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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.

Previously:
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: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @03:27PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @03:27PM (#1255373)

    I'm not going to believe the article over my lying eyes. I've had great frustration with Google ignoring the double quotes, along with other operators.

    Google did use to be good, but they've steadily removed features I used (the archive link in the results was handy more often than it should have been), their results have degraded, and for a while there it wouldn't actually render any search results for me with Javascript disabled (which pushed me to DuckDuckGo, but I'm constantly looking for something better).

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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by tangomargarine on Wednesday June 22, @03:40PM (1 child)

    by tangomargarine (667) on Wednesday June 22, @03:40PM (#1255379)

    but they've steadily removed features I used (the archive link in the results was handy more often than it should have been)

    I just had to look into this the other day when I was having problems with a third-party wiki I use...it's still there, you just have to go into the "..." next to the result and look past 8 square inches of crap to find "Cached" at the bottom, instead of the nice simple version before where it was just "Archived" and one other menu entry.

    their results have degraded

    I'm sure they have their reasons for tailoring search results to the user, but once upon a time back in the golden ages, a Google search was actually reproducible for anybody. I miss that.

    --
    "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @07:03PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22, @07:03PM (#1255425)

      Ah, thanks for the triple-dot bit. I block Javascript by default, and am not going to change that to get search results, so that's useless to me, but at least they haven't eliminated it entirely.

  • (Score: 2) by captain normal on Wednesday June 22, @03:42PM

    by captain normal (2205) on Wednesday June 22, @03:42PM (#1255380)

    Sounds to me like there is a good opportunity for a small group of coders.

    --
    “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Thomas Edison