engines such as Altavista now seems to be gaining traction on Google, which outdistanced those earlier rivals precisely because it dumped the spam so effectively — via

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