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Yes, there is a better search engine (1998) (salon.com)
52 points by bobsil1 on July 2, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 15 comments



"The irony here is that the big portal sites are the ones, increasingly, making it harder to use the Web: They’re under such pressure to turn a profit to justify their market valuations that their pages have become crowded, blinking arrays of commercial distractions. Meanwhile, they’re failing to drive forward the technology at the root of their business."

Striking similarities to Facebook's current position.


Or to google itself, the way it's been pushing google+ lately.


The way it's been trying to monetize all its products, really.


Reading this article definitely brought back fond memories of early Google. I remember the first time I used Google (based on a friend's recommendation), and I remember the elation I felt at being able to find useful results so easily. I spent about 20 or 30 minutes just searching topics that I was interested in. I found stuff that I had no idea existed despite looking for it fairly aggressively in the past (mostly academic content on cognition and timely news/culture information from PRC and Japan).

That night I took a dive down the rabbit hole, and I didn't come back out until sunrise....

Does anyone else remember their first Google experience?

The current state of Google is largely suckage, this recent link on Google killing organic search being just one representative example:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5971560

Is DuckDuckGo the answer? Are there any other promising engines on the horizon?

For anyone considering taking on the search space, I am definitely willing to accommodate some minimally intrusive monetization of a site (including straight payment), as long as I could get clean, fast, and highly relevant results.


My first google memory was in 1999 (early 2000, maybe). I was in high school chemistry and we wanted to search for something (probably unrelated to chemistry). I suggested google and then spent 5 minutes convincing the entire class that it was not a porn site (does google sound like a dirty word?) before we actually hit go and went to the website. I think I converted a few people that day.


Nice to remember just how rough we had it to really appreciate the state of search today. Searching for something as obvious as "President Clinton" (while he was President) and having the official White House page not even come up in the top 10 is unthinkable today.

Of course, it still isn't #1, since that spot is universally reserved for Wikipedia... something that I suppose would've been unthinkable in 1998!


> Of course, it still isn't #1, since that spot is universally reserved for Wikipedia

Most likely because both are classified "useful" not "vital".


For sure. And generally it is indeed very handy to have the Wikipedia result come up prominently. It's just interesting that a free, user-moderated encyclopedia as the world's predominant source of source of reference information would have been difficult to imagine circa 1998.


"And a Silicon Valley start-up company with the unlikely name of Google.com is showing the way."

Funny how brainwashed you get. Nowadays Google seems like the perfect name.


I don't think becoming used to something novel counts as brainwashing.


The author said at the time that he is not an internet investor, but please tell me he was an early stage investor in google, please? I mean, google is just 3 months old, you're savvy enough to see what's right with it and what's wrong with everything else, he can't have missed the opportunity, can he? I mean, he is not being told by his investment advisor this and that, he can see it himself! I hope he invested.


Hey, this is Scott Rosenberg, who wrote this piece 15 years ago. Glad to see this piece unearthed again! I'm a journalist, not a tech investor. Never owned a cent of Google (except maybe through index funds in my IRA). More interested in writing about technology than in making money with it.


I see... And this is why I love the internet. You can read something from some American magazine from 15 years ago, and talk to the author about it. All the way from Africa. If that isn't a big deal, I don't what is.


Unfortunately for the early adopters, Google didn't go public for another six years, and all their early funding came from people who were already rich.


This is a remarkably prescient article that gets a lot right about an alpha product, a company that was only three months old, and the Web itself.




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