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posted by hubie on Wednesday June 22 2022, @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, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22 2022, @05:49PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 22 2022, @05:49PM (#1255417)

    Startpage is a proxy to google (a proxy; they don't just use google's index).

    Nearly everyone else uses Bing indexes. As the duckduckgo censorship incident made famous, any censorship by MS in Bing's index also affects the downstream users of that index (MS was responsible for the censorship). Personal experience seems like Bing index is biased toward MS / Windows results for tech searches. When I tried to use duckduckgo, I ended up making a custom search adapter for firefox that auto appended -microsoft -windows to every search to make duckduckgo's results a little less useless.

    Brave uses both Bing and Yandex, and supposedly adds in their own indexing too. I saw pretty similar results to duckduckgo. an alternative to google/bing with their own indexes (supports English UI and results), but with the current war/sanctions, it has occasionally just redirected to (Russian only) I have found useful results via yandex that did not surface with google, but google is better overall.

    Google search really does suck lately, but I haven't found an alternative that is as good for technical searches.

    You can block those shitty affiliate link fake review sites that are the first page(s) of search results when researching products and blogspam sites that just cut and paste other site content using custom ublock origin rulesets .

    e.g.,: [] []

    Or, a dedicated extension (gives you a link in the search results to block a domain and easy list subscriptions, but it is yet another extension with access to your search activity) []

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