That's plain ridiculous. I'm not opposed to breaking up oligopolies, but calling for the government to fix this particular issue is like asking to be put under legal guardianship.
DDG, Startpage and such, on the current instantiation, they are proxies to someone else search-backend. Does it serve for you (or anyone) to avoid using Google (directly)? Yes, of course, and that's actually great. Do they fix the underlying problem? No. Not unless a) they are building an independent/autonomous backend, and b) they get so much money that they can challenge Google on the user acquisition.
Breaking up Google wouldn't fix that, and we cannot take all decisions away from users based on the argument that users are somehow manipulated. This is a blanket excuse for taking away any and all freedoms and responsibilities from everybody.
If we regulate Google, it has to be to guarantee a level playing field and to prevent the abuse of a dominant market position. We shouldn't regulate to force certain usability preferences upon users.
They use billions each year to acquire users, even though they are a dominant market share. Why would they do it? They have the users already, and a great product by the way. Reality, however, is that are no really acquiring the users... they are just increasing the price so that no-one else can acquire them and start a "real" competitor.
Wouldn't that (ironically) kill the largest revenue source for Mozilla ?
The market would become competitive again, so if Google 1 started showing less ads than Google 2, people would switch. Right now I'm not switching to Duck for reasons that originate from the fact that Google is a monopoly.
And what are those reasons?
- I'm used to Google's UI (yes, Duck's is similar but I'm sensitive even to subtle changes).
- I would have to change my default search provider on all browsers I use.
- I would have to take some time to verify that Duck is as good as Google.
2. Search quality and features.
- After a quick comparison, Google seems slightly better at search. Another factor is that even if both seemed similar, switching to Duck would give me anxiety that I'm using the worse product because the prior probability that Google is better is high.
- Google has various little features that Duck doesn't, for example search for "pomegranate nutrition" or "trump age".
Google can profitably invest much more into their product than Duck, because they have much more users.
Google's UI also changes from time to time. When that happens next time, use that opportunity to switch since you have to adjust to change anyway.
> I would have to take some time to verify that Duck is as good as Google.
If you start using Duck, and you come across a search where it doesn't give you what you're looking for, just append "!g" to the query to get redirected back to Google. That made switching rather pleasant for me, knowing that the "escape hatch" is only a few keypresses away.
> After a quick comparison, Google seems slightly better at search.
It seems to depend on the person. For technical searches, Duck is usually much better because they embed numerous sources as Instant Answers (Stack Overflow, MDN, GitHub, etc.)
> Google has various little features that Duck doesn't
As has Duck, see above.
I'm serious, they advertise for other people, but nobody advertises for you to use Google.
Who exactly is Google paying for preferential treatment regarding search? Microsoft's default browser uses Bing, Apple's uses Yahoo. Android? Android is made by Google, and most phone manufacturers still swap out the default browser for something using Yahoo.
Google spends virtually no money on user acquisition. Everybody uses them because they have a track record of being trust worthy with email and providing the best search results and tools like maps and even free tools for finding the best flights all for free.
Also, an anti-trust lawsuit would require that they charge their users. Having 90% of a market that doesn't charge its users doesn't make them an oligopoly, it makes them a non-profit.
Does this remain true for DuckDuckGo? I was under the impression that they used to be that way, but that they had switched over to using their own search backend some time ago.
ddg doesn't have date filtering search syntax like google has, for example "before:2018-12-31", they offer only a few date filtering options shown on a combo.
First, they do not hide that they aggregate. It's fanboys that tend to overextend DDG's capabilities, not them (at least for best of my knowledge).
And second, given the resources they have, they are doing more than enough, and they do provide a great service. It might not solve the underlying problem of privacy, but at least it helps protecting the privacy of those people using it.
To sum up, I do not think it's fair to bash DDG for aggregating.
Why is that a problem? Wouldn't decreased profitability be the sign of increased competition?
For instance, Google pays Apple 9 billion/year to be the default search engine (incredible but True). On the account of 20-30% to user acquisition that means that Apple users can be monetized by Google at around 30B/year (9B/0.30). Google is extremely good at monetizing people, right, a competitor might not be as efficient, let's say half. That gives you 15B addressable revenue.
Now the question. Would you pay Apple 10B to gain, at best, 15B? No one that crazy has this kind of money :-) On top of that, who prevents Google to pay 16B next year?
30% APY Seems like a good deal to me!
EDIT: more seriously, you don't start with iPhone. You start outbidding Google on the margins where your budget constraint less a factor.
> On top of that, who prevents Google to pay 16B next year?
Profit margins. Google's budget is not unlimited, after all.
As a site owner you have the problem that people searching for you are using Google and your site will only come up below adds for your competitor. Even when searching for your company name. Thus unless you pay a "Google Tax" (paying for ads) many people won't find you. In some cases even Google themselves will add features to compete with your service (flight booking is a relatively recent example)
If splitting up will solve that is questionable to me, though. The search has to be financed and unless we make it some base service paid by tax or similar they need a revenue service and ads is the only which seems to be working.
From a "civil rights" perspective to me it is also clear that Google has too much influence and power. But still fail to see a good way to regulate that.
So let's not call for a breakup to fix something a breakup can't fix and for reasons that are so obiously bad that they can be used to discredit more serious criticism of Google's dominance.
Really? Breaking up the search unit and the ads unit into separate companies would solve that problem, no?
An option might be that the search provider can license the search results to different companies putting their individual ads on topmofnthe results. Then different sites could compete for the the best dispaly and usability.
Similar to the way elictricity grids are split from providers or railway tracks are split from train operators in many European countries.
Issue of course is that with electrical grids and rail networks are a "solved" issue with little innovation. In the search market there is still lots of room for improvement and constant need to adapt to spamers.
I think the common suggestion is that they're not allowed to continue to own the content providers like maps or YouTube or shopping.
Other suggestions include stopping them competing with other aggregators like hotel ratings (TripAdvisor, etc.), shopping, flight finders, review services (yelp, etc.).
The 2nd one is a bit trickier because in some ways, it's valuable to users, but extremely easy for Google to essentially become the landlord of the internet and easily engage in extreme rent seeking behaviour.
It obviously won't; splitting search from ads as businesses wouldn't change that people aren't willing to pay for search and the way that free search, like most other free online services, is funded is ads. It just means that the vendor you pay for ads won't be the search engine provider directly but the ad network the search engine provider relies on, just as is the case for many other online services.
For instance, Josh Doody, the author of “Fearless Negotiation”, has been interviewed on six or seven podcasts that I follow.
How many companies have gotten popular by advertising on podcasts? If your entire business model is based on search results, you are bound to be disappointed. You are just one algorithm change from being made irrelevant.
Where is the violence in Google's behavior ? They offer a private service, and their good spaces are of high values that companies are ready to pay for to maintain their own market dominance.
If we should break up Google, then we should also breakup Basecamp (company behind the original author's tweet)
Before: few people find you
After: more people find you
Google is providing a "low" quality service but they do help. The before and after makes it clear. But it's easy to forget how things were and just complain.
After: less people find your competition when searching for you
The issue is that coupling search and ads violates the expectation of "First result = Best result". Especially when A direct 100% fit can be replaced by a competitor (or even a parasite (in legal terms)) targeting your users.
If a company is ready to pay to be displayed first, then so be it
It is for you and I, but not for the average user. My grandpa clicks on sponsorized links because they are at the top, no matter the presence of the word "ads" or "sponsored".
It would be a lot clearer not to have ads at the top but elsewhere, so that the “best” result is always at the top.
Now, one issue here is that Google the search engine cannot be "just split".
The least good, but easy way, is probably to nationalize it (since it's akin to basic infrastructure at this point.)
A better, but harder way, is to figure out how it can be decentralized...
I’m sure there would be just as much consternation from Democrats if the situation was reversed.
It also encourages giving “both sides” equal weight whether they deserve it or not.
The whole point of Google is to be a centralized entry to the decentralized Web.
Are you seriously saying a company worth north of $300 BILLION needs ads on their search engine to generate revenue?
Whereas duck duck go proves that a search engine can operate successfully as a startup.
A search index is not simply a function from search string to results. Treating it as such would oversimplify the potential value or future innovation of a search engine. A search index includes the data and metadata of all the pages indexed, plus derived data in various forms ranging from data structures to trained neural networks, plus sufficiently fast access to the data to make it possible to generate new such data structures or train new networks. And all that while continuing to index new pages as fast as possible.
A search index used internally by one company can change formats and technologies as long as the products using it have updated accordingly, and can provide many different facets of information. A search index used by multiple entities (likely competing entities) can't easily co-evolve with the search engines using it, can't easily change formats or technologies, can't easily discard older ones (and thus needs far more resources if it innovates), and has a much more difficult time providing previously unanticipated information.
Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see a good way to support innovation on the scale of a production search index without requiring billion-dollar infrastructure, but separating the search index from a search engine would substantially increase the complexity and expense of both, and seems quite likely to curtail innovation.
That's because it's being done in an extremely wasteful way that isn't really necessary. Proper regulation could enforce a better interface between websites and search engines than stupidly and repeatedly crawling bloated web pages and throwing away almost all their contents. Google has used its computing resources to stay ahead in this game and has no motivation to fix this waste of time and energy. All they've done lately is to suggest using sitemaps for dynamic web sites so their crawlers don't get stuck there forever.
Edited for qualification.
Nothing is stopping them. But they wouldn't have the monopoly on ads to cover them if their results are of bad quality.
I'm not seeing how anything would change. Google search and whatever other google branches will continue working together so it'll essentially be the same thing but with a different legal structure to appease everyone.
I mostly avoid it, but that's because I mostly avoid any Google service. All of them are bundled and I don't want some AI misstep to lock me out of the few of their services I care about. At this point some forced unbundling would bring a huge trust benefit to Google.
But anyway, it is very clear that the bundling of Google's monopolies on ads and search are a huge barrier to innovation and competition on both of those.
I’m guessing that’s the point at which we pivot back into ‘Oh noes, Google closes every unprofitable service’
Google providing these services is contingent on them being linked together, both for Google and for the user.
They charge phone companies billions of dollars for the use of Maps. That's why Apple made their own version. It's not exactly a cash cow, but they're not providing it for free either.
 eg. https://developers.google.com/maps/premium/overview
It has taken Apple billions of dollars and over five years to get anywhere close, Nokia built an actually pretty reasonable Mapping solution and had to more or less give up the ghost due to the expense.
Validating that the routes on the map actually exists and continue to exist more or less requires access to mobility data from every street, walkway, nook and cranny on the planet.
Any mapping solution able to achieve the requisite scale will run into exactly the same issues with data centralization. Who exactly do you see entering the market?
Google doesn't just have a perceived monopoly. Or perhaps monopoly isn't the right word, but I also can't think of a better one. It is about its pervasiveness and presence on too many markets at once, coupled with availability of too much data.
None of those five companies you vaguely hint at might themselves be a better basket on their own but they are at least five additional baskets. Removing a service from the most pervasive company is a win in itself, IMO.
It's precisely the pervasiveness and availability of the data that drives the quality of the mapping service. I'm curious as to how you think you can have one without the other.
Smartphone OS and location reporting feeds location data in which improves and validates the maps
Fact that other services are tied to the maps drives usage of the Maps themselves, increasing their quality further
Other companies, like Nokia, have tried to create a business from Maps without the install base
Apple has the install base and after five years billions of dollars is approaching a usable product
Wouldn't say Nokia's approach was a complete failure, but to pretend the quality is anywhere similar is delusional
Certainly you aren't going to be able to create a decent Maps service without centralizing and processing an enormous amount of data
Do you think it would be impossible to have well-made maps without Google? Do you think Google's wide and heterogeneous basket of unrelated products and services is a necessary requirement to produce well-made maps, such that no company without it couldn't hope of achieving it?
For instance, would the quality of Google Maps be appreciably decreased if Gmail was moved to another company? My position is that no, it would not, so that would already be a win. I think a lot of services could be shaved off in this way without loss of map quality.
On the other hand, if Google's map product is superior to everything else by such a large margin, then certainly it is a viable product in itself because people still need a high-quality map. People would still install this app on their phones, providing opportunity for map validation. Importantly, people could then be asked whether they want to share this data to improve the service, which many would do, I'm sure.
> Certainly you aren't going to be able to create a decent Maps service without centralizing and processing an enormous amount of data
This also seems suspicious if we take it to mean user data, acquired incidentally, from users using other, unrelated services. We already know Google uses streetcars for mapping and in this case, it is a deliberate mapping effort and therefore the process by which it is converted to maps is easy to understand.
But how are we imagining incidentally collected user data (from usage of other services) to improve map quality? Yes, smartphone OS location validates it, in the sense that you may notice something is wrong if people start walking through buildings on your map.
It's hard for me to imagine that there is a hard requirement for the map company to be the smartphone OS company before this can happen. I mean, even if the map was produced by some other company, it would still get used by smartphone owners, providing the same opportunity. If this map was good, it would then get used by other services as well, achieving the same feedback loop you mention.
By the way, I use OpenStreetMaps on my phone and its error rate is about as high as Google Maps on the places I've tried it on. I can't help but how much better it would be if it actually had a lot of money behind it.
Honestly, the turn away from making money from the service itself vs using it as a front for some other, more abstract ploy is where tech has gone wrong in the past couple decades.
1: because it replaced OSM…
No one forces you to stay on Android.
And how would splitting off AdWords be good for the consumer? Do you like paying for your search engine, Gmail, maps, and more?
These services could still all be free because they could sell their ad space to AdWords. What it would mean though is that other email / maps / video services would be able to compete, as would other ad networks.
You would also be better off as a business to build your brand outside of YouTube even if you did use it for hosting.
There would be no need for that in principle, AdWords could buy personal information from google.
(Again, I'm not talking about other issues with Google's market dominance such as those related to AdWords from the perspective of ad buyers or Android licensing conditions)
But calling for government action just because people can't be bothered to use a different search engine that is just a click away discredits all valid criticism of Google's dominant market position.
On what? I genuinely don't see what people think google has a "monopoly" on. It's definitely the biggest player in search and ads, but it's nowhere near the only company. I wouldn't even call them "overly dominant"
As a litmus test I might say that "overly dominant" means that a slightly-above-average member of the audience couldn't name another option, and I don't really think any of these would hold up.
> Also Android, going by market share rather than worth.
Android vs iOS are actually surprisingly close, with iOS winning in the US <https://deviceatlas.com/blog/android-v-ios-market-share#us> (admittedly this is measured through UA sniffing and fingerprinting on websites, but I think the point stands)
If you go with that, OpenStreetMap/iOS Maps and Bing "still exist and are happily chugging along" too ?
In the US maybe, but worldwide Android has 87% market share !
As a reminder, "monopoly" is the ability of being able to dictate your terms to the market - when a company (or cartel) has such a power, the market isn't free anymore.
your alternative suggestion is flawed. ddg shows ads too. actually it shows the same number of ads and roughly in the same manner as google did when it was the same size as ddg today.
the real problem is ad-driven business model which makes all search engines (google, ddg, startpage) advertising companies first. you are what you sell.
Without saying whether or not I think they should be "broken up", there's much more to consider than their search engine.
Maybe they have other different concerns that they think will best be resolved by breaking them up?
For god’s sake, it’s literally their business. It’s not spamming anymore than NBC showing ads during The Voice is spamming. You get something for no out of pocket cost and in exchange you are going to be shown ads.
When I began using it DDG had bad results but results are much closer to google's results today.
Oligopolies like this exist because there is no free market. Government laws on things like intellectual property, profit taxes and most importantly, the limited liability of corporations are the necessary breading ground for organization into giants.
In a pre-corporate "Adam Smith" style free market Google could not exist. In a sense, these giants are the opposite of a free market as every movement of value within large corporations is governed by hierarchical decision making with an almost military scheme.
From this perspective, it isn't all that strange for governments to look into rules and regulations that can tame the beasts that they have created with their rules and regulations.
These type of situations are typically bad for consumers, and there is very much a role for the government to steer the status quo away from this and support Google’s competitors. Whether that’s done by breaking up Google, taxing them more heavily, or something else is up for discussion.
But simply telling people “just use DDG!” and considering that a viable solution to the problem is insufficient.
The only question is how. Maybe Google should be forced to limit the amount of ads they are showing.
Unfortunately it's only a temporary solution.
For one maintaining your own web crawler and index is expensive, DDG is outsourcing that to Bing. They use other sources too, but if Bing shuts down their API tomorrow, DDG will probably die.
DDG's revenue also comes from ads. They might claim that they want to do right by users, but when serving ads the incentive is to optimize those ads to make more money.
Also DDG's work isn't AFAIK open source. But it probably wouldn't help anyway, it's not like you could install a search engine on your own VPS.
I don't think breaking Google is the answer either.
What the US government should do is to introduce privacy laws that disallows user profiling for the purpose of serving ads. The GDPR in the EU is a step in the right direction. The US government should also demand for those ads to be more clearly marked as being ads via color clues.
If users choose Google today, it's either because of inertia or because they find that Google's organic search results are worth sifting through a page of ads.
This is unlike other aspects like privacy where users may not fully understand the consequences of their actions.
I find this a red herring. Ads have never been a problem, the ecosystem around them is the problem.
> What the US government should do is to introduce privacy laws that disallows user profiling for the purpose of serving ads. The GDPR in the EU is a step in the right direction.
This is overly specific; user profiling is also used in recommendations and to develop aggressive and optimized marketing strategies. One of the problem of "Big Tech surveillance" in not what they know about you, but that they know so much about everyone that they can model your behavior/response with little information. (which for example is what happened with Cambridge Analytica)
> The US government should also demand for those ads to be more clearly marked as being ads via color clues.
This feel a lot like micromanaging.
YouTube, Gmail, Drive, Android, G Suite ...
Facebook should be forced to sell Instagram.
Android - it came out in the Oracle case that Android has only made Google about $24 billion in profit from the time of its inception until the beginning of the trial. They have given Apple more money to be the default search engine on iOS than they have made on Android.
Gmail - mail hosts are a dime a dozen. It’s a feature not a product.
Google drive - again a feature not a product. DropBox has lost money since it’s inception and MS gives away 6TB of storage with Office365 ($100/year)
GSuite - not exactly a “monopoly” it’s a distant second to Microsoft.
Office software with the limited capabilities of GSuite is a commodity. Apple gives iWorks away.
Should Apple have been forced to keep selling iPods knowing that the phone would eventually kill their business? Should Microsoft and Google not been allowed to offer cloud services?
Remember Microsoft once had an antitrust brought against it for shipping IE with their OS. Imagine now, shipping a phone to millions, with your browser that defaults every text input to a search string directly into your ad network.
I think to get anywhere, we have to avoid rather than seek these. Digital monopolies are not telecoms or railroads. Policy by analogy is a bad idea.
DHH makes two kinda unrelated claims/observations. One is that Google is spamming, and that this is a sign of monopoly. Like you, I think this is a pretty weak case.
Second, is "pay-to-play." If Basecamp don't buy ads, basecamp's competition will outrank them in search results. Users search "dominos." Google suggests "pizza hut" unless dominos pay. A lot of "advertisers" running campaigns just for their brand name.
This seems rotten, by the very weak, very unestablished conventions of the internet.
There are monopol-ish issues with big techcos across lots of areas (1) EU Case: adwords controls most search ads. Google's search competitors are on unequal terms there. (2) Free speech on social media. FB & Twitter's adhoc policies are becoming the de facto free speech laws. (3) biggest-dataset-wins feedback loops.
All these have sheer size at their core.
I'll qualify that. The system has created vast inequalities of wealth, monopolisation by corporate structures that are too large to fail and helped to create and sustain a climate emergency that will change the face of life on the planet irreparably.
The problem is that Google can use its cross-platform cross-product cross-industry reach to have a significant uncompetitive advantage. A banal example would be Google hassling non-Chrome users to use Chrome, or a link to Gmail sitting at the corner of your Google Search screen. As far as the market goes, that's stealing, because you're getting market share not through competition, but by bypassing competition.
Google didn't become a behemoth in so many markets just because its products are good, but because it had an uncompetitive advantage, which is a cryptic way of saying that they were very big in an unregulated environment and they used that.
I'm not talking about how Google became big, which is a nicer story about a great product. I'm talking about how after it became big it became humongous.
gmail gave 1GB with great email search when the standard at the time was 20-50MB; when it was announced on 1-apr, everyone thought it was a joke. Now, it's not so great - but email is hard/costly to switch, and gmail absolutely was better.
google maps was and still is way way better than the competition (originally bought, was great then, continuously improved). Same with waze.
google search was, and still is, much better.
Chrome was insanely fast when it came out, and had many switching for that; It was only later than the google might helped it become the most prevalent.
Compared to e.g. Microsoft and even Facebook, google made very little use of their monopoly position to become big in many markets, although they do use it to maintain it.
There's only one game in town when it comes to knowing who someone is, where they are, what they are doing, who they associate with and how they behave.
Have fun trying to find real product reviews if the product isn’t sold on Amazon.
Google: can I interest you in page after page of algorithmically generated “review” text and Amazon affiliate links??
There are too many benefits to fake reviews and few downsides. And it's easy to spam these fake comments and reviews especially if you have the budget for a dedicated marketing team.
It's pretty hyperbolic to call Google results a "full page ad". For example, if I do a Google search for "clickbait", on mobile all I see above the fold is a dictionary definition stub followed by a wikipedia snippet. There is actually no sponsored content at all. Even scrolling doesn't turn up any ads.
And yes, of course, there are other types of searches where the first thing you'll see is shopping results, followed by more sponsored results. And yes I hate it as much as everyone else.
But I don't think it's reasonable to say it's an "ad engine".
The amount of real estate devoted to monetization has been increasingly silly for years. It will no doubt get worse. They do have an effective monopoly. It sucks for the internet that this is the case.
But Google is still an impressive search engine underneath all the monetization. One where a huge part of the mindshare at the company is still devoted to organic search. I don't think HN is a place where you can reasonably hope to get away with claiming otherwise.
If I search for "lake district cottages" on Google, the first screen is covered by an ad; scroll down, and the second screen is covered by ads too. The third screen is a featured snippet with a map - I have no idea whether this is paid-for. Only halfway down the fourth screen do I get to a genuine organic search result.
iPhone SE, Safari, standard text size.
A "featured snippet" covers the first page and more. Tapping on "About Featured Snippets" at the bottom of its UI tile tells me a lot of stuff about it, but doesn't say it's an ad; it says they "come from web search listings" and are highlighted "if it would be useful". I haven't known Google to ever be evasive about whether something is an ad or not, so unless that's changed, I'm confident in concluding this is not an ad.
The next thing I see is a tile with a map at the top and three "places" under it, with a way to expand the list via "More places". This doesn't appear to be an ad either. Again not identified as an ad, and I presume these are the most relevant objects from the "places" database that you normally see on Google Maps.
After that, it's a series of tiles, each for a web site that appears to be coming from organic search results. So again, not ads.
In summary, when I try the same thing on Android, I get no ads at all anywhere.
I suppose your results might be different than mine, though. "Lake district cottages" is a term I'd never heard before, and it appears to refer to something in the UK. I'm not in the UK, but maybe you are since you thought to suggest that. (And maybe the ad systems know that and nobody wanted to buy an ad to show to me but somebody did want to buy an ad to show you. That's just speculation, though.)
This doesn't just apply to Google. All TV ads and paper ads will also have to provide a way to obtain this information. It doesn't necessarily have to be accompanying the ads. It can even charge a (reasonable) fee to access that information, but it has to be accessible to the end user (ad viewer). Rationale: consumer protection.
This won't directly solve the monopoly situation, but it will force them to be transparent, and in a long run it will reduce their questionable ads and their revenue. And the consumer is more informed.
Ad buyers work very hard and spend a lot of money to create the best strategy/algorithm and that solution would just let a competitor copy it for free.
Not for search or social ads, but programmatic/display are literally bought by creating a very complicated algorithm with potentially unlimited variables to automatically (programmatically) place bids.
The loudest complaints about Google's ads that I am hearing are generally coming from entrepreneurs who want their company/page to be in the top of search results rather than from people who are searching for things.
They've been rapidly improving, and I found myself append !gj to the query less and less over the past few years. While I might not be able to find what I was looking for within the first few results, usually clicking to the second page get me what I wanted.
No problem for me, unfortunately. See my post below, but these really were my first three after switching to DDG.
- 'debian convert from i386 to amd64'
Should show https://wiki.debian.org/CrossGrading
Any bug report to idx subtitles showing white boxes
Actually using Google now feels like a downgrade. The AMP garbage is just another issue I’ve avoided.
At this point duckduckgo is just as good and less annoying, not because they are crazy good but because they are about as good as Google was in 2009 and because Google has been going downhill meanwhile.
I see this repeated all the time and I'm starting to wonder if I'm the only person who finds DDG results to be much worse. I tried DDG again this week and turned back within an hour.
- I wanted to migrate a Debian 32Bit system to 64Bit. So I searched "debian convert from i386 to amd64". Google's top results are the official Cross-Grading docs from Debian Wiki, whereas DDG points to some outdated private pages and mailing list posts, with the official Debian Wiki not even in the Top10. Completely useless.
- I had the problem that with idx-Subtitles, Kodi would show white boxes instead of the proper text. So I searched "kodi idx white box". Google points to bug reports for my exact problem, whereas DDG shows pages for "fully loaded Kodi boxes" and "Best adult addons for Kodi". Again, completely useless.
- I wanted to build Kodi from source. So I searched "building kodi". Top Google results is the building instruction in the Kodi Wiki, DDG again shows obscure pages for the Titanium build and Steamlink ports.
This is all done in Firefox in private mode, so this is not because Google has tracked my behavior.
[debian migrate to 64 bit][search]
1st result: https://wiki.debian.org/Migrate32To64Bit
[kodi subtitle white box][search]
2nd result: https://forum.kodi.tv/showthread.php?tid=335337
1st result: https://kodi.wiki/view/HOW-TO:Compile_Kodi_for_Linux
Are you sure you aren't over-exaggerating DDG's supposed incompetence?
IMHO, your search keywords gave subpar results for an entirely different reason. For instance, the search terms you chose for your first two examples are overly technical considering the average users of Debian or Kodi. As for the third example, the term "build" is ambiguous because it's also frequently used to refer to binary releases. I was able to find the right results from DDG because I chose keywords that aren't confusing, not because I knew what to search beforehand. It's not so hard.
I really understand making the argument about privacy, , but Search is not the product to target here, it only seems to have gotten better these days, not worse.
Other people have mentioned that your machine can still be tracked via browser fingerprinting despite being in private mode
The breakup resulted in a massive consumer bonanza, as long-distance communications became too cheap to meter. The regional monopolies it failed to address, on the other hand, held back the deployment regional broadband for decades -- and have since used the outsize profits from their lousy monopoly business to eat up many players in competitive markets.
But the imperfection of the breakup isn't an argument for leaving monopolies alone. It's hard to believe that companies like Google would even exist today if AT&T had held their monopoly. What new "Googles" are we missing -- and don't even know we're missing -- because Google subsidized things like Android and YouTube?
Then DuckDuckGo would have access to rebrand googles search but keep its privacy benefits, while other providers could compete on other search value add.
The technical complexity difference between power distribution and internet search is so large that you can't compare the two.
Motivation to keep improving is vital in search. It's a decades old arms race between quality results and black hat algo gaming. And it plays out on a dataset that's always growing, and that growth is always accelerating. If iteration slows down even a little, black hat wins and everyone else loses.
Your suggestion would effectively kill Google, which is maybe the goal, but unless it applied only to Google it would kill the searchability of the internet along with them.
Remember Altavista? It would look like that.
Which is not to say there aren't regulatory answers to Google's dominance. Forcing a firewall between their interests (i.e. search and advertising) would be a start.
Have you heard of startpage.com?
It's literally that.
Essentially it's to Google what DDG is to Bing.
Disclaimer: I live in a third world country.
Now the pendulum has flung in the other direction and people are clamoring to not just break up FAANG, but to nationalize them and put all of their data under government control! It’s absolutely bizarre.
Don't underestimate the EU though, given some of the ignorant tech regulation they've already passed, it could happen at some point.
As Bing has demonstrated, Google's dominance in search is a result of superior technology and a huge lead. Even a company with the resources of MS hasn't been able to do anything but follow behind and create almost good enough copies at each step.
Although to be fair that's what MS has always done so maybe a more nimble company might have a shot some day.
In the near future AI and machine learning coupled with computing advances could be a way into search for competitors if G doesn't get there first.
1. Web browsing is not a "market".
2. (Physical) markets are not intended to "fix things".
3. Google's main strength at this point is its size and amount of computer power. And it is almost impossible (and actually very wasteful environmentally) to build something parallel to that which does mostly the same thing.
I’m not hating, just saying we need to know where we stand in the grand scheme.
I'm not particularly mad about Google putting ads, since the world is waking up and I believe in the future it will be obsolete.
But as I see it, the problem is that all search engines have this issue where the more volume it has, the more lucrative it is to game it. Let's say DuckDuckGo becomes vastly superior and widely used, what's preventing it from becoming another spam machine where SEO is the name of the game.
As I see it, there's no really good solution here. Maybe some open source indexing algorithm and a different search engine for different types of content.
Yes, if it's distributed: https://yacy.net
But nobody wants to pay for anything on the internet /only-half-kidding
In the early days of the Web or even just the public Internet in general the Ineternet was an infrequent pastime. If nobody was using the one telephone your entire family owned you could surf the Web, maybe. Even then you only used your dial-up account to briefly use some of your limited hours per month. Most of the time people with computers were offline.
From my point of view advertising has really ruined the Web and the Web itself has made people less computer literate. People use maybe a half dozen websites and that's it most probably use a tablet. I know back when I had my first PC in the early 1990s you had to be much more aware of configuring it. That wasn't a bad thing it really meant you learned about how the computer and OS worked. Being aware of its operation meant you were able to fix it, and your data wasn't stored anywhere but your PC locally at best on a floppy, or dozen.
I know people would counter with the "free" services we use like webmail, streaming video, search engines. I'd pay for it if they were cheap enough but even then your information would be right back in the hands of a large corporation.
It's to the point now where the Internet is vital for government services. If anything governments are going to have to offer cheap (or "free") Internet access, email, and other basics.
"The goals of the advertising business model do not always correspond to providing quality search to users."
The company ~died when Google started removing aggregators like this from its results (the Panda update) and doing product ads, itself.
The blog is also a lot shorter than the twitter thread, summarizing the issue, and it mentions the source.
I'm not sure whether I'm in favor of changing the link.
So when he says it's "a catalogue with a search engine attached" I think he's exactly correct, but I don't see it as negatively as he does - it's great that the money from Google ads is being used to fund the continued development of one of the most important contributions to society ever (and I don't think it's just for "PR purposes", I think that having the best search engine is in fact the core of Google's long term success, so their incentives are aligned well).
As the owner of a commercial enterprise, I think DHH comes off as entitled and whiny here. The period of time where you could get free traffic to your business from search was a brief historical anomaly. Advertising isn't going to be free.
IMO non-spectrum thinking is one of the largest falacies in thinking and debates in the modern era.
Google has become so important for advertisers that in many cases there is no similar alternative. The percentage of users searching Google is such a high percentage, as well as the primary way people search for product X or Service Y that failing to pay Google can make or break their success.
It’s fascinating to watch. It feels like the aging of any industry titan. First they were innovative, lean, and mission-focused. It seems like they’ve been progressing to a bloated company fully concerned only with short term profits.
It’ll be curious to see where this goes and if they’ll continue to suffer from their own momentum. Maybe we’ll start to see newer, niche, nimble competitors start to pick off chunks of search.
Another super annoying thing is that “filetype:pdf” is full of spam websites with same template, such as “we have <almost exact search term> pdf. Click here!”, while the data sheet I was looking for would be two pages down.
It’s almost like that the content inside the linked results are no longer relevant to what you search for.