Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

This ^ times a 1000.

Google simply has the best search product. They invest in it like crazy.

I’ve tried bing multiple times. It’s slow, it spams msn ads in your face on the homepage. Microsoft just doesn’t get the value of a clean UX.

DuckDuckGo results are pretty irrelevant the last time I tried them. There is nothing that comes close to their usability. To make the switchover, it has to be much much better than Google. Chances are that if something is, Google will buy them.

One thing to keep in mind when comparing DuckDuckGo to Google is that people do not use Google with an alternative backup in mind. When you DDG something and it fails, you can always switch to google.

But what about when Google fails? Unlike DDG, there is no culture of switching between search engines when googling. Typically, you'll just rewrite the query for google. And as rewriting the query is an entrenched part of googling, you are less likely to notice this as a failure. It is this training that's the core advantage nostrademons points out.

This right here is why I don't understand people who complain about DDG's search results. If you simply make the commitment to not use Google, for whatever reason that may be, then using DDG becomes exactly the same process of rewriting search queries until you get the thing you're looking for.

I've been using DDG exclusively since I was a contractor at Google years ago and have never had a problem finding things with it...

I don't necessarily agree. The hard part of search is building the index and differentiating _real_ promotion from the _fake_. There's a lot of SEO manipulation that Google does a good job avoiding.

Webspam is a really big problem, yes. It's very unlikely that you'd be able to catch up or keep up in that regard without Google's resources.

Building the index itself is relatively easy. There are some subtleties that most people don't think about (eg. dupe detection and redirects are surprisingly complicated, and CJK segmentation is a pre-req for tokenizing), but things like tokenizing, building posting lists, and finding backlinks are trivial - a competent programmer could get basic English-only implementations of all three running in a day.

I am not even that good of a programmer and I also agree with you that index relatively trivial. Other major issues, besides fighting spam:

- Hardware infrastructure and data center presence for extremely fast search from anywhere in the world. - Near real-time search suggestion. - personalized search results based on past search + geolocation. - Search to get instant results without having to go to a website.

Just to name a few. Google Search is the gold standard of a search engine, not because its Google or because they have been around for a long time and the brand name sticks (I am sure it helps too), but for the simple fact is no search engine is even remotely close to being as good as google and I have tried them all more of the less and given them shot. They are just not good at all.

I also don't understand the hate towards google being in charge of so many products so many people use, ie, Mail, Maps, Chrome, Android, Docs (to name a few). It's simply because they are damn good at it. If its a crime to make a product so good that people continue to use it, then I don't know what else people are supposed to do. As if we are asking google to make shit products, I just don't understand the reasoning.

It has nothing to do with the number of products, it’s what they do with their influence over the market. See AMP and incompatibilities between Gmail & IMAP, for example.

You concentrating on the literal interpretation of the phrase “give access to the index”. This is non-technical article which didn’t go into details, just read it as “give access to index & ranking”.

> Google simply has the best search product.

The best available doesn't necessarily mean the best possible. And Google is far from it, and it's getting worse, not better.

I've definitely noticed a decline in quality from Google results over the past few years in particular. I don't know if that's because SEO has gotten control of the results of if Google's algo is shoving lower quality up higher for revenue but it's become difficult.

Using a bit of Google-fu I'm usually able to find what I need quickly but it's still more of a hassle than it used to be.

There's exponentially more background noise than there used to be

It's easier to return the most relevant 10 results when there's only 10 thousand options than when there's 10 trillion options with 10 thousand new ones created every day.

I work at Google but not on Search.

My guess is that it's because Google Search now also has to cater to queries from Assistant. Being required to handle web, mobile, and assistant probably necessitated tradeoffs in quality of one over another.

More generally I feel like as the company gets bigger it just gets much harder to handle all the complexity and keep things focused.

I don't know why you're getting downvoted, because the quality has 100% tanked over the last few years. I agree that there may be some selection bias between us, but it's at least got some of my normie non-technical friends commenting about it, so it's not completely without merit. I have a couple of theories, one of them is also a warning.

First, I think search results at Google have gotten worse because people are not actually good at finding the best example of what they're looking for. People go with whatever query result exceeds some minimum threshold. This means when Google looks at what people "land on" (e.g. something like the last link of 5 they clicked from the search page, and then which they spend the most time on according to that page's Google Analytics or whatever), they aren't optimizing for what's best, they're optimizing for what is the minimum acceptable result. And so what's happening is years and years of cumulative "Well, I suppose that's good enough" culminating in a perceptible drop in search result quality overall.

Second, Google has clearly been giving greater weight to results that are more recent. You'd think this would improve the quality of the results which "survive the test of time" but again, Google isn't optimizing for "best" results, they're optimizing for "the result which sucks the least among the top 3-5 actual non-ad results people might manage to look at before they are satisfied". So this has the effect of crowding out older results which are actually better, but which don't get shown as much because newer results have temporal weight.

My warning is this, too, which you've surely noticed: Google search has created a "consciousness" of the internet, and in the 90s it used to be that digitizing something was kind of like "it'll be here forever" and for some reason people still today think putting something online gives it some kind of temporal longevity, which it absolutely does not have. I did a big research project at the end of the last decade, and I was looking for links specifically from the turn of the century. And even in 2009, they were incredibly hard to find, and suffered immensely from bitrot, with links not working, and leaning heavily on archive.org. Google has been and is amplifying this tremendously, by twiddling the knob to give more recent results a positive weight in search. Google makes a shitload of money from mass media content companies (e.g. Buzzfeed) and whatever other sources meet the minimum-acceptable-threshold for some query, versus linking to some old university or personal blog site which has no ads whatsoever. So the span of accessible knowledge has greatly shrunk over the last few years. Not only has the playing field of mass media and social media companies shrunk, but the older stuff isn't even accessible anymore. So we're being forced once more into a "television" kind of attention span, by Google, because of ads.

I find the single hardest thing to search for these days is anything more than a few months old on YouTube... They hate older videos, it feels like. Beyond that, I keep seeing suggestions on new content from years ago... it's just weird.

I know it's not google proper, but I'd guess a significant number of their searches are specific to youtube.

I believe they try to put newer content first in order to make a more fair distribution of views. If you order results by popularity on yt, you will see that it uses just an "order by view count desc" (no relationship with like/dislike ratio), which is bad because it keeps popular some not so good quality videos published on first yt years.

Worse still, imho is that it may not be a popular video I'm looking for. I really wish they'd factor in a "I have viewed" for results.

I disagree. It works great for me. Maybe once every few days I will use !g when I can't find something, but I rarely end up finding it on Google either.

I read somewhere that someone used a skin to make ddg look identical to Google. After doing that, they never even thought about using Google again.

Microsoft thinks what they have is Clean UX.....

Microsoft just needs to get their head out of their ass! With the amount of money they have spent- and what they have to show for it- they should should just can the entire Bing team (or whatever they call their search engine team today). Not only have they not sucked- if they just folded - they'd let the monopoly argument against Google ride somewhat.

Applications are open for YC Winter 2020

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact