I am on Google to find results to my questions - I want the quickest exit and that's what they provide. If they fail to do that they back down trust me, these guys watch "the numbers" carefully.
You: I wish people would build products that successfully compete with Google.
Also you: It's fine if Google do things that stop their competitors successfully competing with Google.
This is literally exactly the reason why anti-trust laws exist - to stop a company who are successful in one area (search, advertising) unfairly dominating other areas (maps, translation) by suppressing their competition. For all you know there might be a map provider that you'd prefer - but while Google leverage their advantage running the premier search engine to put themselves at the top of every geographic search you're never going to find out.
According to you, Google should send users to a strictly worse app, so that it can become better over time? And unless it requires a lot of user data to become a better app, I don't see why it needs traffic from Google to become a better product.
Once it is an arguably better product, then yes, Google should definitely link to it first.
Google Search should list the websites that best match the user's search terms ordered by a fair Pagerank score that doesn't emphasise Google's own properties. That's it. Google shouldn't be making subjective decisions about "site quality" (objective factors like speed, mobile optimization, malware etc are OK..). If I search for "Sunderland" I get 3 news stories about the local football team and the next 50% of the page is Google Maps...
Ok, but define "best match".
> ordered by a fair Pagerank score that doesn't emphasise Google's own properties
Even ignoring link farming (which already ruined a lot of the web the first time around), inbound links to content is a proxy for quality of content, not an actual measure of quality of content.
It's just offloading the subjective part of search quality to the wisdom of the crowd, which often does not work out.
We divide the knowledge and information into disciplines. We create awards in each discipline. If you accumulate enough awards you are offered the option to dedicate your life to the topic without exit strategy. (Quitting would cost 100 million) unless the topic is no longer of public interest.
You get: a house that you must live in, access to research facilities if (applicable), travel is pre-paid for if (applicable), a personal assistant who has to sign off on all of your expenses.
You yourself are not allowed to have cash or a bank account, no vacation and contact with friends and relatives is forbidden unless they can prove they have relevant expertise or are also in such committee.
Picture it, high priest of pokemon go. In charge of ordering search results and designing the portal widget.
No discrimination for artificial humans, we do full robotmancipation.
Data doesn't tell you everything.
They "Go to google, type what they want, google gives it to them."
Sure, you could click on the 9 dots on the top right and select maps for google maps.
But is that always there on every device, on every web browser, whether signed in with google account or not?
Apple has the only viable alternatives to those two, and the only way they are able to distribute them is because they control the home screen of iOS.
That is not my memory. Google maps used AJAX to let you pan around. It was fluid, and really nice. What I had been using up until then was MapQuest, where you needed to click an arrow to move around, with long delays.
Disclosure: I work for Google
It would have been easy to offer kml links and "force" the users into Google Earth. Before it was tinkered into a steaming pile of shit Keyhole was a truly fantastic product, with a lovely community, arguably the greatest thing since web browsers (with picasa & hello as a close 3rd and 4th)
For a web based thing the ajax maps was quite nice but today I really hate using it. The data is great tho and you cant complaint about the price.
Take route planning for example. It use to be that you could fly the route in google earth. A line on a paper like map with a bunch of dots is useful for finding a shorter or more preferable route but after you've made up your mind flying over the road from A to B allows you to drive or cycle without any map.
If the application is installed the search results can include tours. (people made countless illustrated tours that kept breaking with each api update until there were no tours left)
Google could probably embed google earth into web pages if the will was there.
We will see where https://earth.google.com/web/ ends up. For now it loads as if booting an OS but its quite smooth after that.
The other options were just as good, but often you had to pay for them. With Google, you could repeatedly refine the bad results until you found something useful, because there was zero additional cost involved.
Maps had smooth, animated panning and zooming that updated the map in real time without reloading the page. MapQuest and the other major competitors at the time only allowed panning and zooming by clicking buttons on the side of the map, which scrolled a predefined number of steps and reloaded, at least initially, the entire page when you did so.
Google Maps was also less cluttered and used the browser's real estate much effectively. MapQuest was a small, cramped map by comparison.
And when GMaps first started, it wasn’t the beast that it was today; sure it had some nifty UX improvements, but it was nothing close to competitors in the space at the time.
Out of curiosity, what exactly about Maps is unfair? They made money, they invested it in better mapping technology. You could say the same about Apple too, they bundled their Maps application with every iPhone sold which you couldn't even uninstall for a long time. And they had more money than Google too - yet their maps application was and still is garbage.
It just so happens Google Maps is the better product here and has nothing to do with anti-competitiveness. I was in China and I tried using both Apple and Google Maps (via VPN). And guess which one lead me to a wrong railway station?
And even now, having done so, clicking on an address to copy it will take you to a page telling you to reinstall maps to see it...
That’s the part that is illegal and anticompetitive: they didn’t make money from Maps to reinvest to create a better product. Rather, they invested revenue from other different markets for which they are exceedingly dominant, to invest and operate Maps at a loss (I.e. free and no revenue sources.)
Apple did not have anywhere near dominant market share of devices when Maps came out. Antitrust cases hinge on that point. This is also why Bing can get away with many of the same tactics that Google uses : because Bing has very low market share of search compared to Google.
This is patently false, and probably a reflection of the Google bubble you live in.
DeepL is pretty objectively superior to Google, as evaluated by journalists who natively speak the languages it translates in the articles linked on their website. You can find plenty of in depth reviews online, and every one I've read has admitted that it's at absolute worst as bad as Google Translate. Edit: https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/29/deepl-schools-other-online...
Maps is a different story, but there are certainly better options for certain specific needs. I'd like to see the noise-pollution based routing service on HN's frontpage yesterday remade with Google Maps.
Search is somewhat subjective, but I haven't used Google Search in several years and I don't consider an engine that requires me to scroll past page after page of ads — including what amount to ads for services like Google's inferior flight service, that won't necessarily be easily removed by an "out of the box" ad blocker — high quality.
And those are the services you picked. The article has a great little analysis of Google Flights and why "It did not crack the top 10 of Frommer’s 2020 ranking of airfare search engines, for instance" and why the FTC's leaked documents called it out for providing less options. (Spoiler: Up to 80% more expensive flights, when it found flights at all).
Personally I love it. It's so much faster than all the competitors. Further it not covered in ads. I just went to SkyScanner and there's an ad for fried chicken. Seriously WTF!
If you want to screw yourself over for $20 savings, use another flight search engine. I'm quite happy with Google Flights myself and don't need it ruined.
If you think MSFT wouldn’t have snuffed out Firefox and Chrome the moment they got a chance you’re greatly mistaken.
Chrome performed better than any other browser at the time it came out, and was advertised in the most prominent place in the world.
How would MS have stopped it?
I've had the same frustration, so I've written a simple script/app with Tasker (and AutoShare plugin) to select text and translate from DE -> EN. I use it quite frequently to learn German.
Yes, I know some of these are done through a intermediary (often English, but not always). So if you translate Ukrainian → Catalan it probably really does Ukrainian → Russian → Spanish → Catalan. But it can still be helpful to have the options.
Background: I usually find I get better results when I translate from English to a random language X instead of from Y to X -- which is probably because it actually does Y -> English -> X. But I know more languages than Y and English, so it might be helpful to know what the "best" intermediary is, so to speak.
> Google translates the Japanese word "migaku 磨く" (to polish, to brush) to the French word "polonais" (Polish, as in "of Poland").
Meaning Japanese to French must go through English and get confused by Polish/polish.
Learning Spanish right now so I'm excited to learn about this better translator. The very first word I tested was "por favor".
DeepL detected it as English and translated it into Spanish to give "por favor" == "por favor".
Same for "una mas". To be fair, it worked once I properly accented the "a".
I'll be using this for longer sentences instead.
There certainly did used to be competition to Google Translate but Google crushed them by promoting their own services (which came later).
I often see the argument made that these monopolies just happen to have the best software but often those arguments miss how those monopolies had already killed the competition and were now suffocating the market so new competition struggles to rise. This was a common tactic by Microsoft in the 90s too, so it's by no means unique to Google.
When Google started promoting Google Flights and Hotels over other sites, they did not offer close to the best information. In fact, as the article claims, they still don’t. Yet despite that competitors are losing traffic and going out of business (eg. Hipmunk).
It’s not hard to see where this leads over time. The competitors struggle to stay in business or even get the traffic needed to improve their products while Google gets to keep investing and iterating. Maybe in 5-10 years they’ll have a product better than the existing ones, but they’ll also have driven most competitors to obscurity.
For me, speed is one factor of product quality, but result integrity is the thing that I care the most about.
Yahoo was the search engine that crushed altavista, then ultimately bought babelfish and let it rot, all several years before google translate came out.
If you mean “bought Altavista and then squandered it”, then sure, but they definitely never crushed Altavista from my POV.
I've observed similar bad results when looking up information about medications… I feel bad for those acting on that information.
Just like ads, I've learned to tune out that top part of the search result page. Honestly, the increasing noise feels a lot like Yahoo! in 2001.
Not as necessary for home baked 1kg loafs.
I understand this with google and accept it. They can extract whatever information they want in exchange for decent results when I search whether it comes from them or not.
I get gmail, a phone os, a browser, an os, remote desktop and more for free from them. I pay for youtube premium.
The value I get from google is worth it. Everything they provide is good enough and when I want a third party site or information I can get it.
As a consumer, Google offers a great deal.
There are two pain points with google. The first is support, but what can you do when it is free. The second is the rollout of new products and then abandoning them.
I do not run a business that is affected by Google's decisions, though. I understand if you are a company competing in an area google participates it is unfair.
I don't want to cheapen the horror of spousal abuse, but your statements sound exactly like the kind of excuses that a victim of domestic violence makes.
"He only does that when he's drinking." "Google only tracks me when I'm breathing."
I don't think you even realize how you've been trained into a mindset like some kind of circus animal.
Note to self: Never get in a vehicle steered by Google AI.
For instance, let's say that the thing makes you mark images of "toes". If you get the captcha in spanish, it will say imagenes de "dedos".
The funny part is that "dedo" in spanish means both "finger" and "toe". The only way you can distinguish is by saying "dedo de la mano" or "dedo del pie" (which would literally translate to "finger of the hand" or "finger of the foot").
Hence, you click on both images containing "toes" and "fingers", and the freaking thing decides you must be a bot. If you can speak english you'll figure out eventually, but if you only speak spanish you are screwed.
Which makes me wonder what the same captcha would say in French. In French, "doigt", while technically for both toes and fingers, is usually unambiguously "finger", and "toes" is "doigts de pied".
So if the captcha would pull the same joke in French, telling to flag "doigts", I, as a French, would only pick fingers and not toes at all.
The article presents you as some sort of "gotcha" quote demonstrating how Google overturned a core value or something. Yes, Google search results have changed, but what it is now is very much in the spirit of that original value. I searched for something. Google gave me the answer directly. Boom, I'm done. Get in, get the answer fast, get out. I can go back to my life.
You think Google did all the original research and information creation to populate their answers?
And since when do they provide decent attribution and link-throughs to the sources they used, so you can check their graph? Or do you really trust Google's automation of everything to generate accurate results every time?
I think the point is that some are convenient, others aren’t, but they all have prominent positioning. Google is not the best flight search service, yet it’s on top.
As you say, it wouldn’t matter if Google was the best at everything all the time. The issue is that of course it isn’t, and will never be.
Why not accept our abuser, if they protect us from everyone else also trying to abuse us ?
I have used expedia and kayak and kiwi in the past, I've never got a better quote than google flights. I've also never got a better quote from the airline directly than via google flights. Hence my (obviously very stupid) question...
How will you find out about the better alternatives? Are you certain there aren't good alternatives to translate, maps, flights, shopping etc? For any language? I know for a fact that google translate is bad for some ideographic languages and as a result there are competing services that companies have started to use instead (DeepL, etc).
If the competition is better, how will you know? Are you going to dedicate time to hunting down alternatives and testing them out when the Google product is the only thing on screen and it works?
I don't actually want to discover new products by finding their homepages in my search results. when I am looking for something new, I want to read a review in a publication I trust or at least a discussion among real humans in a forum.
The solution as I see it is to forcefully break-up Google, such that these services can have their run as independent companies (Maps, flight search, product price comparison, etc.). This has been done before with big companies (e.g. break of Bell Systems into 7 companies: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breakup_of_the_Bell_System)
The product was so good that people noticed. They were able to take this and leverage this into being search for a really large property, like
Back in the 90s there were lots of search engines. People didn't pick Google because it was hard to switch, they converged on Google because the product was that good - there was Infoseek, HotBot, AskJeeves, Alta Vista, Lycos, Yahoo, Excite ... the list goes on.
It's a theoretical problem to have a significantly better search engine and not find users for it.
Google also had lots of space to improve on its competition when it came to metrics like latency, which paid off. Nobody really has the option to beat them on latency now. That's not really Unfair in any fashion but it is an example of how it would be much harder to dethrone the ruling search engine in 2020.
That's not how I remember things from that time. I started to use Google, because it was faster than dogpile and the other oddly named search engines.
It wasn't a quality reason. There was the expectation that a search for information would take longer than a single click, so a little digging wasn't an issue.
It and especially the more niche google products seem to be provided as a value add to their other services (i.e search in this case).
What a terrible shame...
I use OSM multiple times per week, but I still start GMaps anytime I need to drive somewhere.
They would do fine standalone, either following a path like TripAdvisor or Garmin or both.
Something happened, because a few weeks later it appeared that DDG started getting me results for the current version of Python.
You might want to try to reach out to DDG if you have some improvement suggestions.
It’s miles ahead for me because of tracking etc, but I can’t see how anyone could think the actual search results are better
Similar to Startpage, the base for organic web results is Google, but it also includes additional vertical sources layered in to provide greater relevance.
It also respects literal searches with quotation marks, which is a common gripe on HN.
Still very new, but improving and growing rapidly.
Example search for React.js - https://www.runnaroo.com/search?term=react.js
Existing monetization comes from the new Web Monetization API  standard (through Coil members) and as part of the Brave publisher program.
I don't really feel like I would recommend it.
You could probably argue that ordinary people don't care about quality and they're best served by using the vertically-integrated Google product, though...
And competitors are coming pretty close to other Google stuff, Apple Maps is actually getting pretty good for me right now but mainly lacks the metadata about things like restaurant menus + the flexibility of routing like cheapest train fares or searching by last train and what not that Google has - honestly seems like low hanging fruit. Nobody gets close on search yet though, I've tried and failed to stick with DDG many times now.
Just think about it: where do you think the money to fund development of maps, translation etc comes from? Nobody pays a dime to use these services, so they clearly aren't self-sustaining.
Now think about your own income. Imagine google comes up with some way to provide the same skillset you offer by pouring ad money into researching some hypothetical singularity AI or whatever, and then offering that to your employers for free (in exchange for ad placement in your company's end product), causing you to lose not only your job, but your ability to get any related jobs anywhere.
That's obviously an extreme and highly hypothetical scenario, but it illustrates what anti-trust laws are supposed to stop.
This is why they don't have better competitors. To compete with Google, you have to, out of the gate, and with them as mediators, match or exceed on every aspect of their experience a company that, from the perspective of just about any competitor out there, has just about unlimited resources.
If you do start to make it and gain some traction—again, necessarily often through Google's own services—it is well within Google's power to focus on you specifically, say, by snooping on your data on an Android phone, and make sure to drive you out of the market.
When these sort of comments rise to the top of HN threads, I am at a loss how to interpret the meaning.
1. Does it mean the commenter and HN voters do not care about the issue (e.g., anti-competitive behaviour)?
2. Does it mean they normally would care about anti-competitive behaviour but because they "like" this particular company they do not care?
If the commenter means #2, then it seems like there are some assumptions being made. For example, one assumption might be that if Google is held accountable for anti-competitive behaviour then it will affect the commenter's "web user experience".
However, I cannot see how to arrive at that conclusion. In fact, the commenter states "Build better alternatives and I'm on board."
What if anti-competitive behaviour was an impediment to others seeking to "[b]uild better alternatives"? If holding Google to account for anti-competitive behaviour would remove such impediments, then it seems that the commenter is more likely to mean #1.
The commenter appears to desire the most convenient and quick "service" he/she can get, and is impartial to who provides it. He/she acknowledges that others could build better alternatives to Google. If holding Google accountable for its conduct helps others build better alternatives, this would meet the commenter's needs.
Without further clarification from the commenter, I am going to assume that #1 better represents his/her meaning.
At least for Translate I can wholeheartedly recommend DeepL as competitor.
Does it lack languages? Sure, but the quality of translations seem subjectively better than that of Google Translate - especially for longer texts.
There was a recent HN post about the declining quality of Google search in that most search results seem to be more and more leading to SEO spam. Is your experience with Google Search different?
Naver has super detailed maps of Korea.
Yandex Street View image quality is great in Russia.
Yes. Which one? This page seems full of people recommending DeepL, which is one I can personally recommend for Spanish, and others can swear by for any of the languages it supports. OpenStreetMap is great for more detailed and more frequently updated map data. The article shows how pathetic multiple competitors make Google Flights look https://themarkup.org/google-the-giant/2020/07/28/google-sea... (and it seems the industry rate 10+ other services above it https://www.frommers.com/slideshows/848046-the-10-best-and-w...). DuckDuckGo's search results are as good for me (not everyone), and it invented the instant answer (IIRC), has 2 click dark mode, bangs and other features, and is a good place to find more alternatives.
Surely you don't mean that it's the act of growing into a big company that makes them interesting, but rather that only the interesting ones make it to big companies. (I don't think I necessarily agree with that—I'd think amount of capital is a far bigger determinant—and I would notice that the converse is far from true.) Well, there's nothing wrong with sitting back and letting the market make the decision—but if someone's not there trying the little companies before they get big, then that's a market decision in its own right.
> A startup won't compete well with Google for very long and using one instead of Google feels too much like pandering to a novelty.
Or, perhaps, taking a stance on a matter of principle, about privacy, or about Google's monopoly powers, or, well, pick your poison.
- Google’s dictionary definition.
- A “people also ask” box that expanded to answer related questions without leaving the search results page.
- A “knowledge panel,” which is an abridged encyclopedia entry with various links.
- And a “related conditions” carousel leading to various new Google searches for other diseases.
I don't know, I'm conflicted on examples like this. I see the point the article is going for, but I think it's better exemplified by the fact that there's a lot of advertising space taken up at the premium, top of the page on search results.
This example is not Google advertising itself so much as Google changing the features of the search engine itself. It's not emphasizing its own search results over "organic" search results, it's deemphasizing search results altogether in favor of quick, curated answers. Most of the time I can quickly tell what the "organic" source of the direct answer is.
I like that. Is there a way we could get quick curated answers like this without deemphasizing search results? Is that something most people would actually want? I feel a better point of contention is the number of ads, which I care more about.
Google's monopolistic business practices are the same: they are convenient in the short-term for you, but they are destroying healthy industries. Over time the result won't be something you like.
Amazon—which genuinely used to be a great and reliable shopping experience, and made a bunch of changes that looked user focussed—is a great example of this.
It used to mean "show me web pages related to this input string", and some of those search results were sponsored (ads). Now it's interpreted more as "inform me about this input string" or "please help me with this", like a Siri or Google Assistant (though not necessarily in natural language).
When you view it as a "please assist me" query it makes sense to introduce things like answerboxes, related queries, embedded images or translations, etc. But that is VERY MUCH not "search" anymore.
It's quite possible that most people using a search engine actually want an Assistant, so google's new behavior is ideal for them. But where do you go when you actually want a search engine? You see people complain that over time Google has become worse as a search engine - using it to search for programming topics is definitely worse than it used to be, and its search results in general are often full of astroturfed pinterest or stackoverflow pages.
To you, a software person, search might be to look up and compare a string with a pile of other strings. To non-sw people, it is to look for the correct (abstract or concrete) thing/answer. Why should your definition win?
What it is an example of in my view is Google increasingly attemnpting to keep you on its site by scraping the information from other sites and displaying it.
Originally Google scraped the sites solely to build a better search index.
Yes, here is an example of how it could work: https://www.runnaroo.com/search?term=myocardial+infarction
Disclaimer, I made this website.
That is not correct. On desktop, organic search results take up the middle 60% of the screen with nothing above them. The curated results are in the sidebar.
Edit: To be fair, you're right that on desktop Google could show curated content without pushing search results off the page. It's a lot harder to do on mobile, but I think it's still possible (after all people have pretty big screens on their phones these days).
This is good user experience, but it's the same "problem" that the original article is objecting to.
That is a fair criticism for mobile where the sidebar collapses to the top. On desktop, organic results take up the majority of the screen and the curated results are shown only in the sidebar.
With limited screen space on mobile it is difficult to see multiple sections of results at the same time. The only change I could think of would be to adjust the CSS so that the sidebar collapses bellow the organic results.
But on “a way we could get quick curated answers like this without deemphasizing search results”, one way to start would be to offer some instant answers as tabs next to the ones for images, news, videos etc., like the “Meanings” and “Definitions¨ tabs here https://duckduckgo.com/?q=boogie, some down among the organic results like the videos here https://duckduckgo.com/?q=how+to+exit+vim, and on wide screens, some as side bars like the SO one at that last link.
Let's have Google show nothing but quick answers, nothing but their own info boxes etc.
No search results, nothing external.
That way, anyone looking for any other results HAS to leave Google in order to find anything.
And Google can pander to the percentage of people who honestly don't know or care that there's a web.
Are there enough of us who would avoid Google if we knew 100% that we would never see a reference to anywhere outside of their own properties?
I get your point about structured data laying it out on a plate, so to speak.
As a consumer, this is great.
As a small business owner, I'm not very concerned about Google usurping pieces of my site into a widget. If the entirety of a business/site can be replaced with a free single-action widget, it's probably better for the consumer to do so.
If I were a big business (Expedia, Yelp, etc) affected by this, I would be more concerned about improving my product than a competitor simply copying functionality.
Google maps might be a good example, MapQuest and Terraserver used to be better for navigation and satellite photos. Did they fail because of business reasons or self promotion? Hard to know, but Google pulled the same shit as MS got antitrust for. Bundling their own maps app pre-installed on their dominant mobile OS
How is promoting equivalent to classic monopoly? They are not removing competitors from search results. They are ranking based on relevance and apparently users are happy with their own widgets coming up on top.
For example here's a reddit post I made from 6 years ago showcasing a search for 'mac shortcut screenshot' https://www.reddit.com/r/google/comments/1ou4i0/a_search_for...
It's extremely clear, and results in minimal cognitive effort in parsing the result.
Here's the result now: https://i.imgur.com/A726Dhw.png
There's so much more cruft:
- 4x low resolution screenshots which I initially thought were related to ads
- An extra URL
- Multi-step instructions
- Lots of extra words
- Bold formatting has been applied inconsistently
Seeing the text: "Command + Shift + 3" in big bold letters was great, but it's now changed into something else.
- The new snippet might be more useful to a majority of the people searching. It shows you the keys on the keyboard, it explains how to input it instead of relying on knowing the shortened notation, and it tells you where the screenshot will go. Since I don't use a mac myself, I feel like I've learned more from the latter than from the former.
- As you can see in the other reply to this comment, the new info box can pull info from any page with a numbered list of instructions. I don't know how the earlier info was extracted, but if you're going to pull out instructions like this for more queries about more complicated tasks, then it's better to be consistent, even if it could be expressed in a single bullet point.
I also find it funny that the source link is far more prominent in the newer rich snippet, even though a lot of people in this thread are saying they've made it harder to find.
devtools capture element screenshot
It has listed the exact instructions on the search results page: https://i.imgur.com/NTdDjZY.png
Can I get an outsider perspective, are those 4 list items shown in the rich snippet too many? Is it too wordy? I'm wondering if a single item which said:
Search for screenshot in the Command Menu (Cmd + Shift + P)
Would be better?
Although I prefer the second (wordier) example in OPs case anyway.
There are times when I want a specific piece of information as quickly as possible and with as few clicks as possible, and other times I’m doing more exploratory searches, it seems google lets me do both pretty well.
But if Google AI were really as bad at replacing simple grep they wouldn't be popular, etc etc.
Taken to the extreme, Google would be very happy to keep a copy of every website and only let you browse the internet on its terms in its walled garden. We're already heading there with AMP. Do we want to sacrifice a couple of seconds of our time for that?
Quite the opposite, they said the goal was to organize and present information. The goal has always been the most relevant information given the query. Early on, that pretty much always meant a web page. More and more, they already know the answer and can present it with a better UX for the user.
Why should they be required to be a "pure" index of web pages?
(#2 was "Gogle")
Given that Chrome is the new IE, I wonder how long (or ever) until they see competitors' brands in their popular search terms.
I'm not saying that I support Google's idea, just to point out a phenomenon that exists.
I'm not sure that these marketplaces / demand owners should be able to as they wield unfair power vs other vertical specific offerings.
- The "rich results" do indeed save people a click
- Some of them are excerpts from sites crawled by Google (that will tend to now be the 2nd result) that the user will no longer click on
- Google's query disambiguation is the best in the business
- They'd had a history of piggy backing on external resources and then turning them into their own, e.g. DMOZ, now wikipedia. I'm sure their knowledge ontology will soon render Wiki obsolete and push them down a result also.
- They've taken some verticals and halved the number of clicks competitors or "price comparison" sites previously got, albeit it's their search engine, they lay it out as they see fit.
It's changed a lot since the "10 blue links". Most of us probably used to think of search engines as an agnostic finder of information on the web, with ads on top. Now with "query intent" and monetisation - the temptation is too much and it's not so much about finding information "out there", on the web.
Because of the position that Google is now in wrt their dominance in search markets and to the extent they can monetise a query, no one else can match their revenue per user or find alterative avenues of traffic that are comparable to their portal (i.e. Google in the UK commands 95% of searches, 80% of ad spend is between them and Facebook). If Google decides they want to enter a vertical, it's hugely detrimental to others in that market. Someone who ranked #1 10 years ago would get 50% of clicks, IIRC it's closer to 20% now, because of all the other media on the page.
But in the end, there are other choices. The problem is that due to the monetisation Google is capable of (based on a lot of data acquisition about their users), it's hard for anyone to carve out an alternative. Particularly so when Google pay phone vendors and browsers for them to be the default engine, it's a perpetuating cycle.
My personal ideal would be 5 or 6 independent search engines, with a number of meta engines built on top of those independent data sources;algos. Purely for the sake of getting alternative points of view and perhaps past any filters or bias.
1) Doesn't it make sense for them to do that? After offering the search engine for free for ages (not that paid search engines are a thing) and playing an important role in building the internet? For most, all the internet they know is thanks to Google
2) Wouldn't you do the same? Keep in mind they're a public company and we know how incentives are aligned when you're a public company
I’m no google fan but I don’t think evil is an appropriate word nor would I call them a monopoly when it comes to search. There are plenty of other options out there from all over the world, the fact that they aren’t that great isn’t googles fault (and it would need to be for them to be considered a monopoly).
There are lots of great search engines. But when Google has the largest share of web analytics and can literally track you around the internet, how can other search engines who respect you as a user even have a chance? Give search engines a level playing field. Google is the default search engine on the most popular web browser. Google is the default search engine on the largest mobile operating system. Please stop defending Google. They have a monopoly on search, and its time for them to get the MS IE treatment.
Again, I stay away from google for privacy reasons but just because they don’t respect privacy doesn’t have anything to with monopoly status. You can argue for privacy protecting legislation against google but again, that has nothing to do with monopoly status. Other search engines could choose to track you as well. That is a business decision not unfair advantage.
It'll be very challenging to win a serious court case where the Google search monopoly could be conquered by a user typing bing.com at the top of the screen. Never before has a 'monopoly' been so easy to stop using.
Citation? For one, I don't think Facebook uses Google ads.
It's the other way around, for these and other such shennanigans by other such megacorporations colonizing our protocols (rather than "building the internet"): yeah, it might make sense for them, in a selfish, short-term, myopic kind of way, but it harms the greater good. Apart from making it rather deplorable how they ate/eat chalk to get their foot in the door.
> For most, all the internet they know is thanks to Google
How so? Because most people "just google things"? You might as well say all the internet they know is thanks to whoever provided the electricity at the time.
People who make good websites made the interwebs something to flock something to in the first place, even though hardly anyone in the real world cared or knew about the web. These days, everybody is on the web because everybody is on the web, and people share workarounds for the latest corporate BS, and "hope" they will "listen" etc. That there are people for whom that's all they know doesn't mean those should be catered to.
*not that this was your point
They then did a version of Hotmail with a worse GUI, but virtually limitless disk space.
Google just poaches talent away from more deserving companies, and puts it to work making their products a little worse every year than they were the year before. I'm not thankful for Google. I'm sad because they stifle progress.
which role would that have been? internet was fine before google streamlined the web.
search, youtube and maps were great additions to the web, but i think most ppl here can share the mixed feelings about bringing the masses on the web.
4) Shouldn't we, as members of a democratic system of government, be concerned that this has become the case? And express that concern to others in order to spread understanding and continue the democratic process?
5) Isn't it strange how Hacker News comments so often take the position of large companies, as if those individuals aren't going to suffer from a small number of multi-trillion dollar companies ingesting entire industries in the long term?
I would very much like Google to experiment with new technologies and services (translate, flights, etc.) but I wish they'd spin them out as separate services and have them pay for placement in search results or fight it out for SEO placement.
As it stands they can launch mediocre products that do well as the new products get "free" premium placement.
They are in enterprise, but I digress
There isn't any point being fearful/hateful/etc about stuff that it doesn't make sense for someone to do. If someone is acting against their own self interests it makes sense to speak persuasively. And they will likely stop doing it in time even if left to themselves.
It's right here! http://infolab.stanford.edu/~backrub/google.html This was who they were and what they believed! Check out Appendix A, it's entirely about the mixed motivation of funding a search engine with ads.
Yet not only did they make an ad company that has a search engine, they increasingly made their ads less distinguishable from organic results over time. Big highlighted yellow boxes have become search results with a tiny Ad marker hidden in the paragraph. Because deceiving people into clicking on ads is more profitable than getting them to the best organic result.
When DoubleClick was bought they promised they'd keep the data separate to get the acquisition approved. Once it happened, they merged the data. Now they're saying the same about your Fitbit data...
Yes, the entire concept of Google is against Larry and Sergey's original paper on the matter. They sold out, and college Larry and Sergey would be ashamed of their present day counterparts.
So if you look at the Appendix example below,
> A good example was OpenText, which was reported to be selling companies the right to be listed at the top of the search results for particular queries
...That is actually what Google itself is doing today, in a very real and practical sense. They claim it's different because ads aren't search results, but since users can't tell the difference anymore, the result is the same.
Another example in the Appendix is about trademark squatting:
> For example, we noticed a major search engine would not return a large airline's homepage when the airline's name was given as a query. It so happened that the airline had placed an expensive ad, linked to the query that was its name. A better search engine would not have required this ad, and possibly resulted in the loss of the revenue from the airline to the search engine.
Google does a slightly modified version of this too: It places competitors' ads above the real result for the airline's brand. This means that, in order for the airline to be the "top result" for it's own brand name, it has to pay Google for an ad that Larry and Sergey conclude "shouldn't be required".
If you search for "best buy" on Google and aren't blocking ads, you'll notice the ad at the top is a Best Buy ad. There's no good reason they should have to buy that ad, because they're obviously the best result, the user already knew what they were looking for. But if you want to be the "top result" on Google search, you have to pay for it now.
And we've hit that mixed motivation issue with an ad-based search engine: Google makes a lot of money when you click an ad. It doesn't make a lot of money when you click the organic search results. So Google has a huge incentive to make the ads look like search results, which is why Google search ads now look nearly identical to search results.
Be warned, you didn't care now when they abuse their power against others ,don't expect anyone left to carr when they use it against you.
The way people so casually excuse immoral behaviour, as if we have no obligation to do the right thing, truly sickens me.
They've made a fortune so instead of saying they've "offered it for free" let's point out that they are not a charity. Google became famous for saying that they will list the best SE when ranking, not Google properties or ads.
>>and playing an important role in building the internet? For most, all the internet they know is thanks to Google
Even if you said is true, another one would have done what Google did. By the way, internet as we know it today, would have happened without Google. In fact, MS and Apple did a LOT more for the internet...a computer in every home and all.
I use google translate and maps and images all the time, so them showing up at the top of the results page isn't inconvenient for me, but sometimes when I use them I get results that are actively bad and I have to go seek out other services. There are probably many cases where I get bad results and am not informed enough to recognize that the results were bad!
An internet without search engines was an internet without SEO, and without vast fortunes being spent on manipulating content to sell garbage. Launching "Backrub" in that environment must have seemed like an unalloyed good, but the very act of launching it turned out to have a profoundly negative impact on the web as a whole.
When doing a search on travel, what are the odds you get not-garbage in your results? Compare, say, 2000 to 2020. I can see a scenario in which Google was committed to providing open results, but those open results slowly became garbage, and they felt compelled to launch their own tool to ensure good results.
And sure, it puts profit in their pocket too, of course.
But I find this focus on Google's supposed moral infractions ridiculous. And then competitors popup that have a strictly worse products user-wise, but want to win by claiming higher moral ground. They don't fix any of the issues. I just don't see any of that taking off.
To date, I have not seen a single search engine that actually does something significant better. Not only that, pretty much all of them fail miserably for anything more specific. This tells me Google is still absolutely on top of their game.
I like these widgets. Sometimes I even get annoyed when I WAS expecting it to popup but it wouldn't.
Weird example to use in a screenshot since everything they show is a link to an external site.
Because I see the issues with this. I also think those information have a value for users.
Let’s not forget how google reader and blogger were killed. The greater idea is to not remember anything and to go directly to google each time, making them the sole source of content.
Sometimes when I'm looking up stuff on how to do things physically like how to install a part in a car or fix something in my house I'll get a YouTube widget at the top which will take me to the exact moment in a video where what I'm looking for is being performed. This is magic to me. However Google is definitely promoting themselves in this case and I might not go anywhere past the very top of the search results page. Is this a bad thing?
And an impressive website for a publisher. The average publisher is full of advertising, calls-to-action and several MBs weight of external scripts. This one is so simple, fast to load and clean. Congrats!