The controversial Google Tips seem to have been pulled after stirring up a bunch of bad press about Google’s use of its search result landscape. Google was suggesting its blog, calendar and photo offerings over better and more qualified products.
Firefox’s Blake Ross first brought the controversy into the mainstream:
Google is predicated on the idea that the democratic structure of the Web will push the cream to the top. Search for “photo sharing” and you should already get the highest quality services. According to Google, Picasa is not one of them. These “tips,” then, can only be a tacit admission of failure: either the company does not believe in its own search technology, or it does not believe its products are good enough to rise to the top organically. I’d guess the latter. And if I were on the Calendar, Blogger or Picasa teams, I wouldn’t be celebrating the news that my employer has lost faith in me.
Matt Cutts then chimed in and gave his two cents worth on his blog:
If a Google searcher types in [picture] or [hard drive images], offering a tip to use Google Image Search makes sense to me because it tells a user that they should try image searches instead. Image search tips have been running for quite a while and users generally haven’t objected.
But everyone will have different opinions about what is fine or problematic. Here’s why these recent Google tips went over the line for me personally: they’re often poorly targeted or irrelevant.
Now it appears, according to TechCrunch and some basic Google searches for calendar & photos, it seems that the Google Tips have vanished (although in some cases AdWords ads still remain).