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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: 4, Interesting) by Snort on Wednesday June 22, @02:13PM (2 children)

    by Snort (5141) on Wednesday June 22, @02:13PM (#1255353)

    The reason that term leads google searches is that the native reddit search function is next to useless. The first bit of advice people on reddit give is to not use it and use googles with the site limiter or just tag on reddit.

    The have enough traffic that it is skewing Google's own reporting.

    Isn't this just evidence that sites neglect/ignore search and offload that to Google, who wants it that way.

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by tangomargarine on Wednesday June 22, @03:54PM

    by tangomargarine (667) on Wednesday June 22, @03:54PM (#1255384)

    The reason that term leads google searches is that the native reddit search function is next to useless.

    In my experience this is the case with about 80% of all websites ever. Usually you have a better time finding something by just doing a Google search on it than the built-in one.

    One of my favorite examples was a page on this game wiki [] I use called "Kyliga Bollar", or Chilly Balls (including quotes). Somebody had gotten cute with the name of the page, and in the process ruined your ability to actually find it directly...typing either "kyliga bollar" or "chilly balls" in the search field wouldn't suggest it in the auto-complete. "Kyliga Bollar" wouldn't match because the algorithm was beginning-of-string and it wanted you to type the quote mark first, and apparently nobody added aliases for either part of the page name until I complained about it a week+ after it came out.

    (I would've figured out how to add it myself, but you had to include a reason why you wanted to register for a wiki account, and from accounts the active group of editors were one of those fun ones who would get in revert wars over people trying to be helpful in ways they slightly didn't like so I didn't want the drama. (Pretty sure the reason why many item droprates are still unlisted is because at some point somebody decided they didn't have enough significant digits and deleted everything with less than 3, too. I don't care whether it's 15.01% or 15.00%, but I need to know it's *somewhere* around 15%!))

    "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @06:20PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @06:20PM (#1255421)

    Amazon is the worst offender, for me. It feels like ebay is the last place that actually tries to search for what you actually searched before just shoveling whatever it thinks might be related at you.