I covered this at Search Engine Land under the title Google's Matt Cutts On "Will Search Spam Go On Forever" but I thought it was worth highlighting here as well.
Matt Cutts, the head of search spam at Google, sat down with Dan Russell, a Search research scientist at Google, where Dan asked Matt, will search spam fighting ever not be needed - do you have job security? I.e. can Google ever build a spam free search engine or will they continue to have to fight spammers.
In short, the answer Matt gave was that Google is doing a much better job at having a spam free search engine than ever before. But spammers come up with new tactics every day and Google has to continue to build algorithms or take manual actions to prevent them.
Here is the video interview which starts 36 minutes in or so:
Here is my transcript:
Dan: There is this constant Spy vs Spy kind of thing…
Dan: And you're the good spies and then there the bad spies…
Matt: I hope so… Yes.
Dan: So, do you see this going on forever and ever? Or… Do you have job security?
Matt: I would love to automate myself out of a job? You know… What we try to do, is we try to come up with algorithms that will stop the problem at the root. So you don't want to play whack a mole, you know, you don't want to get into hand to hand combat with one spammer who can make tens of thousands of domains. You really want to try to figure out, okay… the technique he is using to rank is X, okay so how do we stop it so that X doesn't work and that will stop that entire class…
Now, in practice, as much as you do, people are coming up with new creative attacks all the time. So we are very much in a… here is an attack today, what's the attack going to be tomorrow?
But I think if you look at the level of spam over the years, it is relatively rare now that you do a random search and you just get off topic porn or you get something that is completely irrelevant or that leads you to a casino when you didn't want one.
So we have made good progress, but think there is still some way to go.
Dan: So you've got job security, he's got job security...
Note: Matt also mentioned this in his Lunch with Matt Cutts yesterday at PubCon.
Forum discussion at Google+.
Image credit to BigStockPhoto