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posted by hubie on Wednesday June 22, @12:20PM   Printer-friendly
from the I've-got-a-secret dept.

Over at The Atlantic, Charlie Warzel wonders if Google Search is becoming a victim of its own success:

In February, an engineer named Dmitri Brereton wrote a blog post about Google's search-engine decay, rounding up leading theories for why the product's "results have gone to shit." The post quickly shot to the top of tech forums such as Hacker News and was widely shared on Twitter and even prompted a PR response from Google's Search liaison, Danny Sullivan, refuting one of Brereton's claims. "You said in the post that quotes don't give exact matches. They really do. Honest," Sullivan wrote in a series of tweets.

Brereton's most intriguing argument for the demise of Google Search was that savvy users of the platform no longer type instinctive keywords into the search bar and hit "Enter." The best Googlers—the ones looking for actionable or niche information, product reviews, and interesting discussions—know a cheat code to bypass the sea of corporate search results clogging the top third of the screen. "Most of the web has become too inauthentic to trust," Brereton argued, therefore "we resort to using Google, and appending the word 'reddit' to the end of our queries." Brereton cited Google Trends data that show that people are searching the word reddit on Google more than ever before.

[...] Google has built wildly successful mobile operating systems, mapped the world, changed how we email and store photos, and tried, with varying success, to build cars that drive themselves. [...] Most of the tech company's products—Maps, Gmail—are Trojan horses for a gargantuan personalized-advertising business, and Search is the one that started it all. It is the modern template for what the technology critic Shoshana Zuboff termed "surveillance capitalism."

The article goes on at length about ruthless commercialism via ever-intrusive ads, constant tweaks to the search algorithm, and how different generations use the ubiquitous search engine.

Google's Ad Business Could Finally Crack Open
Google Allegedly Hid Documents From Search Monopoly Lawsuit, DOJ Claims
EU and UK Open Antitrust Probe Into Google and Meta Over Online Ads

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  • (Score: 3, Funny) by Opportunist on Wednesday June 22, @01:18PM (9 children)

    by Opportunist (5545) on Wednesday June 22, @01:18PM (#1255341)

    I usually just append "-commercialbullshitsite -othercommercialbullshitsite -idiotspostanswersratherthancompetentpeoplesite" to the search query.

    At times, I wonder if there is a limit to the query length.

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  • (Score: 0, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @01:47PM (6 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @01:47PM (#1255345)

    Google was never good, it was faster and had a larger database. They could do that because they made no effort to understand what was on the pages. This makes it a right pain as I don't think they even have the NEAR keyword, do if two search terms aren't immediately next to each other, you can't effectively screen the difference between them showing up together on the page or just on the same page. Perhaps they've fixed that, but I gave up trying, it or using, Google years ago. It's not appreciably better than Bing.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @01:50PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @01:50PM (#1255347)

      I guess they added around(x ) for near, but that's pretty cruddy when there was a keyword for that already.

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @01:57PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @01:57PM (#1255349)

      "google was never good". oh, I'm sorry. please go back to yahoo! and altavista then.
      in the 90s I would search for "quantum physics" and get porn. and then google came along.

      • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Wednesday June 22, @03:08PM

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 22, @03:08PM (#1255368) Homepage Journal

        I'll second that. Google was, and is, better than everything that preceded Google. The fact that Google is growing less useful today doesn't change the fact that everything else sucked when Google was new.

        There is a supply side shortage of pronouns. You will take whatever you are offered.
      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @04:53PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @04:53PM (#1255396)

        That's not a problem I ever had with any of the search engines. Perhaps you should get better at searching. Google is a nightmare compared with better search engines, the amount of work that has to go into crafting a query just do that the search includes relevant info is ridiculous.

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @02:40PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @02:40PM (#1255358)

      Google actually was good, it replaced altavista for me in 1998. I think by 2002 though, they started playing around with ignoring keywords and quotes, inserting irrelevant junk.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @02:50PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @02:50PM (#1255361)

        metacrawler was a good search engine until it went to shit.

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by EvilSS on Wednesday June 22, @04:43PM (1 child)

    by EvilSS (1456) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 22, @04:43PM (#1255393)
    I've found that google will ignore the - terms if it thinks it knows better than you what you are looking for. It will also ignore quoted terms and still give results match similar terms but where the quoted terms are completely missing from the resulting page. It's annoying when you are looking for something obscure that requires using search terms that bring up something else much more common but totally unrelated.
    • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Thursday June 23, @03:13AM

      by Reziac (2489) on Thursday June 23, @03:13AM (#1255508) Homepage

      This problem has been growing ever since quote marks stopped forcing an exact search =including= punctuation, which was back in the early 2000s. First punctuation got ignored, then "common terms" got ignored, then pretty soon even quotemarks would get a "did you mean..." that wasn't close and there was no changing its mind, and that's when I went off to DDG.