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[flagged] Google as a search engine is becoming useless (coalpha.org)
15 points by Hard_Space 9 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 25 comments





I didn't realize quite how bad it's become until I recently set up a small static site for a relatives two person business.

They had no web presence and a very unique name. The site quickly became the first result for a search on the company name in Bing and DDG. On Google its on page 3, behind all the auto generated business directories filled with google ads. Google has picked up all the Schema.org information from the site and indexed that and is using it in Google Maps.

My conclusion is that Google now gathers information for internal use. But only wants to share that information when it gets paid for it with ad views.


I've been using the internet since the mid 90's, and google since the early 00's.

Google's early minimalism and result quality made me _fanatically_ loyal. Even when google started doing some unromantic things, I stayed the course. The results were just _so good_. I scoffed at bing. Pshawed at duckduckgo, hussled an early invite to gmail, thought google wave was the new sliced bread, and generally viewed anyone who used yahoo as sadly mistaken.

In the last two years I've had so many misfire searches with multiple pages of spam that I've been driven away. Not at first, it's been a process. My first mitigation was to start searching by typing "<my query> reddit" that seemed to up my chances of getting non procedurally generated garbage content significantly.

This method started showing its cracks too so I gave duckduckgo a try. It's been better most of the time. Not as good as google use to be, but way better than google is now. The muscle memory is STILL so deep that about 50% of the time I still type <g><o><backspace><backspace><d><u><down><enter>.

Yes, I know I could set up my browser to search ddg from the url bar. My habits were forged decades ago. Besides that, I use lots of different devices, and I'd rather configure myself than every device.

It's pretty crazy to think the signal/noise ratio has gotten so bad to sway me. It's not looking good when I prognosticate forward from where we are. The protocols are still good, maybe some nerds just need to chisel out a fresh start somehow. I unironically propose we make a web ring.


To be fair to google its an arms race. They write an algorithm, people try and game it. If google sits and does nothing, they get worse over time. They are fighting back, but their strength against bad actors has considerably weakened. The amount of spam in their results is maddening sometimes.

"They might be politicized, and of course have a left-oriented gay agenda" (said for Apple and Amazon). So Apple and Amazon have a _left_ and _gay_ agenda...

Sorry, but I don't think I need to read further after this. Non-sense started very early. Just another foggy-headed guy glorifying his vile into a freedom fighting guise. Same with countless other religious fanatics. Logic is out of the window.

pass


Factually incorrect (there were other search engines before Google), poorly formatted, and quite possibly one of the most egotistical un-self-aware things I've ever read.

"most people, being the mainstream dulltards they are"

Strong words from someone who can't spell.

"algorythm" (twice) ... "migrant crysis" ... "merchantile"

Hypocrisy 1:

"Its a basic logical fallacy, to believe an assertion is true just because others believe it."

"certainly some other people agree with me on this one"

Hypocrisy 2:

"what are you achieving by shouting a few words without PROVING any of them"

Elitism:

"The masses must NOT rule"

Hate:

"The muslims ... Too bad they suck as well."

And this WTF from one of the responses:

"It seems to me that the DNS Server would have a list of all the web pages title addresses alongside the number for the site."

CoAlpha seems to be an explicitly reactionary, implicitly racist, incel-friendly cesspit. Not worth anyone's time to follow a link there.


I did not RTFA yet so I do not know whether what you write here is based on fact or otherwise. What I do notice is that you end your entry with a bunch of labels - reactionary, racist and incel - which tend to be used by people who are guilty of many of the same transgressions as those which you accuse this CoAlpha site of: hypocrisy, elitism and hate. Your reaction would be more convincing had it not been for that last line, now it just reads like the pot who is berating the kettle for being black.

   ...[time passes]...
RTFA, the author named 'purpleduck' has diarrhoea of the typewriter and could have said what he wanted in a few lines instead of a number of pages: Google has jumped the shark when it comes to search. The rest is just drivel and as such this link was nor worthy of its position on the front page.

> tend to be used

Not sure if that's projection or whataboutism, but I also don't give a damn. The site identifies itself as reactionary. It's right there in the name. Likewise, many of its members identify themselves as incels, and the name "CoAlpha" is a reference to the same ideological complex. The racism, while not admitted, is no less obvious. I'm pretty sure anyone reading this exchange would conclude that you are the one with an unacknowledged agenda in offering such an aggressive yet truth- and insight-free defense of such tripe.


But...uh...has anybody actually read the bullshit that guy was saying in the posts? Like..."If some enlightened being can, such as myself, he is the first to accept that others will not get it, but it is only human to be bewildered and sometimes frustrated by the fact. It is the pain of the enlightened. It is a life-long struggle to deal with it. ".

What the fuck dude? Does he really think he is the first and only intelligent person on the planet?


Just skimmed through it but the main thesis seems blown out of proportion IMHO; Google still works very well (read: better than all its competitors), what bugs me a bit is that it tailors result to my previous history hence if I look for something that is different from what Google is expecting from me results won't be _that_ good. There's also to consider the fact that people have learned how to game the algorithm through SEO techniques and that's not a problem with Google itself but it something that could be applied to every search engine (at least with the underlying Information Retrieval theory that we have now).

Remember back in the old days, when there were discussion articles or blog entries in the top results? Those were the best. Of course, there also was a lot of garbage, but it was much easier to find the gems. Now the total garbage and the gems are both hidden. The top results are usually mediocre main stream crap or purchasing sites.

Back in the old days search engines didn't have compete against an entire SEO industry that's trying to game the system, so the results were much more useful.

It seems that Google is losing this arms race.


Imho, if Google adopted a "cheat once, get banned" policy, most SEOs would drop most of their techniques. As it is now, they'll do whatever it takes and if they catch a penalty, remove the most aggressive things and ask for reinclusion. Voila, instantly back where they were before the penalty. If there was a risk to burn the domain for good, that looks very different.

On the other hand, the opinion of many marketers is that the SEO battle is lost, and if you want good placement on Google, you buy some Ads.

Perhaps the fault isn't so much with Google itself, but with its user base. Mainstream is mainstream and if you're making a search engine for the masses, you're going to get results for the masses.

Garbage in, garbage out.

Maybe we should build a search engine that produces results similar to those that Google used to produce when it was less popular. To to that today, it would have to be opinionated.


> To do that today, it would have to be opinionated.

Aye, there's the rub. It's a good example of Goodhart's Law.

"When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure."

The value of a link has changed since Google was invented. In the early days, a link's value was informational. Some human with at least half a clue believed that the destination of a link would be useful to someone reading its source. Now, thanks to Google themselves, the value of a link is mostly reputational. It increases the prominence of one or both pages, even if it's completely useless or even counterproductive for users. That violates one of the fundamental assumptions behind PageRank. Google has no choice but to become opinionated about the value of each link (e.g. detecting/ignoring link farms), but that's almost the same as trying to be opinionated about the content itself. It's hard, and it's subject to its own kinds of bias/manipulation.

I don't think there's really a way for generalized search to recover. I also think that at some level most people realize that, so they resort to more specialized search. For commerce they search on Amazon. For news they turn to Facebook, or to some more purpose- or ideology-specific aggregator. (The latter are even worse IMO, but disclosure: I'm a Facebook employee.) For specific topics they pick one or more "anchors" and search there, or start with Wikipedia if they're totally lost.

Everything else has become interconnected enough that the whole value proposition of a general search engine is weakened, and then their effectiveness has also been weakened ... all because of the incentives Google more than anyone created. Kind of a self-defeating system, in the long term. Some day I suspect we'll have our own agents doing our own crawling to find the information we ask for, instead of relying on a centralized authority to do it for us.


I believe a lot of the problems with Google's results is that they still (heavily) overemphasize links as quality votes. That works fine if people do actually use links to say "look at this", but it doesn't work any more when links just mean "I'm doing this to manipulate google".

What a poorly formulated opinion.

If you want to whine and moan about Google’s Search, I’m sure you can do so around a better article.


I recently went to try to find a blog I'd read a couple of months ago on a site called satcom.guru about the recent 737 problems. I remembered that the blogger had written about MCAS, AoA vanes, and that he was somehow involved with satellite antennas. I punched a bunch of keywords into Google and got a bunch of recent news articles. After 3 pages of those, Google wouldn't give me any more results, and I hadn't found the page I was looking for. No luck on DDG either. It was the #2 result for my query on Bing. I can't believe I'm typing this, but I switched my default search engine to Bing.

There is an old saying that if you want to see the corpse of your enemy all you have to do is sit in front of your house and wait. It worked well for Bing.

I stopped reading after the first sentence

> Before Google, you just had to know the www address of the sites you could be interested in.

Before Google there were other search engines. Remember Altavista? Also Yahoo was a thing to discover new sites.


As for 2018 Google receives over 63,000 searches per second on any given day. That's the average figure of how many people use Google a day, which translates into at least 2 trillion searches per year, 3.8 million searches per minute, 228 million searches per hour, and 5.6 billion searches per day.

People are using Google because it's easy, the results are relevant and get better and better every year (Google release an update to their algorithm every few months)

Google doesn't become useless, it just becomes a better version of Google in early stage


While the demise of search result quality from Google, is a very relevant topic to discuss these days, I find it a bit hilarious that we're using this guy's ramblings as the basis for this debate. It includes gems like:

> Guess the bottom line and the core of my ARISTOCRATIC soul is this: people who work are fucking slaves and inferior to the aristocrat.

> Working is worthless. Creating art is superior. I do the latter. Bless me, and fuck everyone else. Fuck you. You are below. I am an aristocrat since birth, and I wish there were more aristocrats in this proletarian world. The middle class are nothing but enhanced proletarians who think the best thing in life is having money. THAT is the shit of the world. That. Not Trump...most people are the only pronlem in the world, the only thing that makes a man of wisdom puke. The only thing that has no interest at all. Everything else is good. Even pedophiles, being insane, they are interesting. Most people arent, and as such they have no logical reason to exist except to create a background on which the interesting sparklws and shies. The grotesque thing is that the backdrop, in their solipsism, believe they are the protagonists.

I looked hard for signs of sarcasm - none were found. I did however find:

> I want anyone who doesnt think he is a loser to die. He is insane and detached from reality.

Entertaining if nothing else.


Before Google, you just had to know the www address of the sites you could be interested in.

It was terrible. We only had Excite, AOL, Yahoo, Lycos, Alta Vista, Hotbot, Ask Jeeves, and MetaCrawler to choose from.


My anecdata: I recently made a vim config, put it on GitHub, made a blog post, and posted it on Reddit. Googling the project description puts the reddit post on top with no mention of either of the others. DDG & Bing have the github on top followed immediately by the blog and reddit posts

looking at the other threads on this site's forum, this is a very, very bad site and has no place on hacker news. flagged.



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