Yahoo doesn't really have a search engine, and hasn't for five years. They resell Bing and add some in-house content. The only reason to search with Yahoo is if you want their in-house content.
Bing is currently more literal-minded than Google. Google is using too much popularity-based machine learning to "correct" what you're searching for. It's become difficult on Google to search for a non-popular thing that happens to be close to a popular search target. Google does not treat quote marks as a mandatory exact match any more, just a hint.
Running a search engine is so profitable that even the little guys with < 1% market share make money - Ask, InfoSeek, DuckDuckGo, and Blekko are all profitable. (Cuil blew it - no revenue model.) The most valuable ads on the Internet are the ones on search results, because they appear when someone is actively seeking something. Almost all other ads are interruptions. The only thing that keeps the phone vendors and carriers from entering the search engine business is huge payments from Apple, Google, and Bing.
Microsoft's current approach to Bing is unusual. Bing used to have its own CEO; the last one was Satya Nadella, who is now CEO of Microsoft. Now, various parts of Bing are under five different Microsoft VPs who also have other responsibilities. Some people speculated that this was in preparation for closing down or selling off Bing, but that doesn't seem to be happening. Anyone know more about that?
This has been getting me lots lately. It used to be 1 attempt, maybe 2, to find what I'm after.. lately I find myself regularly needing to try >4 different searches before getting what I'm after. I've consciously noticed that Google seems to have lost the whole thing that made them so great in the first place.
And now, among other things, Google is losing power users. They shouldn't forget that they gained popularity in the beginning by word of mouth which in this industry literally means: by power users' recommendations to others. It's the power user who would (or wouldn't) be replacing Bing with Google on his family member's new laptop.
This is crucial in my opinion: don't try to guess what people want to find, just guess how they want to be looking for something - anything.
Boy, this bubble doesn't think too highly of the outside world, does it? What an attitude. We're not all idiots.
As someone who has run product before, I can tell you there's always some self-entitled blowhard who feels you owe them something for the time they spend on your product, or their "help". No one is upset when they finally leave (and they always do).
The fact that you have switched away from Google products (and are threatening to leave the last) means your value to Google is likely slightly above zero. But I'm sure the competition are beating down your door for your business.
The menus may appear a bit mor simplified at the surface but if you dig down you will find what you are looking for.
Speaking of GMail, it's the same attitude basically. For example they added these automatic labels with some nonsensical heuristics, which don't work most of the time and are impossible to remove. One more "smart" improvement and I'm closing my GMail account for good, seriously.
When I started to think about how Google was privy to just about all of my online and some of my real-life activity, it occurred to me they could build a disturbingly accurate profile on me, and while I'm just a boring 30-something middle-class white guy, I still found that creepy. Now I spread my data out between Google, BlackBerry, Outlook, and Yahoo and it's not really any less convenient than having it all integrated (the phone does integrate it all I suppose, but BlackBerry is not trying to use that data to show me ads).
This is the first time I've even heard of this mode. As with the original article, I think this speaks to the massive power of the "default". Once upon a time Google's "default" was excellent for my use case, but it's slowly degraded over the years, and rather than dig through all of its options trying to make Google useful again, I just whined about it and started looking at competing services.
Changes in default behavior should be embarked upon with extreme caution. This is especially true when considering the way google does this (with many incremental changes that are totally invisible individually). I feel like if they more prominently highlighted 1) what they were changing and 2) how to work around it they could avoid much backlash from "power" users.
Firefox, in contrast, makes it very clear what they're doing when they change the default search engine, and it's pretty easy to switch back to google. But clearly for a large number of users, that "default" will be good enough.
It's like the mode to disable 'personalised results' (AKA filter bubbles) - I've explained it to several people in the last few months and they were all amazingly grateful. Of course, we still don't have any way to measure where there is no filter bubbling with them off, or just less... :(
They seem to be aiming for a TV-like experience by showing you whatever they want and not what you search for (maybe Google should be called an inspiration engine nowadays, for lack of a better word)
To disable search result personalization: https://www.google.com/history/optout
If Google returns a "popular" result, I usually add a second keyword to specifying the domain which usually returns the correct result.
Would there be a way to be personalized and anonymous at the same time? Or is that an oxymoron?
As you say "django" gives you the movie, but "django class based views" gives you what you would expect.
For most search I feel that DuckDuckGo has become increasingly good, while Google has become worse. It might be because I don't login or flush cookies when I close my browser, but that would mean that Google rely on personalization to a disturbing degree.
My progression is DDG => !SP => !G
You refuse to tell them anything about yourself.
That's not having your privacy invaded, that's wanting to have your cake and eat it too.
It's a human language question, not an FMRI.
One of the biggest things that irks me now about Google. Sometimes I want to search just for the word, "sofa" I don't need you to match it with "relevant" other words like "couch"
For you. For this one use-case. Which may or may not be good.
It's the effect of this scaled up, for all use-cases Google's cluster can identify, for all users which is bad. It's one of the reasons I use DDG instead of Google these days.
if I wanted those results I would search with Acive directoy as part of the flipping query!
No, it shouldn't. Some people care about their privacy.
I also hate this fascination with search in general. If I want somefile, I know it's in Documents/stuff/foo_project/ ; I don't need to search for it.
Well, obviously it needs to be switchable, and it certainly will be both in Linux and in Windows. Not so much in Google OS, obviously.
Again, I'm not voicing my personal opinions and preferences on whether and how I want to see search integrated into a desktop OS. I'm arguing that Bing won't go away because the current industry trends require Microsoft to have a reasonably good search engine under its control.
As for local searches commingling with online searches, there are some cases where it makes sense, others where it's a blatant violation of privacy, and many more in a subjective grey area. It's basically a matter of making sure people are informed (really informed, not small-print-in-the-legalese informed) and needing to opt in, not out.
It does on Ubuntu/Mac OS.
>It's basically a matter of making sure people are informed... and needing to opt in, not out.
Shame nobody actually does this though. Also, does opting out actually stop the data grabbing, or just hide those results?
Personally, I think that's just bad ux, it's simplification one step too far. The user might not want these search services to know they are searching for some terms. That's a distinction that I know many users clearly don't care about though.
2005-2013 Microsoft online services, including Bing lost $10.9bn  and "continue to report a loss of $1.3bn/year" 
as of early 2014. I think people are projecting breakeven 2016. Competing with Google is not easy.
This is actually the main reason I use Bing; if search engines are going to track me I might as well get paid for it. The search results are usually as good or better than Google; YMMV. It's very rare I have to resort to a Google search and when I do it's usually just as bad.
I think the expense of developing Bing is as much about the problems of a very successful company with lots of cash developing a new product as it is about the problems of developing a search engine.
Unless you use the "Verbatim" option. Shame it can't be enabled by default, though.
Bing, on the other hand... last time I tested it was very strict, where did all these trash result come from, ugh.
Mozilla recently reworked their search bar to make it much harder to change the default (coincidentally, at the same time as they changed it to yahoo... imagine that ;) ).
You can get the old one back in about:config:
browser.search.showOneOffButtons = false
Completely agreed on google and matching - it's got too 'smart' for its own good, and when I'm searching for specific words, it often 'helpfully' includes results for the complete opposite too, or for reversed word order that completely changes the meaning (e.g. foo guide for bar users == bar guide for foo users according to google). If I'm looking for anything at all specific or complex, I use DuckDuckGo or even Yahoo. I try to use DuckDuckGo day to day when I can too, of course, for privacy reasons.
The rot started when google stopped supporting boolean operators, +, and "".
What are you talking about?
* Extra clicks to use non-default engine, especially for multiple searches in a row.
* Options to add/remove engines or change the default are very well hidden.
* No way to get suggestions from the non-default (or just stop asking the default for suggestions at all, if your default is Google/Yahoo/etc.). Prime example is Wikipedia autocompleting from page names - now not possible unless it's your default.
* Always by default assumes you want the default search engine when you might want to switch back and forth with your active one.
* No indication of what the default search engine even is.
* Looks stupidly messy with 12+ search engines (seriously, do you only use google or something? Once you have Google, DuckDuckGo, Wikipedia, Google Images, various wikis and news sites all added, it's a total mess with the new clusterfuck of a UI).
* Searching through a list of favicons sucks compared to having a dropdown with favicon and name.
* Broken keyboard shortcuts.
(Notice also how the current search engine being used is represented with icon and name.)
Clicking "Change search settings" brings you to a dialog which clearly gives you the ability to set the default and remove unwanted search-engines:
Yes. It's one more click than it used to be. But now it's visually 100% clear what it does and how it does it.
The previous incarnation required one less click, but my guess is that most users didn't even know they had the option to change defaults or remove search-engines since it was not spelled out explicitly.
It may not address all your concerns, like suggestions on non-default engines, but I think overall it's not 100% a degradation either.
Perhaps each upgrade resets the choice, I cannot confirm as I haven't seen an upgrade since 34.x (I do wish they would have handled the ssl 3 issue with more care, having to use the about page to neuter protection to access many devices is a chore)
Or wish to support Mozilla through their deal with Yahoo!.
I live in China, and recently switched from Google (blocked) to Yahoo Japan (not blocked, but Google has a majority share in them meaning it uses Google in the back).
Yahoo Japan is the only Google way to access Google that is not blocked in China.
This is exactly right and something I have been arguing for a while. Google's algos are good for finding what is popular, not necessarily what is right (though these things often overlap).
One of the things that surprised me was the approach to search that my non-technical clients take. Anecdotally, around half use Bing because they like Internet Explorer. Curiously, more than two thirds of these folks also have Chrome installed, so they can use Google; the misconception is that they _need_ Chrome in order to use Google _anything_. Chrome is use for Google, and nothing else.
I don't recall a single person using Yahoo! across 300+ home and small office visits. Firefox is rarely seen, and if it does crop up it's usually because of a years-old recommendation from a trusted family member.
"A misconception implies it's accidental, but it's partly deliberate: Google wants to leverage their search-engine influence, convincing people they have no choice but to buy into a larger Google-Stuff ecosystem."
Similarly, although most search engines (except DuckDuckGo) filter bubble people, it is by far the most pervasive and irritating with google. So far, every single person I have explained filter bubbles to has been weirded out by the idea and thanked me for telling them about it.
Of course, the other reason Google loses ground is privacy - Yahoo is definitely not good on privacy, but at least they fought as hard as they could before their hand was forced where google capitulated immediately. I can't wait until in a year or two DuckDuckGo is as good as google (not as hard as it used to be)...
I don't think that's true; one, I don't think that Google's smarts are a problem with Google, and two, I don't think that allowing people to direct their intelligence other places than carefully crafting search queries to get useful results in most cases makes stupid users.
> If I search for something, I don't want it to by default include a massive list of other 'helpful' things up to and including antonyms or different word order that changes the meaning (e.g. how "foo guide for bar users" == "bar guide for foo users" according to google).
Altered word order in a query isn't equivalent to Google. I just tested with a bunch of pairs that differed in order, and got different results for each search in the pair.
Altered word order may be something Google things may be relevant to your search, but that's different than the equation you presented.
> So far, every single person I have explained filter bubbles to has been weirded out by the idea and thanked me for telling them about it.
Its possible to explain anything to people in a way that weirds people out, but I don't see why search personalization should. Most people, I think, understand that the same set of words from different people have different most-likely meanings: if you know one person is a cocaine addict and another is, to the best of your knowledge, drug-free but a heavy soda drinker, and each says to you "I need some coke!", you'll probably interpret those statements differently.
I expect most search engine users (i.e. non-tech-industry users) are interested in 'typing things into the internet to find stuff'. The ability to build a useful search query isn't something a lot of people can do – it's dependent on understanding concepts like verbatim strings, quotes, modifiers… not that complex, but equally not common knowledge. Instead, Google is going to use the vast resources at it's disposal to guess the intent of badly-worded queries, and unfortunately that's not going to benefit people who can word their queries well.
Here's a tip though – I've configured my browser to search using Google's 'verbatim' search mode by default. It's not perfect, but it's much closer to how it used to operate. Unfortunately, as much as I'd like to try using another search engine, they've been much less useful in practice.
While true, that doesn't mean you have to neuter your entire search engine. Even if Joe Sixpack never uses +, "", boolean operators, etc (and Aunt Tilly outright asks 'The Google' "Please take me to Yahoo Mail"), it doesn't mean google should remove them.
By all means, have the advanced features mildly hidden so that they don't confuse/scare stupid people, but at least keep them available (in a non-neutered form) for those who do actually need them.
I would have to agree, Google is getting worse, while DuckDuckGo is getting better. I don't think that most users would switch though, but as long as I have an alternative I'm happy.
It's literally never been harder. The idea that it's getting easier to wade through the crap on the Internet is so disconnected with reality I don't know what to say.
Can you share a source for that?
And no other mention of Google in the article. Great that Yahoo fought them but it doesn't support your assertion that Google immediately gave in or cares less for privacy than Yahoo.
Even better, the same source you provided (EFF's Who Has Your Back report: https://www.eff.org/who-has-your-back-2013) gives this as Yahoo's only positive mark while Google is 5/6.
Low-water mark (in terms of market share for Google) would probably be a better phrase, but the point is that unless Firefox grows a lot (which seems unlikely) the damage to Google is done.
And Yahoo's market share should not be underestimated. On the list of most popular destinations, according to traffic rankings yahoo.com is number 4, being beaten only by google.com, facebook.com and youtube.com. And somehow Marissa Mayer has been turning the tide and I've seen positive things happening. For example I'm happy that they started developing Flickr again. Perceptions can change overnight and Google can certainly lose some more market share.
I just hope that Yahoo! / Bing will improve their search for non-US users. Sadly for me Google provides the best search results and it's not even a competition. And it makes me sad, because while search engines are easily configurable in Firefox, I would have liked to support Mozilla indirectly with my searches and those of my acquaintances to which I'm recommending Firefox (pennies I know, but they add up).
Another way mozilla are their worst enemy. Making firefox into a chrome clone just drives away its users, while the masses they are trying to attract are staying on chrome because all they deliver is a compromised experience for the people who want firefox.
At the end of the day tho it's all about money and Google has more of it.
According to the same data, Google owns 87% of the mobile market, and I venture to guess that number is actually higher and will continue to climb in 2015 as mobile will continue to dominate the consumer market.
I also believe that this post-PC era has been nothing but bullshit. Yes, PC sales have been declining, but that's only because people stopped feeling the need to upgrade. And yes, mobile phones are here to stay, with their numbers rising and their utility growing, but if you take a look at tablets, lo and behold, sales are declining and the ones already bought are probably gathering dust.
Most importantly is that Google's Android does not own 87% of the mobile market. If Apple would switch to an alternative as the default, that would be a big blow to Google. And if this move by Mozilla ends up working out without Firefox losing market share, that might end up encouraging Apple to do so.
My wife still uses our iPad 1 to watch Amazon Prime on, despite it being years since the last iOS update that would run on it. I'm quite happy with my Asus Transformer which is stuck on Android 4.2.
As the author of the comment you're replying to, I can agree with that. I also own 2 tablets, both of which are used by my 4-year old to play educational games. They are great for that. However, I'm limiting his time spent on these games and overall they are gathering dust.
This is because, while they seemed useful to me at first, they are big and bulky and not good for productive work and all the use-cases I had for them (i.e. reading websites and email, watching videos, playing some games from time to time) have been fulfilled by my smartphone. And here's the problem with a tablet - I always have my smartphone with me, whereas for a tablet I have to make the conscious decision of taking it with me wherever I go. And if I have to make such a decision, I would rather take my 13-inch MacBook.
Of course, one could talk about a convergence of smartphones and tablets. Heck, I just bought a Nexus 6 last week, which is a freakishly big 6-inch phone. And I love it, precisely because it lets me do things that are comfortable to do on a tablet.
But here's the problem that I'm seeing, from personal experience of course - screen size matters a lot when speaking about things you can do with a device and a 6-inch phone is already too big to fit in my jeans pockets. I'm not seeing phones getting any bigger than that, because of portability. I love my Nexus 6, but I'm already wondering about how I'll carry it with me in the summer. But 6 inches is also too small for many use-cases.
This translates in my mind in one thing - phablets like the Nexus 6 or the iPhone 6+ will take over the tablets market-share. But because of their size, PCs and laptops will still rule supreme, these classes of products (smartphones and laptops/PCs) being actually complementary.
I thought this was the case with most "casual" PC users who only used it for email and Internet shopping. My wife fits this category, who will never use my laptop, ever. She even does basic spreadsheeting activities on the iPad with Google Sheets.
Are tablets really sat around gathering dust?
Your point is that casual PC users only need a PC for email and Internet shopping and things like that and that they would be better served by a tablet. My point of view is that this assertion isn't necessarily true.
Anyway, any of number of reports and studies say that the percentage of e-commerce visits and purchases from mobile devices is going up, and has been for years. Direct measurements of user activity show the growing importance of mobile.
Anyways, I'll never browse the web without AdBlock again and I'm astounded that so many people are able to do so.
(Of course it may be that nobody privacy conscious uses Android/iOS at all...)
For my personal browsing I tried Yahoo for a few days but have since switched to using DuckDuckGo. It's definitely not bad. But for work, and for when I'm not satisfied with the results, I still use Google. In my opinion, it is a superior search engine.
"DuckDuckGo gets its results from over one hundred sources, including DuckDuckBot (our own crawler), crowd-sourced sites (like Wikipedia, which are stored in our own index), Yahoo! (through BOSS), Yandex, Yelp, and Bing."
(Just thinking out loud).
- Search has to be made into a replaceable service, or a commodity. This means that one could easily switch search providers without any other noticeable difference (to the user) than a difference in search results.
- This means that search engines should be stripped of their user-interface.
- Search engines should "be" simply APIs that browsers can hook into.
An advantage of this, is that search engines could be denied the use of scripting, which disables the possibility of user tracking through "device fingerprinting".
- Of course, if desired, the user could enable personalization. Personalization could be handled like it is now (through user tracking). But we could invent an API that reveals only a user's interests to a search agent. For example, you could reveal that you are researcher or a programmer, interested in technology, and certain programming languages, and you could list a set of webpages that you use regularly.
- Of course, different profiles could be used for different searches.
I imagine that the privacy-aware engines like DDG could start with the development and implementation of these protocols, and cooperate with e.g. mozilla for a base client implementation.
> Google’s slice of the U.S. search market fell to 75.2 percent in December from 79.3 percent a year ago, while Yahoo jumped to 10.4 percent from 7.4 percent
I was expecting a landslide :)
I don't think there's any monopoly to be broken in search, it's just that the competitors aren't up to that level.
(In other areas I might agree)