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[opensource] [Fwd: 'Your Google docs: Soon in search results?]

James Jacobs jrjacobs at
Sun Sep 20 10:33:25 PDT 2009

Is it time to set up open goo for the stanford community?


'Your Google docs: Soon in search results?'

Users of Google Docs and Spreadsheets accustomed to publicly
publishing their documents might want to rethink exactly how publicly
available they want to them to be.

Google on Thursday wrote in a blog post that "in about two weeks, we
will be launching a change for published docs. The change will allow
published docs that are linked to from a public Web site to be crawled
and indexed, which means they can appear in search results you see on
   and other search engines...This is a very exciting change as your
published docs linked to from public websites will reach a much wider
audience of people."

"Marie" of Google was quick to note that the crawling for search
results "only applies to docs which you explicitly publish using the
'Publish as Web page' or 'Publish/embed' option, and which are linked
to from a publicly crawled Web page" (documents for which users choose
only to "allow anyone with the link to view" will not get crawled, she
wrote, adding that users can unpublish documents they wish to remain

Some users of the search giant's suite of online productivity
applications expressed concerns about the plan, suggesting obvious
labeling of potentially crawlable documents, spreadsheets, and
presentations. For example, how would you know definitively if your
published document has been linked from a publicly crawled Web page?
Is the only way to ensure that your published document does not
ultimately show up in search results to actually unpublish it?

As noted by The Register, "Google Apps master view does not tell you
which docs are publicly published and which aren't." While it may well
be obvious to most users how publicly available their Google documents
are--and most of those documents may well be intended to be as
publicly available as possible--this seems to be another area where
Google needs to find the right balance between transparency and data

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