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Ask HN: Is Google Search Dying?
131 points by shash7 6 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 108 comments
Context: Recently I've noticed that almost every search ends with ' reddit'. This is because msotly everything on google search shows either ads or content farm articles and listicles.

This is also slowly getting into more niche topics too.

Does anyone else feel the same?

Despite the consensus of Google from people who know about alternatives or ways to avoid it, Google is still the most mainstream and de-facto search engine in atleast the English speaking world, and is the top most visited website in the world.

I wish people would stop saying something is "dying" when they personally dont like it anymore or don't use it as much, you don't speak for the world.

I tried to use another search engines for a while. Tried Ectosia, tried Duckduckgo, even gave Bing a chance. Google just gives me better results...

I'd say DickDuckGo has gotten SIGNIFICANTLY better in the past two years. I'd consider the results I get on there to be mostly equivalent these days, and in some cases better, though still sometimes worse. It's finally gotten good enough for me to be willing to switch though.

I find that Bing's results are on par with Google's, but all of the others are basically useless for me.

The trick to get Bing to give you the best results are to change your region (on bing.com) to United States. There are tons of features that are only enabled if you are in the US.

Probably because both use the information they're getting from you to actually improve their services. And that's (probably) fine, since you're giving away your information to get a better service.

I want privacy but I also want good services, Duckduckgo for example gives me a good privacy service but its searches have nothing to do with what I wanted to find.

Google is still the best for very Australia specific searches, and still better than others that scrape from Google. But for most scenarios DDG suits me.

Googles search results seems to depend a lot on who you are.

At the moment I sometimes get better, almost good results which is maybe even more infuriating as it proves they can if they want to, they just don't care.

DuckDuckGo.com is reliably mediocre but annoy me less and it is easier to jump to Google that from google to DDG.

Definitely agree. Most of my searches are mundane and I don't have an existential stake in whether they are slightly "better" or "worse" than what I would get from a different search engine. I always start with DDG because I don't like the business models of its other main competitors. But if I don't find what I am looking for (and believe should be findable) I hold my nose and switch over to google.

Betteridge's law tells us the answer is no. But there is a real phenomenon - Google is becoming less useful.

It used to be that a challenger would get no traction because why would one bother when Google always popped out good answers to searches. Now... I'd at least try something new to skip all the makeuseof, wikihow, and similar dross without having to explicitly constrain it to reddit.

So no, it's not dying. But this is how it could die.

This is going into technical documentation as well. Even for tensorflow/keras related questions on specific methods the tensorflow documentation is at position ~5-10. Sites that literally just copy a random version of the docs are ranked higher...

> Sites that literally just copy a random version of the docs are ranked higher...

Recently I put something together in Common Lisp, a language I’m a novice at, so I often had to search. The first result returned in all my Google searches was a copycat website. Someone had clearly taken some previous high-quality Lisp reference and extensively rewritten it to avoid copyright violation, then loaded it with SEO. However, their English was rather poor and so this rewrite was a pain to read.

I would love a search engine that would allow me to zap certain domains and hide them permanently from results, but at the same time without retaining information about me for advertising purposes.

I am building one. We are in private beta. Details in my profile.

Yeah, I'm learning Rust at the moment. Searching on that is ... pretty good. Searching on Java stuff turns up soooo much crap. Presumably because the search volume is vast enough to make infospamming worthwhile :'(

It would be interesting to study how the uniqueness of new programming language names and the superior technical search results they bring about causes programmers to adopt new languages as time wears on.

>Google is becoming less useful.

Exactly. I wonder how a person could construct a highly curated google search. Not just blocking of sites but also a bit of parsing on the site for disposal purposes. Could it all be done on a local machine?

On a related note, as eBay became more of an all-purpose webstore I'll tend to use it rather than Amazon search to find products. The actual purchase, if it happens, is wherever.

I honestly wonder if there might be room in the market for a paid-membership search engine that included only a curated set of sites.

You'd lose all the long-tail quality stuff (e.g. my own write-only blog :P ), but also all the garbage. It might be worth it.

I don't think you could kill Google with that, but it might make a viable lifestyle business.

Edit: and I meant to add - I was looking for info on a specific Synology device the other day. Google turned up Synology's own website (good) and a zillion crappy affiliate-link-spam sites. eBay and Reddit were the best sources of info when I sighed and started constraining the search with site: prefixes.

>I honestly wonder if there might be room in the market for a paid-membership search engine that included only a curated set of sites.

I know basically nothing of the mechanics of search, although I expect that a boutique search engine would have trouble accessing the guts of third party sites as they don't want to get hammered by the world.

I did just think of an interesting specialty engine. If you had fast access to the full library on libgen or sci-hub, a person could produce a pretty interesting set of abilities.

I know enough to know I don't know much :) But there's plenty of documentation out there.

My impression is that if you're not dealing with people trying to game the algorithm then it's all a lot simpler.

As to data sources - with a constrained set of sites the creation of custom adapters should be do-able I'd have thought.

Not that I have any plans. Maybe I should though :)

Edit: come to think of it, it's practically an internet law that stuff you think of already exists. So maybe I should just post an Ask HN for the link to the search engine in question...

An interesting meta-problem comes with success of a curated search engine. The sites it actually supports would themselves have to be curated as otherwise the camel's nose gets back into the tent.

Yeah, exactly. Either not successful enough to game or... Nice problem to have? Maybe?

(I have similar thoughts about diacussion fora fwiw)

Google search might be becoming less useful, but YouTube search is becoming more useful in my opinion.

Betteridge's law is for news headlines.

Ask HN posts are supposed to end with a question mark

Well, to be fair, the headline is not trying to speak for the world. It's polling HN which isn't exactly the world, but it's certain a group of very smart people with deep technical experience.

I think Google is dying because they're including more and more adds on the pages. The ads used to be separate and distinctive. No longer. They're often ads for competitors or other distractions. It's just annoying and it gets in the way.

Tech vanguards don’t really get what global scale is. There’s nothing fringe or niche about any of these major products. Your mom and dad use this stuff. Dead to us means absolutely nothing at this point.

People can use the word "dying" in many legitimate ways. A popular product can be dying if it is degrading in quality.

Fair points.

I get your point about google being popular for the millions of phone using consumers that are too busy caring about other things than to change the defaults that are being sold to them,

using "dying" and "google" in a sentence when speaking for webmasters / people who have web sites - is certainly a thing though.

I said some time ago that google is to become the new yellow pages, and apparently last year more than half the web searches got zero clicks via google.

More and more people are becoming aware of privacy concerns and how to do things without big F and G. I know this is not at a tipping point for google, but look at the whatsapp privacy debacle and how a good percentage of users can be lost in just a month.

I see more and more people skipping google and going straight to youtube/reddit/amazon / etc.. I expect more and more people to continue to 'search' starting with other portals.

Now I do see google keeping dominance with local search / maps - mainly because people/businesses tend to update their google local listing as being the most important (as opposed to people updating their fbook listing, which for most, I believe is easier.)

this is partially do to the default with android. Should an Msoft like antitrust thing force removal of gmaps / gmail / similar - like the courts demanded of IE with msoft long ago.. fbook could take the place for most current 'yellow pages like' information.

Sure there could be places for others to jump in, especially if open maps gamified with foursqaure - combined with visa/mc rewards.. so yeah, big things are possible.

Also, I wonder how much of that is inflated by defaults on iOs / Android, including apps like maps / mail.. Also after seeing dozens of people "search" for google, by typing google into the search bar, before googling it.. I think it's fair to say the results are a bit skewed.

Anyhow, google is still looking more and more like the yellow pages - this is good in some ways, however as for web site owners who are not in the top 3 of g search results, and especially those not in the top 10 - google is less important than ever, and actually it's existence and it's ads are a detriment.

I expect more web sites will be catering to Bing and even instagram / fbook / reddit, etc... as this happens more and more, and google continues to censor and keep clicks more and more - I believe a few anti-google / hiding info from google protest kind of things couple have a similar paradigm shift that occurred with myspace.

I also think we will see a more divided net as whole not too long from now - different rules for different countries and states will continue and all that.

Anyhow I do believe google is the new yellow pages, and right now they are the most used 'not-the-Real yellow pages' - so they get the most money for ads and people find their local space important.

Yet google as many of us once knew it, has been dying a slow not-so-painful death for a long time, and I don't see it going back to the cool it once was. Sterile, yes.. cool.. not so much.

I know, small data points don't speak for the world. But what number of of 'former 100% google users' need to change to alternative sources before it's okay for people to say 'for many, google has been dying' ?

I for one used to teach people how to use google.. these days I teach people to use alternatives and why.


> I see more and more people skipping google and going straight to youtube

That’s...not actually skipping Google.

> But what number of of 'former 100% google users' need to change to alternative sources before it's okay for people to say 'for many, google has been dying' ?

The premise of the question—that it is meaningful to say Google is “dying” based on exits without considering entrances, and the only question is what number of exits to use as a threshold—is fundamentally flawed.

My searching has split pretty evenly between Google and Bing. There was a relatively recent change to Google's search functionality that really brings down the usefulness: I can type an exact phrase in double quotes like I have for years, but often it will "correct" it to something else. These corrections involve either changing a term into another word or dropping words from my query altogether. It completely defeats the point of double quotes and often delivers wrong results because of it. When this happens, I switch to Bing and often get the results that I'm looking for.

I think that double-quotes has had its Eternal September. Maybe "regular people" used it for mundane search tasks and didn't find what they wanted, Google detected this through their search metrics, and now they've decided to nudge double-quote search terms towards synonyms and typo-corrections... verbatim no longer.

For the majority of seekers, Google may actually be performing better, but for a minority of hobbyists/specialists/experts looking for niche and jargon terms, its anything but an improvement.

Presumably there's a technical challenge with offering to match exact strings at this scale?

After all, the ability to do it was Google's main improvement over AltaVista at the time.

I'd love for someone in-the-know to share some of the technical details. Because I could bet that the sloppyness with quoted strings could be about dumbing down, but could equally be a consequence of some implementation choice at this scale and the way the data is indexed.

My humble guess is you'll never get these sorts of technical details from an internal so don't get your hopes up :-)

If you don't ask :) I've never worked on a large-scale text indexing so it doesn't have to be a particularly sophisticated insight.

I'm speculating that the majority of uses cases need some kind of work equivalency, so the major index is built that way. Whether that's just for the search terms of the average user, or ranking/clustering used to derive which pages are important. Then any additional indexes is a trade off with the magnitude of resources it would consume.

I've thought so too but it goes deeper.

If this was the entire reason they shouldn't have botched the verbatim option as well.

My guess is incompetence or arrogance or something.

I don't mean incompetence as dumb and I'm not saying I'm smarter, but clearly something is missing that the previous maintainers had.

My best guess is they threw out a bunch of integration tests somewhere around 2006 and never recovered ;-)

More search engines and/or algorithms is the answer IMO. Having one singular page and answer for a query describing the world's online information is far from ideal, particularly when some search engines have the predisposition of showing their own datasets over organic results wherever possible.

Anecdotally, Google tends to favour newer content so there's a lot of content recycling going on serving no purpose other than pleasing the algorithm.

And of course if you're say, a UK retail site and you suffer an algorithmic penalty, that's potentially half of your traffic gone (G has 95% of the UK search market, around 50% of information discovery is via search). A lot of power for one company to have, too much.

I use presearch which is a decentralized search engine on blockchain tech... It has nice links on the sidebar so you can open searches in google/etc if the results aren't stellar it's actually pretty good...


Use the above if you want or you can attach my ref id: 2320736 if you so choose...

only get like 25 creds, but trying to get to 1k so I can start staking without having to pay for the privilege.

Or you might just be able to use https://presearch.org/

to search without signing up at all...

What a bunch of nonsense that is.

For the past few years I've spent extensive time using Bing, DuckDuckGo, and Google. I've found that Google is still the best when searching for answers to technical questions during my work day, or searching for information about local businesses and events. Outside of those topics, the first page of results is usually a collection of posts from content farms with titles like "The best ___ for ____ in 2021". As a workaround, I also find myself appending "reddit" to the end of my queries, but I'm sure that will be gamed by blackhat marketers soon enough.

This might be a different Ask HN, but does anyone have suggestions on avoiding the content farm stuff? Searching reddit works, but amounts to being trapped in a walled garden.

I've found a lot of great stuff on random independent websites (i.e. https://woodgears.ca/, http://gizmology.net/) that have no Reddit presence. Filtering those out is a great loss.

Something like the Yahoo Directory (hierarchical tree of hand-sorted topics) could work, but that's long gone.


Sometimes I visit miilionshort.com to search for something when google isn't cutting it. They have options to leave out the top 100/1000/100000/1000000 websites (By Alexa rank I believe), so I will try playing with the options to get something useful. It's not always fruitful, but I've found many nice things this way that would've been buried on google.

I've started going directly to page 4 on Google searches if I don't see Google's scraped answer at the top.

Starting at 4 seems to cut a lot of the SEO and content farms.

Google used to offer the ability to filter out domains from your results, but they haven't for years now.

I suppose a client side extension could do the trick. It might be a good option for a side project if anyone is feeling generous with their time.

There are browser extensions that bring back the "Discussions" filter that Google removed a few years ago. Unfortunately niche forums aren't really popular these days so you end up with older results.

I'm actually using Bing/DDG more because there's less content farms. It gives me less relevant results most of the time, but discovery is better.

I find myself using HN search more and more to get beyond machine-translated nonsense and naive "content" for professional info. Same with stackoverflow.com and, to a lesser degree, reddit.com, and a couple other sites. Because why go to the middleman when you can get it directly from the source in these post-forum times. Maybe it's time for new browser meta-search plugins and/or revival of OpenSearch (not the ElasticSearch fork but the 2005ish proposal to have sites expose a search URL)?

Dying? Probably not. Becoming less useful? Absolutely.

Finding answers to very specific problems? Eh, it's still ok.

Searching for specific content? It's fukken gahbage.

> Becoming less useful?

Going on for a decade. I have it written down on my old blog when they first started ignoring doublequotes.

Edit, not a full decade since I wrote it down at least but still: https://techinorg.blogspot.com/2013/03/what-is-going-on-with...

For the youbg ones here: it used to be better. A lot better.

This may be because content is moving away from conventional websites and onto platforms.

Reddit, stack overflow, writing sites like wattpad, and content sites like substack, all make content publicly available. There is also a lot of real public content on youtube. These are indexed and show up on a search engine.

But lately, a lot of platforms wall off their content, for privacy (facebook, linkedin), or to allow content creators to monetize it (udemy, patreon, medium). Search engines can often surface content based on e.g. course title, article title, but the in depth content is not accessible so they don't rank.

I think what you are seeing is the end of the open internet, and search results just reflect that.

But adding “reddit” returns better results, so the content is still there and open. Google is just not returning good results without it.

You’re biased as someone who presumably likes Reddit and wants to read an internet forum. I wouldn’t be so fast to assume it’s the best result for everyone.

For example, I would wager the average person is happy with the results of googling “best running shoes” over “best running shoes reddit” where an authority like RunnersWorld.con pitches some shoes with a quick blurb.

Meanwhile, I clicked through some threads on r/running and it’s the usual mix of ok advice couched in banal, inconclusive convo, rants, and infighting. We’re used to wading through the cesspool, but the average person just wants some damn shoes.

I think adding reddit to your search query and being happy with the result isn’t a knock against google, but you just knowing what you want, shaping the query to match it, and google delivering. Seems like a non sequitur when used as evidence of google’s decline.

In a sense I am biased, because I do like Reddit.

But in the last year every time I've needed to find real reviews about something it's the only search results that weren't bot spam or obviously copy and pasted product descriptions from someone that hadn't ever touched the product.

It could be that I'm just searching for different things, but I'm not the only one that has noticed. I've seen the "add reddit" suggestion from a bunch of unconnected people on Twitter as well, one of whom started off with "I hate reddit, but..."

I wonder how many companies have realized this new search pattern and are already astroturfing on Reddit. Everyone is assuming the content/reviews from Reddit are authentic but a good amount might not be.

It may self-correct. If I'm trying to write for Reddit, Reddit is fine. If I'm trying to write for the world, and Reddit no longer makes things publicly available, then I won't write on Reddit any more. If the people worth reading outside Reddit start doing that, it may hurt Reddit's traffic.

So it may self-correct. May.

Google search is technically the best it has ever been with its use of Bert and Passage Ranking. Ironically, this has had the unintended effect of forcing content-farms to produce more realistic content that resembles the babbling of GPT2, where you can’t just skim the content to immediately recognize it is babble. This means that while there may actually be fewer content-farm results in our searches, it costs the user substantially more energy and time to filter those results out manually.

Google search may be dead in the sense that Google has gone as far as it can go in ranking the relevance and quality of content. What we need is a value ranking of content — contextual to a specific person’s needs rather than as an answer to a one-line query.

The reason so many of us append “Reddit” to our queries is because humans are the only things on this planet capable of making evaluations about value. At least, for now.

Google search is one of the most used products on or off the internet with billions of people using it billions times a day. So no, it isn't dying. It's about as far from dying as any product can be.

There's a different question about the quality of the results and how that's changed over time.

I bet that Altavista had its highest-ever user numbers right before Google appeared on the scene.

I bet that non-digital cameras had their highest-ever sales numbers right before digital cameras hit the market.

That's the problem with all "it won't die, it's more popular than ever" arguments.

> That's the problem with all "it won't die, it's more popular than ever" arguments.

That's not the argument I made. Of course Google search can die, my point is that it isn't happening right now or in the near future.

> I bet that Altavista had its highest-ever user numbers right before Google appeared on the scene.

That's an excellent point, especially since the financial cost and effort to switch search engines is effectively zero.

I feel like Google search is definitely regressing. It's almost like they are allowing old ways to game their search engine to creep back in. Maybe all the original engineers are gone and the new ones are making the same mistakes again.

I'm seeing top 10 search results with malware, redirects to affiliate links, sites with just garbage content, the SERP quality is way down.

I would love if they would launch a new product.

Google Classic Search

Search like it used to be.

But there is no "Search like it used to be."

The internet landscape has fundamentally changed and there is a constant arms race against SEO content farms. I get that you mean you long for the nostalgia-tinted user experience of yesteryear, but if Google actually reverted to that older state things would be much, much worse.

It's still unmatched in finding programming solutions. Compared to DDG, which is my daily driver search engine, Google is able to get into Github issues, Stack questions, etc much easier than DDG. I'm heavily using !g in most of my programming questions via DDG.

I find this partly true, but I still only need to use Google over DDG maybe 20% of the time, and when I do it’s usually because I’m desperate (and even then, I rarely find what I’m looking for, or what I think I’m looking for). I find Google’s grouping together SO pages to be particularly useful, but most of the time when I’m looking for doco or the first few results, DDG is at least more than adequate.

Even programming related topics are flooded with SEO nonsense these days ime.

Yes, quality of search results has absolutely decreased in the last 5ish years as content marketing has flooded the web.

Google used to be good at countering these "SEO optimizations"

>Recently I've noticed that almost every search ends with ' reddit'.

Quite true, but as I ranted here[0] Google screws that up, too. If you try to limit your search to only post from e.g. the last month or year, they'll happily show you archived posts from 5 years ago as well.

0. https://svilentodorov.xyz/blog/bad-search/

Not sure why Microsoft wouldn't just make a better search out of the products _it owns_.. like GitHub, npm and LinkedIn

I'm sure half my Google searches during work end up in a GitHub issue page.

Imagine if Microsoft built a sourcegraph style search for code inside Bing

I too need to add "reddit" to most of my google searches. If I want real content from real people.

I often do the same. "forum" is also a good one depending on the topic. The problem is Google is all junked up with useless pages so scoping it down to "a human actually wrote this" is quite tough otherwise.

Yes, I do the same. Almost all my searches are restricted to specific sites. Still, Google is the best at searching specific sites, usually much better than the site-specific search functions.

It certainly has gotten worse, ever since they started thinking it's a good idea to let AI "guess what you want." But such a widely used product doesn't die quickly...

Google search is definitely not dying since for many people what you can find on google is _the internet_. But I personally no longer find google search as useful as I used to find it before. I use plain google mostly to get quick answers for programming problems.

Anything else I search for gets a quick "site:<authoritative_website>" to filter out the cruft. For random subjective topics "site:reddit.com".

!r <query> and duckduckgo will forward you to native reddit search. Bangs are incredibly useful when searching for domain specific content (!so, !rust), or searching for opinions/discussion about something (!r, !hn). For general searches, search engines are still king. I find ddg around the same as google minus the ads.

Reddit's internal search is atrocious. It's much easier to find content appending "reddit" to your search on Google (or better yet, append "site:reddit.com").

I don't know why you'd want that. Unless Reddit has made changes to the search in recent years, a Google search limited to Reddit tends to do a better job at surfacing the most relevant posts.

Wow, I didn't realize how many people add " reddit" to the end of their search. I've also been doing that for over a year because the search results are absolutely useless. I think this may also be caused by way shittier content though.

I add reddit to a lot of things like others have mentioned. For opinion results. I don't think is a product of google search though, its the product of where the web is currently.

A lot of Pinterest results, too. So many I have to use a script to block them to make Google even remotely useful anymore, esp. for image searches.

As a non-native English user, I recently set my default browser back from DuckDuckGo to Google after the un-satisfied experiences with the former one.

The reason is that, Google can support my quick checks about English usage that can be minor to native users, such as

"as a result" vs "as the result"


"looking for the X factor" (I feel like I can write this phrase but not quite sure I understand what X factor really is or if there is anyone really using this term)


"someone advocating for implementing" (I want to use this phrase to indicate some colleague but I want to know if saying this is natural enough (or has more search results))

Silly but I do rely on Google to do this for me. Sometimes I feel guilty about this because I know these search requests costs energy and increase carbon emission.

DuckDuckGo is nowhere near the performance of Google for this. Also, it frequently returns NSFW websites at the first result page.

I'm confused. Do you mean that you stop looking for results once you've seen what you're looking for on reddit?

I think OP has a similar problem to me, which is that for a lot of search queries you end up on shitty content farm websites that don't have anything of value on them. Reddit, Quora, etc will generally give you an amateur's perspective on topics, but at least it is a perspective that was written by a person who gave a shit.

For example, if I look up a given book. The first results will be amazon and good reads, fair enough, but the reviews have been gamed so I'm not going to bother with them. Then it's the blogs that have managed to figure out SEO. They read in a similar style to recipe websites, and I haven't seen any good ones in that category. Then I will find a reddit thread about the book, hopefully on a subgenre subreddit and not just r/books, that convinces me to get it or not and has recommendations for books similar to it.

If you get far enough you will find some personal blog that doesn't care about SEO. HN has link farm threads every now and then where people post theirs, and I have seen some individuals who post insightful book reviews, but you will not come across those in a search engine.

I think they mean that they add "reddit" to the end of the search strings they submit to Google. Often if you're looking for discussion on a certain topic it's a reasonable starting point for a lot of things.

I think they can clarify best but maybe they mean that search suggestions are ending with the string reddit.

Eg if I type best linux distro the first suggestion often is "best linux distro reddit". It happens for me too.

OP is talking about ending up typing "reddit" at the end of query

The fact that a lot of people are doing that is obvious from your observation that it's the first suggestion

I understand what you're trying to imply and yes, I've noticed the search engine get crappier too especially in terms of something code-related. The top results I've been getting apart from SO/Reddit are those weird websites that crawl other blogs, replace words with their synonyms and then re-publish them automatically. That's a very bad user experience in my opinion.

Although, I won't go so far as to say that Google search engine is dying by any means given it still performs way better than other search engines out there and even though I've tried switching to Bing, Google just has more data on me and the predictive search results are a huge selling point for me.

I find the “date” filter on Google has been broken for a year now. It used to work perfectly even on Reddit posts. But something changed early last year when the date filter simply doesn’t work.

Google is thriving. Search is Dead.


I feel the search is just as good, very likely the first listed link will be what I am looking for.

I'd say however the results have become more concentrated, like many others have said, these are concentrated around a few platforms. Another I'd say is maybe something bad has happened around SEO. I searched for something I wanted to buy the other day and every listing linked to the same website, even with different search terms, this is despite many online stores stocking it (I found many links on the manufacturers website).

That's funny, I've been doing this (appending searches with "reddit") for a while, but I thought it was just a random thing I did, not the universal experience of so many people.

It's probably not so much search that is dying but non-profit content on the internet. Not a whole lot that search engines can do about that, unless they become search "walled gardens" ala Apple.

Google Search has been becoming less useful to me starting around 2003, but in the last year or 2 has become more useful so now its usefulness is back up to where it was in about 2015.

The main causes of the decline are the rise of content farms and SEO and dubious "improvements" to browsers that make them better software platforms but worse browsers of the written word.

I've been testing out Neeva (Ad free, subscription based) since I got off the waitlist for testing. I was skeptical at first, but just from anecdotal experience I've had a more pleasant experience not dealing with Ads. I also have noticed I do less specific website searches as well, which is a proxy metric for better searches?

I wouldn't say dying, maybe peaking. And a peak is quite natural considering they've taken over the world(in internet terms).

They are not covering some user stories as well as others, e.g. security minded users and DuckDuckGo, but overall still doing more than ok. "Googling" is also a verb so there's that.

I can relate and it depends.

I find that if I am searching about programming topics, especially in option, DDG does great. If I am searching about more general things, like say a list of smoke points for various cooking oils (last night), google seems to do better.

Google Search has been dying for a decade. Try image search today - it’s awful. And regular search isn’t any better.

It used to be simple to find drivers with Google. Now it’s easier to go to the vendor’s page and try to navigate their mystery meat hellmaze. That’s terrible.

Speaking only for myself, off the top of my head, I use it to look up stuff for work (software engineering), for several of my hobbies, and to learn more about local news / events, and I feel like it works equally well or better than a few years ago

They killed themselves with amp.

I switched to Bing on my phone because of the amp links

Yup, I end all my searches with either reddit or stackoverflow/stackexchange. Google has become worthless. Any query like "best xxx" doesn't return anything meaningful.

If I am looking for opinions or discussions (on things like agile, work issues, pets, holiday destinations, covid, etc, etc) I will always check HN and Reddit via Google search.

Not really, but I do use Bing occasionally and get better results

I’m going to shill my https://altsear.ch start page :-) sorry

I don't think it's dying, just transforming. How successful the transformation will be, remains to be seen.

Pinterest is killing google image search and is a major reason I fully abondoned google search in favor of ddg.

I hear ya. So much content farm crap there.

A major problem is that for so many of the searches so many of the early results are shopping results.

I think search is being over-engineered to display everything and the kitchen-knives

What's stopping google from letting users blacklist sites from results?

I use DuckDuckGo by default due to privacy concerns and Google returning tons of irrelevant answers in recent years.

I only fallback to Startpage (which use google result) when DDG doesn't spit good enough results (happens mostly on rare topics / Chinese search)

and now you're polluting HN with similar weak posts

anecdotal conversation, ppl don't know what you mean by reddit etc

Betteridge says no.

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