Google employee Matt Cutts returns to UK

By Christina Olgiate

[email protected]

Matt Cutts, the leader of Google’s webspam engineering team, was inducted into UK’s Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame on Friday.

Cutts attended UK while also working for the Department of Defense as part of UK’s co-operative program. He graduated with degrees in computer science and mathematics in 1995.

After graduating, he went on to receive his master’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

He began studying computer science but quickly became interested in information retrieval and search engines after taking classes in the information and library science department.

Cutts became one of Google’s first 100 employees in January 2000 as a software engineer. He started out working with the ads engineering group and was assigned to create a family-friendly version of Google. This became known as SafeSearch, Google’s family filter.

His job was to filter all of the information retrieved when using the Google search engine. Cutts’s biggest task was to filter all pornography coming across the search engine.

Cutts said Google’s mission is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

Through his job, he gained his nickname “porn cookie guy” for handing out his wife’s homemade cookies to any fellow Google staff who could still find pornography in the search results.

SafeSearch was a success for Cutts and he continues moving up in the company. He now works with the search quality group at Google to keep the most relevant and important information at the top of the results on the search engine.

Cutts came to the Student Center on Friday morning, prior to his induction, to talk with the UK community about his achievements.

After briefly discussing his background and work involving Google, Cutts opened the floor to questions from the audience.

“Cutts is a very insightful speaker. He has a way of talking to the audience in an intelligent and humorous fashion that kept me entertained throughout the whole presentation,” said sophomore Kylie Sheehan.

He talked about the ways spam attempts to make its way to the top of user searches, starting with websites using expired domains.

Spam websites use expired domains of popularly searched sites, putting their new information on the pages and immediately gaining the popularity of the old information. They can rank high in user searches without actually being information of high demand by using the reputation of the former site.

His work with this idea of using historical data to identify links as spam put Cutts on the list of co-inventors for the Google patent related to search engines and web spam.

Cutts spoke about writing algorithms to cut down on the spam from more than 30 trillion URLs on the web.

The search engine’s team works hard to stay moral and keep users coming back to them. Founded in 1998, the search engine has worked to create a useful program in a short period of time.

Cutts talked to the audience about the different parts of Google, such as Google Maps and Google Plus and how they were put together and operate. He talked about suggestion searches and how they form from other users’ most popular searches.

Cutts answered questions about writing code, hacking computers, “Google bombs” and social media.

“It’s inspiring to know that someone with so much success went to the same school as me and is still such a down-to-earth guy,” Sheehan said.

Cutts gave advice to the audience about modern hiring strategies at Google and what to do now to make yourself stand out when looking for a job in computer engineering. Cutts also mentioned the newest projects of Google, including Google Glass and a self-driving car that has been in the works for a few years now.

Matt Cutts was among four to be inducted into the hall of fame on Friday with James C. Duff, Susan Abbott-Jamieson and Louis Swift.

Cutts joins the current 30 alumni and 6 emeritus faculty Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame members.