Google has removed a direct competitor, Thunderstone Software, from its index. Thunderstone markets an enterprise search appliance that competes directly with Google's own appliance. Neither Yahoo! nor MSN have blacklisted the company. As of Monday, 05 September, the following queries yielded no hits from Google for the Thunderstone website at thunderstone.com:
- Thunderstone (live) (05 Sept, 2005)
- Thunderstone appliance (live) (05 Sept)
- software site:thunderstone.com (live) (05 Sept)
- Thunderstone -- Yahoo (live) (05 Sept)
- Thunderstone -- MSN (live) (05 Sept)
In theory, Google could have removed thunderstone.com for spamming the index, but that seems quite unlikely (Technorati shows a scant 12 links to thunderstone.com). At this writing, Google has not yet responded to a request for comments. I've never cottoned to conspiracy theories and don't believe in any future Google-led dystopia, but it's chilling -- dare I say "evil?" -- when a public search provider de-indexes a competitor of its enterprise product line.