Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




Google Serach Results - A Rant?

Okay - I too must have a Google rant ;)

I am not sure this is worthy of a rant but here goes....

When I do teachnical searches on Google, more and more frequently I come across news aggreagation sites listed as the top few search results.

These are from sites like : http://www.knowledgestorm.com and http://www.ittoolbox.com/

These sites have articles that are not deep and are mostly press releases - the relevancy is close to null.

I also vary my search queries to see if it makes a difference - it does when I am very precise.  But often I am fishing for generic information that may allow me to dig deeper.

Have others made similar observations or am I just ranting aimlessly.

Don Quixote
Thursday, May 06, 2004

I'm seeing aggregators polluting all kinds of searches. Someone asked "why is Google going public now?" I have this sneaking suspicion the shareholders see this problem and don't have an easy answer to combat it.

So the IPO is a combination cashing out while Google is still in ascendance and building a war chest to bolster R&D coffers to work the problem.

Philo

Philo
Thursday, May 06, 2004

Combine that with sites selling stuff ranking higher
than information sources and you get a lot of useless
responses from google these days.

son of parnas
Thursday, May 06, 2004

The worst (IMHO) is when you get a listing of sites that are just soley search engines of the words (not sure I'm explaining it well).  i.e. you click on the link, and up pops some paid search site for the terms that in itself is a search list result painted in obnoxious ads that when you close them pop up hundreds of other pop-up windows (I know, I know, pop-up blocker).

Elephant
Thursday, May 06, 2004

www.google.com

search on "waffles" using "I'm feeling Lucky"

hehehe

apw
Thursday, May 06, 2004

All this criticism of google search results... is there a better alternative?

Scot
Thursday, May 06, 2004

I don't think its a question of a better alternative, it's a question of decreasing relevance.  When google first came out, it was perfect and so were the results.  As the years have past, the search results have been getting more and more polluted, and there has been an increased load on the user to sift through an increasing number of results.  Originally, you would for any search find what you were looking for in the top 10 results.  Now I find myself frequently digging through the top 50 or so.  I personally think google is still the best, but the line is getting narrower, and personally, I'm starting to evaluate the alternatives.

Elephant
Thursday, May 06, 2004

Google is the best right now, but there is still huge room for improvement.  This is why I don't get the big fuss over Google IPO.  Sure they have the best search engine _right now_, but what happens when a new company comes along (or an existing one) and produces better results due to a better algorithm?

chris
Thursday, May 06, 2004

"This is why I don't get the big fuss over Google IPO. "

The value of Google in most investor's minds isn't the technology behind it (which ebbs and flows), but that Google has tremendous mindshare -- I mean regular everyday people now say that they'll "Go Google" something, and virtually everyone, technically capable or not, is aware of and using Google.

Even in the tech community, often a contrarian crowd that latches onto whatever the commoner hasn't, Google is saintly and often considered untouchable (criticize Google on Slashdot and you'll be moderated down immediately).

The net result of this? Google makes an email server or friendster type thing and people are crowding the doors trying to earn the right to sign up.

,
Thursday, May 06, 2004

Google is still the best out there, but I agree. This is a simmilar situation to the battle fought against spammers.

Google comes up with new search algos, and stupid f*cks out there learn how to manipulate it. Im pretty sure the google people are well aware of this and do what they can to fix it.

Perhaps they could screen results that are too good? I mean how many sites can rank highly both in searches for PHP tutorials and searches for multiplayer game mods. (Not an exact example, but ive come across results along those lines.)

And how exactly are they defeating the ranking? By having a load of sites and crosslinking them?

Eric Debois
Thursday, May 06, 2004

Philo wrote:

>So the IPO is a combination cashing out while Google is still in ascendance

Really....google will always be in ascendance since like a few companies like Intuit  and Adobe they have figured out what their core strengths are (search) and how to stay a step ahead of competitors like Microsoft in that arena. The only way they can fail is if they commit suicide, even microsoft smartags could not kill them off...

>and building a war chest to bolster R&D coffers to work the problem

Hardly since it is not such a difficult problem to tackle. All they have to do is track how many times a site pops up in the top 20 for different searches (where the keywords do not overlap) and if the number gets suspiciously large  chances are that this is just a aggregator site or one crafted to show up on wide searches since there is no way otherwise one site would be relevant to so many different searches.  Ofcourse there would have to be exceptions for sites like msn, amazon, slashdot, cnet etc...but I do not see why this would be difficult

Code Monkey
Thursday, May 06, 2004

I'm with Philo. I used Google way back and it was the best. But now ... if something else appeared, I'd be there in a heartbeat. Google has slipped.

must remain anonymous
Thursday, May 06, 2004

"I'm with Philo. "

Given that Microsoft recently made Google its next adversary, declaring that it's going to really, seriously, we-mean-it-this-time going to take on internet searches with the boatloads of monopoly payola (God I'd forgotten about smarttags. Another Microsoft dud that flopped miserably, yet we still hear Microdroids telling us how the world will be painted red, green, blue and yellow when Microsoft Next Great Thing (TM) comes out), I've become suspicious of any arguably pro-Microsoft/anti-non-Microsoft posts by Philo. Saying that you're with him is like saying that you're with Ballmer when he says that Windows is the roxxor.

.
Thursday, May 06, 2004

pfft.
I'm honestly not that enamoured of our pursuit of search tech - I still use Google to search MS.com (or use our internal search engine, which is annoyingly much better)

The big question - are the Google brains doing the IPO to cash out and retire, or to gather strength for the next big challenge? Honestly, I *really* hope it's the latter - I think Google is 80% of the way there, so they have a shorter way to go to get back to where they used to be.

Putting it mildly, we have a lot farther to go than that. [grin]

At the end of the day, I just want a good search engine so I can get my job done.

Philo

Philo
Thursday, May 06, 2004

Judging by the search functions on microsoft.com, or MSN search for that matter, MS is actually behind the curve. They are not even on par with the majority of search engines.
Maybe they hired too many PHDs and too few guys with real passion for the science. ;-)

Eric Debois
Thursday, May 06, 2004

>MS is actually behind the curve

Not in all regards :-) Just type the words (without quotes) "microsoft antitrust" in google and on msn search and see what pops up as the first link (and other links for that matter).
Seems like they have better "filtering" technology then Google has

Code Monkey
Thursday, May 06, 2004

I suppose we'll have to wait a few years until the DOJ starts taking Google to court.

The MSN search results do bring back fond memories of the Saudi Press in the early nineties when you would get full information about everwhere in the world except Saudi Arabia.

Stephen Jones
Friday, May 07, 2004

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home