Hacker News Re-Imagined

Google Search Is Dying

  • 3636 points
  • β€’ 4 months ago

  • @dbrereton
  • Created a post

Google Search Is Dying


@cromwellian β€’ 4 months

Replying to @dbrereton πŸŽ™

Ah, young whipper snappers, everything old is new again, and clearly the world is always getting worse.

Well, some things are (reverse image search, ease of accessing 'Cached' pages -- now I have to go to archive.org Wayback, etc), but forum search has always been bad.

Long before Reddit was big, USENET/DejaNews and forum software like PHPbb/UBB ruled supreme (and before Markdown there was UBB Code). Google, despite owning DejaNews, did not often surface links into USENET content, and a lot of forums, for whatever reason, were not indexed by Google. For example, I used to spend a lot of time reading the latest on PC/3D Hardware stuff on Beyond3D, Overclockers, Rage3D, etc and I almost always had either use site specific search (dejanews.com or say, PHP BB's built in local search), or I had to add site:beyond3d.com for example.

And is a large amount of confirmation bias going on in these Google threads that appear. Some people make assumptions that their search patterns are representative of the billions of searchers ("argh, I searched for pytorch k-means and a GitHub wrapper site appeared!") and that their experience is a representative sample, while others focus only on what has gotten worse, and not what has gotten better.

What's clearly gotten worse is webspam. But while it has degraded the Googlee experience, it's not clear any of the other search engines are any better at filtering it out, except by luck because perhaps they don't crawl as many sites as often.

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@Philip-J-Fry β€’ 4 months

Oh man I'm glad I'm not the only one who adds "Reddit" to every search. If I want info about computer parts, software, games, cooking, fitness, etc. Then I don't think there's anywhere better at the moment. At least there's nothing better that Google serves up.

I'm fed up of Google returning blog spam, ads, and shamelessly rehosted content. I want real information by real people, not automated blog posts with titles covering every common search term.

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@skarz β€’ 4 months

Honestly, I append Reddit, Stackoverflow, or Stackexchange to probably 75% of my searches.

From my point of view, there's wayyyy too many blog sites out there full of crap content, meanwhile forum posts on these sites often yield results that are something I can actually do/use.

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@pdmccormick β€’ 4 months

I just have one question... does Netcraft officially confirm this?

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@rajup β€’ 4 months

If only I had a penny for every time someone says Google search is dying...

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@nullc β€’ 4 months

Too bad reddit has utterly sabotaged itself here.

The logged out views of reddit only show a couple comments from each thread, and then the pages are full of hidden comments from other unrelated threads.

So if I search for some exact text on reddit, google will often present an unrelated page that doesn't contain the queried text-- yet it does contain it: hidden. Actually finding the real thread with the text is a nightmare unless you know of some of the few reddit full text searches out there.

Sadly, even the broken logged out reddit interface is still often a better thing to search than google... but only in the sense that southpark's "IT" (spoof of the segway announcement) beat dealing with the airlines. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SK362RLHXGY )

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@kozikow β€’ 4 months

I remember when searching for vacuum cleaner recently. Google 1st page is 100% SEOers gaming search to earn money on affiliate links. On reddit you can find comparisons like this: https://www.reddit.com/r/VacuumCleaners/wiki/recommendedvacu... . That's a clear example of what article is talking about.

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@nwlinux β€’ 4 months

Google has integrated pretty much every useful tool that they can to keep users and create a monetized user profile. Between DNS and Google Fi, they have all of the data that they need. I've completely de-Googled my technology stack, with Neeva taking care of the search piece. Everything else is Nextcloud, NextDNS, and others. All of my de-Google substitutes are at de-google.xyz.

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@pictur β€’ 4 months

I think what kills google searches is seo bullshit. Even the worst sites with seo are now on the first page. In the past, SEO really forced quality, but now it's enough to make your website compatible with bullshit like amp.

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@trzy β€’ 4 months

This problem will become more acute as all-day wearable AR devices become mainstream and the state of the world is recorded and parsed by a distributed network of them. You’ll be able to check the quasi-real-time and historical states of a particular restaurant, pull up the exact menu that was being served yesterday, as well as reviews. None of this will be indexable by Google. However, Google is particularly well positioned to leverage their technology and resources to be a leading player in the market for such devices.

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@jdeaton β€’ 4 months

> Early adopters aren’t using Google anymore.

What are they using now?

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@drallison β€’ 4 months

February 16, 2022

Join live stream (4PM-6PM Pacific 2/16/2022)

https://ee380.stanford.edu

Speakers: Dmitri Kyle Brereton, Danny Sullivan

EE380 will meet online today, 16 February 2022 at 4PM Pacific

Speakers: Dimitri Kyle Brereton, Danny Sullivan Title: Google Search Is Dying

Yesterday, February 15th, Dimitri Brereton blog link was posted to Hacker News (news.ycombinator.com). The comment, Google Search is Dying, garnered a large number of comments and responses.

http://dbr.io made #1 on Hacker News frontpage. http://news.ycombinator.com as of 0:21 Pacific 2/16/2022 Google Search Is Dying (dkb.io) 3428 points by dbrereton 23 hours ago | flag | hide | past | favorite | 1489 comments

Today's EE380 is to discuss Dimitri's observations about Google Search. Danny Sullivan, Google's Public Liaison for Search will address Dimitri's concerns. Some additional panelists have been invited but are not yet confirmed.

Speaker Bios:

     Dmitri Kyle Brereton is a software engineer at Gem, and the founder of BlogSurf – a directory of personal blogs. He graduated from UCLA in 2019 with a B.S. in Computer Science. He has been doing independent research on the question of how to organize information on the internet since 2020. He is currently working on a search engine for blogs.


    Danny Sullivan is Google’s Public Liaison for Search. His role is to help the public better understand how Google Search works and to engage with the outside community to hear feedback on how search can be improved.

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@nwlinux β€’ 4 months

Google has integrated pretty much every useful tool that they can to keep users and create a monetized user profile. Between DNS and Google Fi, they have all of the data that they need. I've completely de-Googled my technology stack, with Neeva taking care of the search piece. Everything else is Nextcloud, NextDNS, and others. All of my de-Google sources are at de-google.xyz

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@lvxferre β€’ 4 months

>Google increasingly does not give you the results for what you typed in. It tries to be β€œsmart” and figure out what you β€œreally meant”, in addition to personalizing things for you. If you really meant exactly what you typed, then all bets are off.

In simpler words: it behaves like an assumer, and as an assumer it's prone to vomit stupid shit. Should we start treating it as an assumer then?

A shame that the "Google + β€œsite:reddit.com”" lazy hack doesn't work for me. I care about accuracy, not authenticity.

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@bbulkow β€’ 4 months

Google maps results are on their way to death. I was recently doing a search having gone down to a three block area, did not show the result - Google pulled out a few blocks and showed a category result there. There was a higher ranking category result in the block i remembered, i had to remove my search term and zoom in!

The problem is not ads, it is not even capitalism, is the requirement of our western capitalism to require constant growth. Doing what Google did 5 years ago, with the profits of 5 of years ago, should have been fine - but the markets demand growth, so companies have to pull into unsustainable territory and that wrecks the company.

Boeing is a great modern example.

No one ever really expected much of reddit. It could just do its thing. But now, spun off, it will have to relentlessly seek growth, and the counter is ticking for its destruction.

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@drawkbox β€’ 4 months

A major problem with search degradation is that lots of content is behind walled gardens now: apps, instant messaging/chat and video platforms that aren't as indexable like social video platforms, YouTube is pretty good about metadata to index. More content is behind paywalls.

Less and less is being written in blogs, sites and publicly indexable content.

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@j_d_b β€’ 4 months

I didn't know Danny Sullivan had sold his soul. Really though, Danny, honestly, people aren't searching for ALT text. They're searching for text.

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@freeflight β€’ 4 months

> TLDR: Large proportions of the supposedly human-produced content on the internet are actually generated by artificial intelligence networks in conjunction with paid secret media influencers in order to manufacture consumers for an increasing range of newly-normalised cultural products.

This strikes me as one of those explanations that gets very close to the truth, but then sharply veers off into fictional territory, which also makes is then trivial for the article to handwave it away with;

> This isn’t true (yet), but it reflects some general sense that the authentic web is gone.

What's true is that too many Google results are just aggregator bots reposting content from the largest news organizations. There are no "artificial intelligence networks" involved for any of that, that would probably even be an improvement by adding a bit of flavor to the samey content.

But it's very much just copy&paste, to such a degree that it feels like there's only a hand-full of news-outlets in existence, and everybody else just copies their headlines and articles.

In practice this leads to quite the extreme mono-culture when looking up certain hot topics, as the first page will be dominated by the same few articles, with slightly different headlines.

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@animanoir β€’ 4 months

I search Reddit because real people answer.

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@devit β€’ 4 months

I think Google should just remove all pages with affiliate links from its index (which of course includes detecting all the ways to defeat that like URL shorteners, redirect pages, JavaScript hackery, giving a different version to the crawler, etc.)

Every time you search for "best X" you'll find a page with low-effort copied or write-for-hire content design to get you to click on Amazon affiliate links as opposed to what you are looking for, which is an actual review by someone who is an X enthusiast, personally bought and tested all the options and is eager to share their findings.

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@CapitalistCartr β€’ 4 months

"Google increasingly does not give you the results for what you typed in. It tries to be 'smart' and figure out what you 'really meant'"

I miss Alta Vista. You had to provide your own thinking. I'd construct searches like: (word OR Word) AND (word NEAR word). I loved the NEAR command.

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@bozhark β€’ 4 months

Someone please make a search engine that actually searches Reddit well

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@thaway2839 β€’ 4 months

Google started occasionally showing me Quora results where I would have expected Stack Overflow ones instead. (There is absolutely no way I'm touching Quora for anything technical. Or anything, for that matter. At most I might use a Quora post to find links to something actually useful).

So now I'm using Stack Overflow search directly for programming related questions, which has eliminated 75% of my search needs in general.

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@ajmurmann β€’ 4 months

> You would have already noticed that the first few non-ad results are SEO optimized sites filled with affiliate links and ads.

The solution on a technical level seems so trivial. Lower the score for pages with affiliate links and ads!

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@acheron β€’ 4 months

Speaking of inauthentic shills, how much did this guy get paid by reddit? If there was really a time where reddit was a good source of authentic information, it’s many years in the past at this point.

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@1970-01-01 β€’ 4 months

Take this idea seriously: This is the "final form" of free search, and we will see subscription services providing relevant and useful links in the future.

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@novaRom β€’ 4 months

People use Google Search only because Alphabet pays a lot of money to OEMs to have it as default search engine.

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@jijji β€’ 4 months

Google went downhill when they changed the "Google Instant" algorithm from what people actually are searching for, to something more aligned with some leftist ideology based around what they hope people are searching for. This happened around 2015 [0], and was in full effect by 2017 [1].

[0] https://web.archive.org/web/20190627113146/https://www.proje...

[1] https://web.archive.org/web/20190627121520/https://www.theep...

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@ckmar β€’ 4 months

I am soft-launching unfluence.app in the coming weeks. It's live now, though not yet marketed.

It is a platform for finding and sharing recommendations within your own trusted network. I'd love to hear your feedback!

You can read more about it on the home page[0], from its inspiration, comparisons with existing solutions, to a down-the-road monetization model that aligns with the network.

It is being built by Kujo - a brand in the lawn care industry, and so is seeded with products and brands for that community. The initial launch will be within the lawn care community. However, the platform is community-agnostic and supports creating communities for any groups.

[0] https://www.unfluence.app

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@phreeza β€’ 4 months

Just wait until the people doing SEO now realize this and start astroturfing at the same scale on Reddit. It'll be ruined much faster and with less hope of getting fixed than Google.

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@gear_envy β€’ 4 months

My uBlacklist filter list has grown rather large.

I’ve (finally) come to the realization that most websites are trying to sell me something. It’s usually affiliate link spam, or the articles provide just enough info and then ask you to sign up for their newsletter or buy their ebook or subscribe to their service or whatever other predatory monetization bullshit they’ve implemented.

I get it, websites cost money to run and providing useful information for free is a bad business model. My issue here is that Google search rewards this spammy behavior in order to maximize cash flow. And this type of thing works very well on normal non-tech-inclined people so it won’t ever go away.

I dislike Reddit’s current browsing experience, but the value of the platform has always been its smaller interest-focused communities and the ability to access the opinions of actual real humans instead of content marketers.

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@JSONderulo β€’ 4 months

Agree - it's deteriorating. And that's probably why we've seen a bunch of upstart engines appear like kagi, you.com, several others.

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@notadoc β€’ 4 months

I see Google search decline in three stages:

- When they became ad obsessed where entire search results are filled with ads or YouTube recommendations

- Developed recency bias, aka if it's new it must be better, which has incentivized frequent content regurgitation rather than originality

- They became Woke, disappearing results that apparently aren't passing the Woke Filter and/or that don't align with political ideology/objectives

As for reddit, does anyone really trust reddit? Reddit is absolutely inundated with crap, spam, blatant marketing campaigns, political bias, and all sorts of screwy stuff. It's also highly manipulated, and no more trustworthy than Yelp, slightly more than Yahoo Answers.

Search is ripe for disruption but it's a tall order, and user/marketer generated crap like reddit certainly isn't it.

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@kderbyma β€’ 4 months

correction. dead. it's useless...even images....it's. dead.

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@teawrecks β€’ 4 months

What if it's not google results that suck, what if it's the internet? Reddit is (in theory) what we wish the internet still was: a bunch of loose communities with people sharing and discussing content, both original and not. The internet at large has become primarily different forms of ads. There was a time when the internet was littered with ads in popups, then they became banners on the side, now they are the content itself.

It's feels silly to wish there could be an open version of reddit because that's what the internet is. It's just that there's so much noise now that it's impossible to find the signal. At one time google was that filter to find the diamonds in the rough. But now they have no incentive to filter that stuff out, because 9/10 times, the rough is THEIR ads. We need a new filter that's not funded by advertising.

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@fomine3 β€’ 4 months

I found that Google sometimes returns very few results even though search word is common one. I suspected that so they can reduce their server resource. I'd like to pay better search result.

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@iainctduncan β€’ 4 months

oh man, on point. I literally just did a day of picking a new gas range and finally the best results were Reddit. Trying to search for information on through google and general sites was so infuriating. It sucks now.

I would seriously pay $10 a month for a search engine that worked really well and wasn't in the ad game. But I guess that's not a common stance.

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@billiam β€’ 4 months

The real Dead Internet Theory is not that bots make the content on the Internet, but that bots train humans to make their content for them.

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@yhoneycomb β€’ 4 months

Somehow I'm really surprised that I'm not the only one who adds "site:reddit.com" or "site:reddit.com/r/specificSubreddit" to my Google searches

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@belter β€’ 4 months

I was told then, not to use a direct Google search, but was a naughty boy and knew would be broken for a long time...

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=28224730

And you hope the rest will get fixed?

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@phendrenad2 β€’ 4 months

I think that Google Maps and GMail are also "dying". Google Maps has gotten very bad at picking an optimal route in the past year. GMail spam filtering is becoming worse. I think that Google and perhaps even Alphabet are putting resources into markets that they think will reap benefits in the future, and letting the areas where they have a dominant position run on autopilot.

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@zwieback β€’ 4 months

Not for work though, if I search "3 way solenoid valve" or "food safe stainless steel" I get good results. Sure, I have to scroll past a few ads but the cost of running the thing doesn't come out of my pocket.

For other stuff, yeah, Google is in pretty sad shape. I remember how exciting Google was when it was first created, those days are long gone.

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@awwstn β€’ 4 months

This post is on point, but the bottom section highlights a nuance that may mean Google Search is not in fact dying: Google remains the best way to search Reddit, by a longshot. As someone who searches Reddit multiple times daily, I have tried a number of Reddit clients and always find myself falling back to Google.

Perhaps this is where the entry point opportunity is...build a search engine for power users that effectively filters results to "authentic" content from reputable UGC platforms.

As an aside: the advent of GPT-3 is going to make it really hard for reddit mods to keep doing as wonderful of a job as they do today.

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@Aeolun β€’ 4 months

I don’t think it’s necessarily Google search that has gotten worse. It’s just that the internet has gone bad, and is filled with low quality garbage.

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@LtdJorge β€’ 4 months

I've used site:reddit.com many, many times, and I use DDG as search engine. The WWW is turning to shit, now only specific communities are worthwhile.

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@Dunban4 β€’ 4 months

This makes sense as platforms like reddit or this HackerNews are basically search results + social media engagement features sorting qualified opinions

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@cosheaf β€’ 4 months

It's already dead. Google mined all the links that were curated by the initial internet communities for all it was worth and turned them into profits for Google's earliest employees and shareholders. Now that no one is curating useful links anymore their search quality, unsurprisingly, is deteriorating. Without human curation there is no signal for Google to use anymore and whatever signal is there is just SEO spam that is optimized for serving ads. It's like an ouroboros eating its own tail.

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@foxfluff β€’ 4 months

Last night while doing a search, I found myself pondering the fact that recently I've been using DDG more than before.. and it's not because DDG has become so good, it's because Google has become so trash.

Ironically, only a moment later I noticed on an IRC channel I've been on for nearly two thirds of my life that someone just complained about Google giving nothing but SEO trash.

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@jsharf β€’ 4 months

Appending "reddit" to the beginning of search queries could get SEO'd away too if enough bots start posting to reddit :/

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@SZJX β€’ 4 months

Anecdotally, I got some scam crypto ad called "Bitcoin Era" in my GMail app just last weekend. The whole thing is laughably scammy. I Googled the name out of curiosity, and surprise! Almost every single result in the first three pages is a fake review encouraging people to "invest" in this BS. Only 1 or 2 results are actual reviewers who fight such scams and point out how stupid the whole scheme is, with comments from actual people who unfortunately got scammed. The whole experience seems to corroborate the points made in the article quite well.

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@sinyug β€’ 4 months

I moved to DDG a few years back and don't miss Google. While it is possible that Google might have provided similar results to what DDG did for the same query, I have noticed that when DDG fails to provide good results, Google fails with it.

And the author is right about appending the site name to the query (reddit etc). Sometimes, it is the only way to avoid the crap that the search engine would otherwise provide.

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@paulvnickerson β€’ 4 months

I'd go further than the article and say that Amazon marketplace is decaying for the same reason. Instead of SEO webpages we have cheap knockoff junk from questionable oversees sellers. If I want to buy anything these days, I search for best ___ reddit and then look for that exact item on Amazon.

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@sub7 β€’ 4 months

I wrote an addon called unfuck-google which they've now taken down 4 times.

All it does is force 'Verbatim' searches and sort news results by date which makes things better (but still not that great)

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@imglorp β€’ 4 months

The passive voice in the headline buries the lede.

What's really happening: Google is strangling the golden search goose for a quick meal.

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@XCSme β€’ 4 months

Does this mean that "traditional" advertising is becoming more powerful?

If the users can't trust Google to return relevant results, would they simply trust brand power and go directly to the websites they trust? (e.g. go directly to nike.com instead of searching for "running shoes"?)

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@stephc_int13 β€’ 4 months

I am pretty sure people at Google are reading this thread. I'd love to see their reactions :)

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@sleightofmind β€’ 4 months

Despite the assurances from the Google employee (Danny Sullivan) at the end of the article, I have not found quoting a phrase to work reliably, especially if trying to exclude the phrase. But what I have found to work is typing the quoted phrase in twice in the same search query. Weird, but so far, effective. And no, I don't remember what the searches were for. Wish I did. Not for a second am I accusing Danny Sullivan of dishonesty. I take him at his word. Quirks abound on the net.

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@Xcelerate β€’ 4 months

Their search may be dying but I’ve noticed that the β€œnew tab” page on Chrome mobile shows links to content that are particularly relevant to me.

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@keb_ β€’ 4 months

I've been doing the `site:reddit {my search query}` for years, and it's been great to be able to find authentic opinions.

In case anyone else does this and is tired of typing `site:reddit` all the time, checkout the Mycroft project for search engine plugins. I use one in particular[1] and alias it to `.r` in Firefox.

[1] https://mycroftproject.com/install.html?id=33343&basename=go...

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@busymom0 β€’ 4 months

I posted around 3 years ago how Google search results had become extremely unreliable. Searching for thugs like β€œReddit best hand mixer” and setting the date filter to be for example β€œlast year” would give me results from 8 years ago. This wasn’t exclusive to Reddit. Plus this used to work perfectly fine around 4 years ago. I remember when it stopped working.

Also programming related searches have now started giving me results of random shady websites which are copying results from stackoverflow and Google puts them at the top for some reason.

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@LordHumungous β€’ 4 months

Let me guess, no actual data on DAU, just subjective impressions about the quality of search results?

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@fbn79 β€’ 4 months

Ten years ago I was following many search query by Facebook (looking for an event, a place, a business ecc). That was not implied that google was going to die but: 1 - I know before searching which content source was the best to answer my quest. 2 - Google was (and it still now) the best engine into insert my contestualized query and reach quikly the right content. Far better than the internal website of the content source (facebook yesterday, reddit today)

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@aulin β€’ 4 months

Google is dying but appending reddit to searches is not the solution.

Product recommendations on reddit usually boil down to a couple of products for each type, the hivemind keeps recommending them and the process kind of self sustains without any chance for other valuable products to be even considered/reviewed/recommended or pass the upvote threshold to be noticed.

Technical questions sometimes have an answer much more times get you to a dead thread that didn't lead anywhere because the attention span on reddit is way too short.

Also reddit users are mostly US based, local communities aren't usually big enough to lead to something useful on localized searches.

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@amelius β€’ 4 months

Google had this coming.

At a certain point, good is good enough. At that point, it's a matter of time before the competition catches up.

Also, they let their algorithm degrade, making it even easier for the competition.

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@scrollaway β€’ 4 months

Ive been experimenting with Kagi lately. It seems very promising. The results have been fairly reliable at all types of queries except the ones where I straight up ask google a question.

Anyone else tried it?

https://kagi.com/

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@iamjbn β€’ 4 months

Thanks for this article. Adding to other "Google is dying" discussions that I have collected over time as part of my personal research: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1cSMY5wXSKhJdMxeJEvTUJ21e...

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@calbruin β€’ 4 months

What does this say about the valuation of Reddit?

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@shadowgovt β€’ 4 months

> What if you want to know what a genuine real life human being thinks about the latest Lenovo laptop?

I'd check Amazon reviews. When was Google ever the first tool of choice for product reviews? I don't remember that era.

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@crisdux β€’ 4 months

I identify with this so much. I use a range of search engines to fulfill specific needs. Examples below.

* Google - shopping, consumer oriented, up-to-date local content on restaurants and venues

* Google reddit - product reviews, product issues, programming, local "issues"

* Kagi - for informational, programming help, research, politics, anything controversial

* Bing - for video

Google is absolutely terrible for anything even closely controversial. Their algo is too bias towards approved sources and recency.

Another crazy thing, I'm starting to use Microsoft Edge because the feature set and performance is actually really good! I've even convinced other devs at work to use edge, and we're all mac users. The read aloud feature has changed how I consume information completely - mostly because microsoft has text to speech voices that I can actually stand. It's an absolute game changer.

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@Mudhiker β€’ 4 months

I finally have a reason to create an account.

I've been using Google Search since it was a cool beta site announced on Slashdot. Over the years I've built a career based on my ability to effectively search. I remember about ten years ago, people thought I had some kind of insane gift because I could immediately find ANYTHING. Not really, I just had an instinctive skill for creating effective queries.

Good search has been a huge part of my ability to develop software. I don't mean StackOverflow either. I learned to use Google to search Microsoft APIs and forums, as well as to dig up long obscure posts on the almost-dead languages and technologies I found myself supporting. Day by day, this is less and less possible. I'm losing a critical tool that has helped me be productive.

As an Autistic one of my strengths is feeling patterns in systems, and in the past few years, I've definitely noticed the garbage results described in this article.

Yesterday, my wife asked me if we have any cold meds. I said, "we have several, but let's look up interactions with your new antidepressant." I know from experience that all kinds of unpleasant side effects can arise from mixing these.

On her phone search results, there were none of the quality sites I expected, such as Drugs.com. Instead I had to crawl through a bunch of SEO garbage and psuedo-health to find what I needed. If she was doing this on her own, she might have clicked on something dangerously erroneous. The web is becoming increasingly hostile. (And don't get me started about the infinitely scrollable boomer ads that come up below a local news story)

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@emodendroket β€’ 4 months

I don't agree with the thesis. People are doing that because they trust Reddit to be a source of relatively authentic opinions, yes. But you're not going to search Reddit to find official Web sites, established news sources, things for sale, and the like.

The complaints given in the article feel a little bit like observing that and steering it in the direction of the same old complaints about Google not being good for technical search, something that just doesn't matter to most users. I'm not going to Reddit to get answers to those questions either.

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@mancerayder β€’ 4 months

Because the results are forced and for-profit instead of for-the-interest-of-information.

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@lelandbatey β€’ 4 months

The Dead Internet Theory reminds me of a minor bit of flavor from a Neal Stephenson book, Anathem. In it it's mentioned that this far future civilization (which has seen civilization broadly collapse from technology zeniths a couple of times) had to abandon their set of planet wide communication networks because people intentionally set up computers that would put out huge amounts of information, but all of it was information to mislead, manipulate, obscure, deceive, or convince you to pay money for something. This was done so much that effectively all information, and all actors which might share information, became adversarial on the broad internet, so it stopped being usable.

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@agnos β€’ 4 months

I had this exact conversation with someone yesterday, who wasn't aware of Google's "site:**" query functionality and expressed the same frustrations on not being able to find actually relevant content. It's simultaneously reassuring and disappointing that many others also rely on site-filtered Google to find information on the internet.

Site-filtered Google is basically the only way I search the web now. As many others have expressed on here, Google used to be such a good "gateway" to the informational web. Now the most relevant results are almost always auto-generated content.

I resort to searching specific sites like HN and Reddit as a safe place to get human content, but I feel this to be limiting in it's own way, almost like echo chambers. Are we past the Wild West days of the internet? It now feels like a dystopian reality where I'm constrained to certain pockets that seem relatively safe.

I believe Google used to allow a "discussions" filter on queries, which would limit your search to forums. I'm not sure why the functionality stopped being supported. The "Dead Internet Theory" is very real. Given the amount of bots and resulting distrust in information, there's an urgent need for some sort of conversational search.

A forum-only search filter is an easy place to start. This could also potentially be a good use case for some decentralized, blockchain-based trust network. If anyone knows of any ongoing projects in this arena, I'd be very interested in contributing.

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@young_unixer β€’ 4 months

Am I the only one that has trouble with language preferences being ignored by Google? Accept-Language HTTP headers seem to be completely ignored, but even Google account language settings are ignored sometimes. IP address seems to be more important to them.

When I connect from a VPN exit point in Brazil it only shows me results in Portuguese (even when I'm logged in). When I connect from my hometown in Chile it's mostly fine but I think it's still not the same as if I connected from a US exit point, even though I have US English as my preferred language everywhere.

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@giorgioz β€’ 4 months

I use site:medium.com when searching for technical intro tutorials. This is to exclude official verbose and robotic docs like the ones from AWS.

AWS docs have a LOT of content and words but they feel numb and almost meaningless, they say so much yet you read for hours and have no clue of how to solve the problem. It feels like reading a dictionary on *hammer* when you want to learn to use a hammer.

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@alphabetting β€’ 4 months

> Google search is dying because more and more people are searching for reddit.

They're not dying if the people are still using Google for their searches.

Reddit search is awful. They could try to make a Google alternative but search is very hard. #1 query on Bing is "Google" for a reason.

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@mastah88 β€’ 4 months

Already started using other search engines Google is useless now.

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@superbaconman β€’ 4 months

The biggest issue I have with Google is that every search is performed in the "now" context. This makes looking back, especially on political issues, basically impossible; There's no way to explore how topics have evolved or progressed over time. I don't mind google search for resolving technical issues as it works pretty well in this context, but the second you start to get curious and look for anything older everything breaks down.

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@ckmar β€’ 4 months

unfluence.app FTW. Search for recommendations in your own trusted network.

[0] https://www.unfluence.app

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@swayvil β€’ 4 months

When you search for something with presently political punch. And then do the same search on a different search engine. And see the difference in the results. See how Google controls what you see, to control what you think.

Yeah, fuck that fascist noise.

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@narrator β€’ 4 months

I wonder if spammers have somehow gamed the Google political controversy filter. I stopped using Google because their search results returned only things in agreement with mainstream talking points for anything remotely controversial.

If you search for "What countries are using ivermectin" on Google, you get the second link being a broken spam site (the kitchen sisters) and pages of results saying Ivermectin doesn't work. I wonder if the broken spam site figured something out to get ranked that high.

If you use duckduckgo or Yandex you get a whole page of relevant results that actually answer the question. The number of topics where Google refuses to return relevant results and instead focuses on talking points is very large at this point.

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@dionian β€’ 4 months

Used to use reddit long ago but left due to the inherent (if subtle) censorship.

However, I've been using site:reddit.com in google searches for years after leaving reddit as a user, mostly when I want to find more realistic opinions about certain products or solutions and I want to filter out marketing. It's served me very well.

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@darinf β€’ 4 months

This gets to the heart of of why we created Neeva.

A product that fundamentally breaks the misaligned incentives between serving results for you and serving advertisers. I have been at this for a long time and the freedom to innovate that comes out of removing ad-revenue is liberating.

Our team is constantly creating new and better features to push what can/should be expected in search such as FastTap that gets you results without sending you to a SERP, or enabling you to search across third party apps like Dropbox, or more useful info about the page you are on.

We recently launched a free and paid premium version with the goal of making it available for anyone to try it.

Are we at parity yet with Google? On some things I would say yes, on others no, but is anyone else? What I can say since joining is that the product and deeper query results get better everyday.

Barely six months out of beta and we are running fast, feeling like the old days when building Chrome...

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@TimLeland β€’ 4 months

Check out this site that will save you a few keystrokes when searching Reddit using Google: https://gooreddit.com/

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@fleddr β€’ 4 months

I want to share some experiences from within the particular niche that is wildlife photography and how it relates to species information. I've been querying such information for over 15 years.

Search for a plant species. You'll have the hardest time finding anything about the plant itself, results are dominated by parties selling the plant. Quite often not even the plant you searched for.

Search for a species of insect. Results are dominated by products on how to kill it or sensationalist misinformed articles about their danger.

Search for a species + location/country. Results include all kinds of stuff about the species (which is already poor, see above) but also simply forgets about the location parameter.

The above is a massive problem, because it leads people to believe that a species occurs in a country, whilst it may not. They then incorrectly identify the species on their photo. This error is then infinitely copied by others as it surfaces in search results, which many see as authoritative.

This still pales in comparison to the problem that is Google image search. You search for a species name but the photos returned more often than not are not the actual species. It's a photo from the same page as which the species name occurred on.

Not to mention the Pinterest problem, which absolutely grinds my gears. They get all the free search traffic for stealing people's original works. How the fuck can Pinterest rank so highly, it has no content and is never the original source.

It's hard to put my finger on the timeline, but all of the above has gotten dramatically worse during the last 3-4 years. It was definitely not always this bad. It used to kind of work.

You know what Google should do? They should directly feed from authoritative sources rather than scraping crappy content from bad actors. They do it with Wikipedia and I see no reason why they can't do it for other niches where high quality information is publicly available.

For the above niche, it's entirely solvable. Academics have open databases with species information that is trustworthy, not gamed, and authoritative. How about using it?

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@registeredcorn β€’ 4 months

I won't name the specific search engine I am using as a default, as I'd like to prevent it being manipulated for as long as possible, but I will say this:

Google is my second to third search engine choice at this point - never my default. Google search has, in effect, become the 2nd or 3rd page of Google Search results; you only resort to it when you are truly desperate, and have very little hope of it doing any good.

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@dredmorbius β€’ 4 months

A few years ago (2015), curious about where meaningful conversation might be hiding out online, I did a little experiment, making use of Google Web Search as it happens.

The process involved finding a set of search terms which might be expected to appear in more substantive discussions, or at least, the sort of discussion I'd tend to be interested in, and then see how many such occurrences there were across various sites, domains, TLDs, and the like.

The result was "Tracking the Conversation: FP Global 100 Thinkers on the Web".

The title comes from the list of terms I'd used, the Foreign Policy Global 100 Thinkers list, contributed by readers of that magazine (and I suspect curated by editors). That is, it's generated by a third party, reflects a largely refined audience, reflects a range of political and ideological viewpoints, and are mostly reasonably distinctive.

I approximated total page hits on a site (in English at least) with a search for the word "this".

And to proxy for more mundane comment, I chose to search for the arbitrarily selected string "Kim Kardashian".

This of course gave rise to the now-world-famouse FP:KK ratio. That is, the ratio of hits for the FP 100 Global Thinkers vs. "Kim Kardashian" on a given web property.

Another metric was FP/1000, which is mentions of the FP 100 names per 1,000 web pages (based on the "this" search results).

I chose roughly 100 websites and/or domains to search. This meant performing 30,000 cumulative web searches, a practice Google apparently take a dim view of, though performing one query roughly every 45 seconds or so seemed to work at the time. (Google's anti-bot defences have since become far more rigorous.)

The results were interesting and occasionally surprising.

Facebook had by far the most detected pages, 2.6 million at the time. Again, this isn't a precise count but a relative proxy.

Wordpress had the 2nd most FP100 results, and a density 10x greater than Facebook. This was when I realised that Wordpress in fact ran the sites behind a great many other organisations and publications, many of which are fairly high quality.

Metafilter had by far the highest FP:KK ratio at 32.75. (Compare Facebook at 2.10, and Twitter at 0.96.)

Google+, supposedly where smart people tended to hang out, rated only an FP:KK of 0.39.

I also looked at a number of mainstream and alternative media sites (the New York Times scored abnormally high, but that was largely through having one of the FP100 members as a columnist, mentioned not only on his own articles but in many others, Paul Krugman). Fox News scored predictably low (and many instances referenced the then Pope), but still higher than the BBC and Reuters.

Alternative media tended to rate higher than mainstream, but often focusing on a relatively small number of liberal thinkers, Noam Chomsky standing out in particular, also Krugman and Lawrence Lessig.

In education, what struck me was how much more content results appeared for leading private universities (Harvard, MIT, Stanford) than flagship public schools, with UC Berkeley especially paltry page count, though a higher FP/1000 ratio. University of Michigan represents better. I included a few European universities as well, which had modest results.

I don't recall why I threw Federal Reserve domains into the search, but this was when I realised that St. Louis is effectively the research arm of the system.

And I threw in generic and cc TLDs for good measure.

As mentioned, the reseach as conducted would be virtually impossible today, though there are now several quantitative searchable archives which report on the number of results across hosts and/or domains for various terms. I'd really like to be able to make use of those.

In the context of the past few years, refining searches to terms of more recent interest and relevance to information quality would also be fascinating.

https://old.reddit.com/r/dredmorbius/comments/3hp41w/trackin...

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@procinct β€’ 4 months

> Early adopters aren’t using Google anymore.

Can anyone share what they are using?

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@mrkramer β€’ 4 months

Although I don't use Reddit that much I must say Reddit is diamond in the rough; communities are super helpful and unlike Facebook it is not walled garden plus you don't have to use your real name. It still needs work and improvement but I really like Reddit.

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@serverlessmom β€’ 4 months

When google ended Google Reader it killed blogs and other self-hosted websites. Google killed the web and in so doing it killed itself.

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@Julesman β€’ 4 months


@dadboddilf2 β€’ 4 months

The Dead Internet Theory, yet another dumb far right conspiracy.

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@m348e912 β€’ 4 months

I add reddit to a lot of google search terms because I want to find discussion on the topic I am searching for. Most of the time I find an opinion, perspective, or more information on the topic I am looking for. Reddit is a lot of things, including hot garbage, but it's also a wealth of information.

Here's a billion dollar idea if anyone has the time and ability. Build a search interface that indexes tiktok videos and makes them searchable. To do it really well you might have to transcribe the videos.

Here's my VC pitch. Tiktok answers questions you never thought to ask, but if you can find a way for it to answer questions you do have, you have provided access to an obscene amount of interesting information.

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@NoboruWataya β€’ 4 months

It's interesting, and quite concerning, that Reddit has cemented its position as a key repository of useful information on just about everything just as its drive towards monetisation really kicks into gear. It's concerning because, as part of that monetisation strategy, Reddit is becoming increasingly walled off and anti-user. I am sure I am only one of many long-time Redditors who have vowed to stop using the site completely once old.reddit.com goes, and it's only a matter of time.

It's probable that a huge amount of useful information will soon become much more difficult to access, and/or diluted by stealth advertising, as Reddit looks to aggressively monetise its position. I'm interested to see if a credible alternative emerges and if there is any effort to move some of the existing useful data off the platform.

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@IncRnd β€’ 4 months

The article writer didnt' look carefully at the graph, which says in fine print at the bottom, "Y-axes are not comparable, charts show when* each had its own peak search interest. Data Source: Google Trends"

So, it is a mistake to assume that the quantity of the searches can be shared between the different graphs. Unless there is another data source that shows Reddit has the most searches, this is not meaningful. Actually, the graph is a Google graph, so everything on the graph is from a Google Search.

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@arnklint β€’ 4 months

Love it, same old paul graham propaganda, of course Reddit hasn’t peaked even if the graph resembles the one right next to it :) I think pg peaked some 5 years ago.

But the main topic, has google search peaked. Yes it has. The amounts of ads vs great relevant search results peaked some time ago.

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@thaway2839 β€’ 4 months

There is a fundamental change in Google Search and its purpose.

Google Search no longer is a Search Engine. It's now aiming to be an answer engine.

That may sound like a distinction without a difference, but in practice the changes are profound.

With an answer engine, your goal is to find THE 1 correct answer. So your algorithm consistently refines and eliminate low "accuracy" results. If you reliably knew that only 5% of users found a certain response useful to their query, in an answer engine you get rid of that response because it's clearly "wrong".

In a search engine, however, you retain that response. In fact, you signal boost it, because it clearly shows that even though there is another answer that is chosen by say 90% of users, the 5% usage for the 2nd response indicates that even if it may not be the correct "answer" to the query, it's of value to folks, and is related to the query being searched.

An answer engine eliminates serendipitous connections, because almost by definition those connections are not the answer to the query being asked. A search engine not only doesn't punish a serendipitous connection, it seeks to surface it.

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@kkoncevicius β€’ 4 months

On one hand I totally agree - Google is becoming unusable for any refined specific searches, if you use any SEO-enhanced keyword you mostly get nonsense.

But on the other hand I am thinking - Google is not stupid, they know what they doing. Maybe this kind of search is a good fit for the majority of the less-tech-savvy people, and only audience here on HN think it's bad.

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@consp β€’ 4 months

I actually use the term "forum" as an additive search term. It usually goes to domain specific forums which actually contain what you look for.

I also tried googling an answer to (an apparently common bug) in Windows relating to Bluetooth connections and I have not found any non generic answers anywhere in the search results no patter what I quoted or whichever term I added. Just generic crap, that same crap copy and pasted over and over and over again and non-specific bullshit answers from Microsoft itself.

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@dankwizard β€’ 4 months

It is only a matter of time until "Search term + Reddit" leads you to a thread with multiple, legitimate looking comments with varying degrees of upvotes and downvotes, and the entire thread has been ran by a marketing firm/search engine hit squad.

I too am guilty of trusting the Reddit concencus when searching, and if there were a few legitimate looking threads that had been planted I probably would have eaten them up.

Sure you get the occassional comment or link share, but I'm talking like 300+ comment thread carefully executed.

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@mkd1964 β€’ 4 months

"Google still gives decent results for many other categories, especially when it comes to factual information."

That is highly questionable and subjective.

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@mathattack β€’ 4 months

How much is this a broader Google issue? Ads are encroaching more on Gmail, Calendar randomly drops meetings, and Maps is now noticeably worse than Apple Maps. It definitely feels like they’re being run by financial spreadsheets now.

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@leephillips β€’ 4 months

Google could restore relevance to their search results by severely demoting or eliminating pages that contain any advertising from an ad network, especially adsense. Of course, they’re not going to do that, because relevance of results is low down on their list of incentives. The article is correct in pointing out that Google’s founders predicted Google’s demise with pinpoint accuracy.

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@listmaking β€’ 4 months

Many of these articles/complaints don't compare Google Search to alternatives (Bing / DuckDuckGo / ...), so it's not clear whether web search itself is getting "worse" (in the ways mentioned), or whether the issues are with Google Search specifically.

(For example, the article proposes the explanation that "The long answer is that most of the web has become too inauthentic to trust", which is about the web itself, not specific to Google.)

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@sriku β€’ 4 months

Some time ago, I overheard a conversation between my kids. The younger one wanted to find out about something on the internet (don't recall/missed what) and told the older one "let's ask Google" .. to which the older one (early teen) replied "Google is useless. It will only show ads and random links. Let's search Wikipedia."

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@csee β€’ 4 months

This is all so true. I append reddit to most of my google searches because I don't trust google anymore, and I don't do it in reddit only because their search sucks.

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@benreesman β€’ 4 months

I remember being on a call with the Bebo people like 2 days after that absurd buyout and asking sarcastically: β€œSo what color is the Ferrari?”

The answer: β€œYellow”.

Now you have the Battery.

Reddit is so friggin user-hostile that I don’t read most of the comments anymore: because I literally can’t. You can do a little browsing but the minute you’re trying to pay actual attention you get slammed with the dark patterns about installing the app or linking your gmail or both.

I hope it’s the management team that gets weeded out of the gene pool and not the whole site, because it was fucking cool at one time and could be again.

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@WaitWaitWha β€’ 4 months

Isn't Reddit slated for an IPO?

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@santhoshr β€’ 4 months

Google should buy Reddit

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@uberman β€’ 4 months

Google Rep: "You said in the post that quotes don't give exact matches. They really do. Honest.

Me: Google for "quotes don't give":

Top result, does not contain the given phrase

Second result, does not contain that phrase

This is literally the first thing I tried and I did a view source to be sure. They are lying to us and/or themselves.

Looking at the result, I would say 1/2 the results don't include that phrase including results for products on Amazon.

Clearly Search does not work they way this Google Rep believes it to work.

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@tediousdemise β€’ 4 months

Question for any person reading this: what is your favorite alternative to Google?

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@qzx_pierri β€’ 4 months

I'll re-post a comment I made about Google Search back in July 2020 because I believe it's still relevant:

"Call me crazy, but I've been using Yandex a lot more recently. Political FUD aside, the results are pretty good, and completely unfiltered.

It reminds me of how wild and unfiltered the internet was back in 2007. However, I wouldn't recommend it to "casual" users. Using Yandex requires a bit more common sense than Google, because malicious domains show up every now & then. For power users (99.99% of HN), this isn't a problem.

With all things considered, it's totally worth it. I never realized how censored Google Search was until I stepped away. As a grown ass man, I don't want anyone telling me what I "cant see" or attempting to define what's "acceptable" - The freedom to choose is intoxicating almost."

You can select a filter to hide any Russian results.

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@pcdoodle β€’ 4 months

I would pay for good results.

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@nunez β€’ 4 months

Finally, the article I'm happy someone wrote.

I've lost all faith in most search results. SO MUCH CONTENT is designed and tailored to rank and drive ad traffic, not to inform. This isn't the case with Reddit, since the capitalistic factor isn't there.

Yeah, there's a risk of misinformation from results from bigger subs, but posts from smaller subs almost always produce factual, high-quality content from actual people with no hidden agendas.

Example. I was looking for a french toast recipe some time ago. Searching "french toast recipe" on Google on mobile (in Houston, TX) yields four pinned results, one of which is from the Food Network (which might be okay, but they're also a huge content aggregator), amongst a bunch of recipes, each of which has a marathon of words before the actual recipe because ads gotta ad.

Instead, searching for "french toast recipe site:reddit.com" gives you a bunch of posts from people who asked the same question along with answers from several people, some of which contain links to recipes that didn't rank before (or are ONLY on Reddit).

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@valdiorn β€’ 4 months

Google used to be really, really good at finding exactly what I told it to find. Nowadays, it's turned into the yellow pages; sponsored content from businesses trying to sell me goods and services.

Can people suggest good alternatives or search patterns for certain categories of information or search types?

Some of the search patterns I currently I use:

* Youtube for product reviews and demos, entertainment, music and educational material.

* Google with site:reddit.com at the start for questions best answered by other humans; crowd-sourced answers, authentic replies from mostly real people.

* Google with site:news.ycombinator.com if I want to find "forum-like" discussion on topics I'm interested in.

* Google Image search with site:amazon.co.uk when looking for niche products I need to buy, because Amazon's search is so incredibly broken and game-ified.

What I'm having a heck of a time finding is technical content; long-form programming tutorials, deep dives into academic concepts (I do a lot of signal/audio processing and search for blog posts related to these topics), circuit schematics, electronic engineering content. These used to exist on enthusiast forums 10-15 years ago, but Google often no longer surfaces hits from these forums, both because the content is old and the forum model is dying. Reddit is the "replacement" but it plagued with low-effort "look at my thing" posts that help nobody.

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@tgtweak β€’ 4 months

We're not far from a publisher revolt against google - essentially if you're a publisher with good data, doing the legwork of curating and moderating user generated content, and making it discoverable... google is just cherry-picking your content and laying it into the search results in the form of answers and snippets and plastering their ads on it (or AMP-serving your content).

I don't think it's sustainable in the long run and the barrier of entry to make a solid search engine is lowering every year - there are several solid alternatives where before it was a unfunny joke to assert there would be a proper google competitor 5 short years ago.

I don't think Google is going to fix this, the fact that it has evolved to where it is today is a result of concerted and persistent product focus in that direction.

High hopes that we'll see a better-than-google alternative break out in the near future.

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@theyeenzbeanz β€’ 4 months

Google search has been next to useless for me at least in the past few years. Results use to be on the spot, and now I get wildly various results that have nothing to do with what I looked for. The biggest issue is it trying to substitute words which renders my terms useless. Then there’s also the quora answers showing first and most answers there are being paywalls now.

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@pipeline_peak β€’ 4 months

Who’s searching the web through Reddit? Is there something I’m missing here?

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@terrycody β€’ 4 months


@pmayrgundter β€’ 4 months

Maybe this is a good thing. Maybe it was inevitable that the maturing of the winners from web 2 would lead to its death and that is the stick that drives dev of the next stage. It's certainly where my interests have turned the past few years

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@keithnz β€’ 4 months

Hacker News is also becoming a replacement for google for some things for me, I'll just come here and search on some tech related thing which I think is highly likely been discussed on here to see what others think / first hand experiences.

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@gotbeans β€’ 4 months

I'm almost happy to see this for the wrong reasons. For the past few months I don't know how many times I've complained about the dire state of Gsearch.

For every single search, I have to consistently scroll one page down to skip ads and product matches ala "google shopping" belt. It's just insane.

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@1vuio0pswjnm7 β€’ 4 months

"Even the exact match query operator (" ") doesn't give exact matches anymore, which is quite bizarre."

Why not make this optional. Why not recognise that there are some people who may want to do searches using exact match.

Google could still provide exact match but default to "smart"/"assisted"/whatever search. Nope. No can do.

Because how would that support online advertising.

The web that Google promotes and encourages is not the best one, IMO.

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@vincentmarle β€’ 4 months

Sources for this article: Paul Graham, Michael Seibel, Daniel Gross and Hacker News.

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@romanovtexas β€’ 4 months

how long before reddit is also gamed by paid influencers or bots?

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@trop β€’ 4 months

There is no innate reason why a Google search on a subject should return high quality results. This is predicated on there being someone willing to write thoughtful, informative, well-researched content and post it on the open internet such that a search engine can monetize that content via user profiling and advertising.

There may have been a moment when enough people were willing to put up their writing/images/videos for free such that Google's search engine appeared helpful in "organizing the world's information". But that mission statement was is a smoke screen. Google didn't organize. The company, as a gatekeeper, profiteered off of the writing/images/videos of others.

The problem isn't that Google search algorithms are low-quality, nor that Google has been gamed by SEO. The problem is that Google has engaged in a scorched-earth policy of capitalizing on the work of others. Google created a secondary market in information, without funding the primary market -- which then withered. And now there is a tertiary market of SEO spammers capitalizing on the propensity people still have to think that a Google search will return the truth to them, gratis.

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@scher β€’ 4 months

Reddit is a great source of people's discussions and quality posts on various topics. When I tried to find people's pain points to automate collecting problems to solve(and now it's an advanced Reddit search tool[1]), I found out that niche forums are great places to collect them. However, it's difficult to find more of them, plus scraping the data is time-consuming(custom parser for a new forum). And, the most important thing, there are not so many discussions that one may find on Reddit.

What I like about the website, it's you can find a huge amount of subreddits, every one of them dedicated to a niche topic that people there are willing to discuss. They share opinions, actively engage in discussions, and help in moderating good content. Is there any other place like this? There are many situations when one still be preferring Google, but as for niche discussions I don't see any other good place to visit. Maybe it was Quora before, but now it's a spam place.

[1] https://olwi.xyz

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@mcbuilder β€’ 4 months

Reddit search can be hit or miss, but overall the content is higher quality than the numerous garbage quality articles that you will get for searching a broad term. You'll also often have access to a broad community and maybe wiki if you search a popular enough topic. Reddit really shines on niche topics though, like what capacitor do I need to replace in my 1996 CRT monitor. Often if there is any information to be had you'll get the best explanation through reddit, of course this doesn't apply for all things but it's good enough that I'm guilty of adding reddit to my google search terms more and more.

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@aaroninsf β€’ 4 months

I did not realize the extent to which I have come to automatically privilege Reddit thread responses when selecting among search results,

for all the reasons enumerated.

Wow.

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@bnralt β€’ 4 months

An important thing to realize, too, is that this is a problem that keeps getting worse. The article talks about product reviews and recipes, but it's been spreading a lot further than that. Recently I was trying to look up a technical error, and found a lot of web pages that seemed to be auto-generated with "How to solve [error_scraped_from_the_web]", complete with a list of generic things unrelated to the error (IE, "Step one: try turning your computer off and turning it back on again. This is usually a good first step, and you'll be surprised at how often...").

Likewise, I wonder how long appending "Reddit" will work. As others have pointed out, Reddit shills are already relatively common, and it's becoming increasingly common for bot accounts to create lots of random comments to appear to be human (such as finding a thread with thousands of comments, then copying and pasting the comment to another place in the thread or to another thread, or auto-generating a simple sentence based on other comments in the thread).

Sometimes the advertising hordes move so fast they kill something before it even takes off, like what happened with Clubhouse.

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@lhorie β€’ 4 months

The irony for me is that Google had a Reddit before Reddit was a thing, it was called Orkut and it was glorious. You could create communities based on whatever the heck you wanted and connect with friends and strangers alike through any twist on any topic you could think of.

But Google being Google, it didn't see the potential because Orkut didn't achieve global dominance (despite being the social media platform in places like Brazil and India at the time). Google's obsession with AI-fying the crap out of its business will likely end up being its downfall now that it's proving to be increasingly ineffective against the SEO-motivated players, who now have an enormously diverse toolkit to game the coveted first SERPs, from black hat to downright paying right into Google's pockets to get their way.

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@TremendousJudge β€’ 4 months

And the reason why these small communities are "more trustworthy" is moderation by actual humans. This is always the secret sauce. Google's biggest problem is that they think they can (and that they must) solve everything with automation, but any automated system can be defeated by a sufficiently motivated human.

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@fluorinerocket β€’ 4 months

Kagi

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@dtemkin β€’ 4 months

I think this is an interesting topic - for me it really highlights the problems inherent to making algorithms profitable. Often pushing them in one direction or another has really pronounced effects on their unbiased nature. I personally think PageRank is still the best algo around and there are not too many good copies. The other thing to consider is that allowing for selection of 'common searches' reduces server load and is computationally less expensive than processing the same search over and over. Also, the way people ask questions may have changed. I mean I know many people that use the 'omnibar' to go to a webpage they know the address of. Like searching google for 'Facebook' just so you don't have to type '.com'.

I remember the days of AskJeeves when your query literally had to be a question - that was very tedious. I am not anxious to go back to that if thats what a decentralized internet looks like.

But I do think we are on a precipice where the size of the company plays a huge role in getting noticed. If you want to stop this don't click on the 'ad' links in the search results. Scroll down until you see the page you want to go to.

@fxtentacle It occurred to me that Microsoft may have blocked the Google Crawler so that people have to switch to Bing. I am really not a fan of how much Microsoft is trying to force people into their ecosystem and are rapidly closing the doors. Took me two hours to figure out how to remove Windows Defender from a VM.

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@ChefGabe β€’ 4 months


@WillPostForFood β€’ 4 months

Ironically, Reddit search is terrible so you really have to use Google to do a thorough Reddit search. reddit + search term is a powerful combo on Google.

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@Datenstrom β€’ 4 months

Just an anecdote but I was shocked when I went home over the holiday and nearly everyone told me they use duckduckgo now. These are not tech people either, I am from a small rural town in upstate NY. I couldn't believe it and although it is a small sample size there must be serious problems with google.

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@tim333 β€’ 4 months

Counterpoint: No it's not dying -

Sales 2019 161m 2020 182m 2021 257m

>If you’ve tried to search for a recipe or product review recently, I don’t need to tell you that Google search results have gone to shit.

Not that I usually do but I tried for macbook M1 and apple pie and it gave me ok results - Tom's Guides and a BBC recipe

Competition - I don't really know anyone who uses Bing or DDG though I believe they are out there somewhere

Ok I sometimes stick reddit on the search which is fine because I like Reddit. I guess the ads are probably annoying but I don't see any due to uBlock.

I'm not sure why I'm the only one saying it's not dying when that seems to be what the facts suggest? Nostalgia for some mythical past when you got unbiased results for "best laptop" or something? Not sure really.

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@baby β€’ 4 months

That’s why I think reddit, facebook, stack overflow, and others will replace Google at some point. It makes more sense to search through user discussions than a register

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@westcort β€’ 4 months

This resonated with me: "The results keep getting 'refined' so as to suit the popular 80% of queries, while getting much worse for any technical or obscure queries."

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@tarkin2 β€’ 4 months

Google promotes advertisers. Reddit promotes shills. Popular platforms will be bought.

The problem is trust vs the appeal of corruptionβ€”that is, some people will always want to deceive the masses for profit.

At scale, reliable human trust only exists in democratically-policed communities, where authentic users control corruptible ownersβ€”something few platforms want.

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@cesarb β€’ 4 months

> Even the exact match query operator (β€œ ”) doesn’t give exact matches anymore

I wonder if this isn't because most people don't think of quotes as being the "exact match" operator, and so expect fuzzy matches. The former exact match operator (plus) didn't have that issue, and was a better match for the exclude operator (minus).

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@motoboi β€’ 4 months

I suppose this is meant as an advertisement of reddit as a search tool.

But I for one haven't, if a recall, correctly, ever done a search with "reddit" at the end.

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@rileymat2 β€’ 4 months

Example: search for worldle https://imgur.com/a/8ZjG9u5

Sure, I can use the instead, but how about I get what I did type?

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@kerogerokero β€’ 4 months

Google search is the dominant search globally.

What sucks is that they're spinning off traffic to their own services. But then again, nothing wrong with that. They own their traffic.

I've gotten huge gains from google alone in the past year, many going to my site (https://avsanpuru.com)

Nope, definitely not dying.

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@bastardoperator β€’ 4 months

I'd be happy to pay for a search engine devoid of ads and tracking at this point, only it can't be Google because that trust has been eroded.

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@DisjointedHunt β€’ 4 months

Why oh why can’t the author make a point without resorting to a sweeping conclusion drawn from an anecdote?

Google search is simply an indexed representation of the indexable web. If you’re seeing SEO spam, that’s a reflection of how the web has evolved thanks to the most popular monetization mechanisms available today.

Reddit is simply a great site for user generated (mostly) textual content. It is not comparable to a search engine . . The popularity of β€œ+Reddit” strings appended to the ends of search queries likely pales in comparison to the volume of overall search queries. One can investigate the differences through Google trends where one would see the string β€œtiktoks” beats Reddit this past year.

Articles like these full of self validating biases such as β€œMy Opinion of Google search is everyone’s opinion and here are some selective quotes to show I’m right” are childish.

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@edotrajan β€’ 4 months

odd how no one mentioned you.com - They solve all the issues mentioned in the link and offer features mentioned in the comments like surface content from reddit first

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@marco_yolo β€’ 4 months

i think once google made the decision to go from returning results you want to see to returning results you want to see ( minus what google and their political friends don't want you to see ) created the incentive to look for alternatives.

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@locallost β€’ 4 months

I have a slight contrarian viewpoint although there is some common ground. There is nothing technically wrong with Google's search, it's that the content online is not authentic anymore. And this is what people find on Reddit -- real opinions from real people. And the fact people append reddit to their google searches is a testament to the fact that Google will actually find it. And that Reddit's search won't, and I don't think it will be that easy for them to make a good search. If it's easy, I don't know why DDG gives me even worse results than Google. I tried, but for me it's borderline useless.

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@jeffwask β€’ 4 months

Yup, switched to DDG so I don't have to sort out 3 pages of bullshit for every search.

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@haoc β€’ 4 months

Isn't it just saying Facebook is dead?

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@praveenweb β€’ 4 months

My google search over the last two years has been primarily "site:http://reddit.com <search-term>".

Niche communities with valuable insights and anecdotes that cannot be found elsewhere.

Now I wish they do well with their upcoming IPO and beyond.

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@0xbadcafebee β€’ 4 months

Google's home-grown recipe metadata format, and a single WordPress plugin to create recipe blogs, are the reason you can't find a decent recipe on Google.

Google's search engine is, without a doubt, superior to all alternatives. The fact that it's full of ads and junk is a conscious choice. Google could turn all that crap off tomorrow, and it would go back to being the best search results. Nobody has invested as much money in accurate results as Google has, and nobody will get close for years.

Search is, itself, dying. Search is probably one of the hardest things you can do with technology. We've gotten to the point that there's just too much shit to search through in too many ways. We need to stop relying on search, and start curating knowledge. "That's impossible", you say; I direct you to Wikipedia.org.

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@TrackerFF β€’ 4 months

For whatever reason, Quora has been hogging up my search results for the past month or two. It happened suddenly, and now I'll have to use site:URL or similar to get the desired results.

And agree on the reddit thing. Their search engine sucks, and you're stuck with using search engines like google to find anything decent.

Edit: Should be mentioned that google still yields decent results if you're using quotation marks and logic operators - but for free text, it took a nosedive.

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@trainsarebetter β€’ 4 months

This is interesting, as someone with an e-commerce site selling pretty niche ev conversion parts(www.bratindustries.net), I’ve kinda ignored seo optimization….

Pretty much all of my customers come from the isolated communities I'm active in.

this is enforcing that fact that it’s more worth my time to be active in more communities, rather than push for ads and seo.

Resulting more information rich communities. so is this just pushing for information silos or adding more?

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@esics6A β€’ 4 months

Google is dying because people are searching Reddit using Google and the data generated to conclude Google is dying is drawn from Google search stats and trends.

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@xmly β€’ 4 months

Everything is slowly decaying(dying/chaosing) including everyone's body and the whole universe, that is called Second law of thermodynamics.

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@pixodaros β€’ 4 months

I gave up on Google search around 2012 or 2013 (I occasionally use some of their specialized engines such as Google Scholar, or use a Google search as a last resort). So this feels sort of like a post marveling that blogger and blogspot are no longer as popular in the USA as medium or substack, its true but not news.

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@agumonkey β€’ 4 months

I don't want to jump on a bandwagon but I've been somehow reluctant to use google more and more. It's just a tiny feeling but it's telling. ddg.. even bing.. something snapped.

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@code2life β€’ 4 months

I agree with this article, but I can't entirely agree that Reddit is a good alternative for a search engine. As much as I appreciate the content on Reddit, though, it's a database and a forum, not a search engine. I often find myself searching Reddit by either 'site:Reddit.com' on Google or, as of recently, using you.com, which I am positively surprised with; I'd say you.com search of Reddit is probably the best right now.

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@pdimitar β€’ 4 months

> Reddit is currently the most popular search engine. The only people who don’t know that are the team at Reddit

Hahaha. This has legitimately made me laugh.

The article is sadly quite on point. I'd add that Google is increasingly deteriorating for me during the last several months. It was actually still little better than now, a year ago.

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@sequoia β€’ 4 months

The circularity of this meme is funny to me, even if the article is fundamentally true: This article is very very popular on hackernews, indicating that people agree that google search results are bad. What sources does the author draw from? He cites opinions from, among other places, Hackernews and Paul Graham.

"Find an opinion popular on hackernews, restate it in a blog post, refer to previous discussion on hackernews as evidence" may be a lucrative strategy for accruing internet points!

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@northernexposur β€’ 4 months

I have absolutely been adding β€˜Reddit’ to my queries for 2+ years and waiting for this kind article to bring some discourse about shit google results.

β€œThis [AI-created content being widespread] isn’t true (yet), but it reflects some general sense that the authentic web is gone.”

It isn’t gone, but it is different. Reddit is essentially a site of blogs turned inside out. Each post produces individual comments that are often really blog posts tied to commentary/chat discourse. Problem is, each post and it’s daughter discussion/blog posts isn’t useful for continuous coverage of a topic (e.g. cooking). Thus the subreddits exist with quality control through mods that curate content.

Yet, something is missing when there is a single umbrella organization with power over these fief post blog chats. I don’t want to read archives from 2005, but it is the last time it feels like the kind of personal blogs I find here on HN were prevalent and searchable through places like Google. Each article is presented in the context of the user/owners wider work and enriched and enriching for being presented that way.

The β€˜authentic web’ of 15 years ago was better, more pluralistic, and more diverse in literary and artistic design when there were more β€˜online magazines’ in this way.

This death of Google feels unlike the way Usenet died. I was less broken up about that death when it happened precisely because the web offered a broader, richer landscape. What I Think we are being taught, though, is that perhaps USENET and the web should’ve existed together and been supported, since Reddit is just Usenet, after all, in many ways.

Google is like a former ritzy neighborhood that has been corporatized, had the blood sucked from it, is falling into disrepair, and now is ghettoized and awaiting gentrification, which will probably mean a return to the walled gardens of yore when they start charging for improvements (as in Youtube Premium).

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@sneeze2659 β€’ 4 months

Can somebody please recreate Google circa 2005-2012?

I'm pretty happy with the other search engines, but I do miss having a google profile that would feed me the correct kinds of search results. I refuse to believe that nobody knows how to do this (I don't) as Google was doing their indexing with commodity hardware on bread racks in the beginning. There have been scores and scores of swe in and out of that company.

I know that web crawling is hard, but we could use a few more options.

Is it inevitable that spam SEO and even legitimate applications like quora, stackoverflow, will dominate every search result?

Is it because of the "Deep Web" of content and information locked behind commercial, login required, and Web2.0 UIs?

Is it really over?

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@hankchinaski β€’ 4 months

ironically i find bing better than google lately - it feels less "spammy"/"ad ridden"

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@PaulHoule β€’ 4 months

I thought reddit died when people started posting those image memes.

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@ColinHayhurst β€’ 4 months

Is Google still a Search Engine? Or is it rather an Answer Engine?

Answers are more-and-more provided on what used to be SERPs, but now is too often dominated by answers on the page, ads, and big marketing budget SEO optimised landing pages.

We still believe in the value and power of discovery; call us old-fashioned but we focus on 10 blue links using an independent index. Your vanity search maydisappoint, and our ranking needs improving, but you will find often hidden gems and information rich sources. Plus we send you to those rather than demanding your eyeballs.

Informational diverity is vital. So we provide one click to get results from Brave, Bing, DuckDuckGo, Ecosia, Gigablast, Google, Startpage, Yandex too, as explained here: https://blog.mojeek.com/2022/02/search-choices-enable-freedo...

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@esics6A β€’ 4 months

Google is dying because people are searching Reddit using Google and the data generated to conclude Google is dying is drawn from Google search volume stats for labels and keywords available on Google and trends...ok.

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@dinvlad β€’ 4 months

> authenticity

> reddit

somehow these two terms don't go well with each other

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@ivan1783 β€’ 4 months

I've found a solution to this - you need to use the internet in any language other than English. You get much higher quality results that are not so full of ads and SEO and all of the other evil stuff which is going on. Its not perfect, but if you search for "pancake recipe" in French or German you have a much higher chance of being linked to some "old internet" style blog rather than some food.com bullshit.

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@JoeAltmaier β€’ 4 months

Why I use duckduckgo

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@skerit β€’ 4 months

> [Reddit] can’t be bothered to build a decent search interface, so instead we resort to using Google, and appending the word β€œreddit” to the end of our queries

That gave me a good chuckle, it's a daily habbit for me.

Seriously though: the search used to be even worse. I remember when they re-implemented it and made a bit thing about it. Wasn't it in collaboration with some third party?

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@riffic β€’ 4 months

don't append "reddit".

use site: operators, like site:reddit.com or site:news.ycombinator.com, et cetera.

edit:looks like I'm not alone here.

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@SleekEagle β€’ 4 months

Does this mean it's just a matter of time until Reddit faces the same problems that Google does?

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@raoa β€’ 4 months

Search for "carbon monoxide" on Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo.

Google serves you an entire page about carbon monoxide poisoning, and recent news stories about carbon monoxide poisoning. You have to scroll through a lot of junk to get to Wikipedia's entry on "carbon monoxide". Bing and DuckDuckGo do a serviceable job telling you about the substance CO.

You cannot search "carbon monoxide" to learn about carbon monoxide, and that is the issue.

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@progx β€’ 4 months

As a developer who use google (for convenience) the research results are getting worse. More and more aggregator sites appear in the search result without any advantage and google give a sh.t of it.

You need extra extension to block these sites from the search result.

Time to move on and use something else, but not google anymore.

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@jonnycomputer β€’ 4 months

I hardly ever use reddit, don't browse it, find its hints to install the app annoying. Its been so off my radar, posts like this keep making me think I must be really missing something special.

but probably not.

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@FpUser β€’ 4 months

While I do not disagree that google search has degenerated because of ads it still finds what I am looking for better than any other search engine. I just skip ads.

As for reddit - it is the last place I look for things.

The whole article reads as someone advancing the agenda without any real substance

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@codyogden β€’ 4 months

Disclosure: I'm the creator of Killed by Google.

There are a lot of good points here about why power users (i.e. HN types, technologists, scholars/researchers, etc) find Google Search frustrating, but it doesn't really provide a balanced perspective which would acknowledge that Google Search for the average, billions-scale user is an incredibly optimized, positive experience. For those users, Google Search is doing exactly what they want: providing instant answers to trillions of queries without making the user click or read anywhere else while making Google an absurd amount of money through ads. I'm not being facetious when I say that if you find Google Search frustrating, then you are no longer the target user of Google Search.

I've noticed that Google Search also provides too much weight on recently added/updated content than actual valuable content. A great example, while anecdotal, is Paul Graham noting that searching his quote on Google--`"Prestige is just fossilized inspiration."`--the first result is typically a third-party blog that is quoting him, not his own website where the quote was originally published. (Though he refuses to add SSL, which is why Google may be dinging his site.)

I, too, find Google Search frustrating for a lot of technical topics. The content ripping spam is overwhelming, even with technical topics. The past couple years, the proliferation of scraping sites that rip information from GitHub Issues/PRs/Discussions and StackOverflow information makes me incredibly angry and frustrated, and that is directly Google's fault for not identifying that spam and removing it. There is also nothing we as consumers can do because of Google's near monopoly on Search. We can switch to competitors, but it doesn't hurt Google's bottom line.

I have absolutely done the `${search query} "reddit"` 'hack' to find reading for my more niche queries--technical or non-technical. Reddit is a wealth of user-generated information, but it is typically a densely written answer and requires a user to comprehend that information. It can be easy to forget that the average reading level of a US adult is middle school level. That average user with a low reading level isn't going to spend their time trying to read paragraphs of text in order to both discover and understand an answer.

tl;dr Google Search is only dying for "us," not for the more profitable "everyone."

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@disease β€’ 4 months

Great timing! Just today I did a Google search in an attempt to figure out why my skin surrounding some recent scar tissue had a yellow discoloration. Didn't find my answer until the third page!

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@josefresco β€’ 4 months

Google "died for me" not when I first switched to DuckDuckGo but only after periodically switching back to Google to check "if I was missing anything" and finding only ads, irrelevant knowledge boxes, and garbage organic results.

The only thing Google still does better for me is provide "Stack Overflow" results.

DDG/Bing might not be perfect but it works for 90% of my web searches.

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@supernova87a β€’ 4 months

Maybe this anecdote illustrates the point "even quotes don't get you exact results any more."

When I search Google Maps for hotels or restaurants, it offers filters to apply to the results (price, quality, stars, etc).

If I apply the filters I want (4.5+ review, $$ price), the map continues to show other non-filter-passing businesses, cluttering the screen. The reason (given by the side panel list) is: "Here are some businesses that don't quite match your search".

*Well if I wanted to see those, Google, I wouldn't have applied the filters!*

All you've done is cluttered up the map which was the main thing I wanted to be able to see the location and distance of things exactly matching my criteria. If I wanted to get all the rest I would've removed my filters.

Makes me feel that Google is trying to apply too much suggestive content for reasons other than what users want, and that someone is causing Google to lose its way. (I know, it's just a small example.)

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@allochthon β€’ 4 months

There's disincentives for Google to do the right thing, for sure, e.g., ignoring quotation marks. I assume this is so that you never see a blank page (and so ads can be shown, which would be weird to see if there were no other results).

But, as the author mentioned, a lot of the problem is the inauthentic content on the internet that Google must sift through and filter. What makes Reddit still not half-bad (although this quality is under direct attack by brigading and troll farms) is that you have user-generated, user-curated content and a not-too-bad voting system.

In this context, I think a future iteration on search engines will be hand-curated results, under actual human-curated topics (rather than fuzzy machine-learning-inferred ones). Think of a huge directed acyclic graph of topics that goes down twelve levels or more in some cases. If you have enough people involved in this kind of crowd-sourcing, I think it can be made to work.

A challenge that arises in this context is how to prioritize content added to the wiki search engine by good contributors, and deprioritize content added by the content farms. I think this can be managed with a combination of well-conceived reputation management and providing users the ability to specify other users (people who seem trustworthy and whose tastes are solid) whose preferences will then be used to weight search results.

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@Taylor_OD β€’ 4 months

Seemingly unlimited/endless content but there's nothing worth watching on... Where have I seen this before?

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@zuminator β€’ 4 months

Another aspect of Google that completely bugs me.

Put in a search term.

E.g. "fat wallet"

"About 22,100,000 results" it says.

Click through to the last page.

"Page 6 of about 198 results (1.03 seconds)"

So out of 22 million results, I can really only see 198?? That can't be right. Wait, it says, "In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 198 already displayed. If you like, you can repeat the search with the omitted results included."

Yeah, that's what I'd like, I want to see all the results. CLICK.

OK, it takes me back to "About 22,100,000 results," so far, so good.

Click through again to the last one.

"Page 10 of about 22,100,000 results"

Ok ok. Let's keep going. CLICK.

"Page 11 of about 415 results."

That's it.

No more results shown.

What happened to the other 22,099,585 results????

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@gsibble β€’ 4 months

Just throwing my weight behind my agreement and belief that Google has gone way downhill in the last two years to where if there was a good alternative (and no, DuckDuckGo is not a good alternative), I'd use it in a heartbeat. Google as a search engine sucks now.

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@ryukoposting β€’ 4 months

I was skeptical when I started reading, but then I started thinking about it, and 99% of the time I use Google (actually Startpage, I don't use Google directly), I already know what websites have the content I'm looking for. Those sites just have piss-poor search tools.

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@BeFlatXIII β€’ 4 months

Another reason why adding site:reddit.com is so popular: Reddit's search is even more broken than Google and is useless for searching its own site.

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@privacyonsec β€’ 4 months

in one of the keynotes, didn't the current CEO said that Google is transitioning from a search to an Answers Engine ?

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@hnick β€’ 4 months

> I work for Google Search, passed your feedback along, thanks. You said in the post that quotes don't give exact matches. They really do. Honest. Put a word or phrase in quotes, that's what we'll match. If anyone has an example where they feel it doesn't, please let me know...

"cheese bacon bread" seems to match "cheesy bacon bread", "cheese & bacon bread", etc. I'd link some example results but don't want to feed the SEO beast. I visited the sites, I viewed sources, and did not find that string. I assumed what is happening in the 2nd case is that "and" is treated like "&" and both are "punctuation" in their model. And in the first, cheesy=cheese.

While it's a trivial example and might be what most people want, it doesn't help with more technical topics. And recipe blog spam is a particularly sore point for many searchers.

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@sciolizer β€’ 4 months

> Large proportions of the supposedly human-produced content on the internet are actually generated by artificial intelligence networks in conjunction with paid secret media influencers in order to manufacture consumers for an increasing range of newly-normalised cultural products.

> This isn’t true (yet)

It's at least partially true:

https://www.jasper.ai

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@endisneigh β€’ 4 months

I can’t this article seriously:

> Why are people searching Reddit specifically? The short answer is that Google search results are clearly dying.

What’s the connection between Reddit being searched for and Google dying? Read the article, doesn’t make sense.

Might as well say that GitHub is dying because Discord is where many projects have community discussions.

People are always saying Google is dying or search results are getting worse. How many sites existed in 2010? How many in 2022? How prevalent was SEO and content marketing then vs now.

The fact of the matter is that the web itself is becoming more littered with spam. Literally on HN there was a thread on how to make 50K a year and one person proudly stated they did so by using GPT-3 to create spam related to content they were selling.

Inherently any search engine with programmatic results can be gamed programmatically.

The chart in the article is easily explained by the fact that it’s hard to search those platforms using Google and that the internal search is more useful.

Reddit search has always sucked.

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@u2077 β€’ 4 months

100% agree. Google search is only useful for searching other sites that don’t have good search. Online communities have better results. If there was a search engine that curated results from various groups across social platforms, I think that would be useful. Especially for technical information or anything else with a small group around it.

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@micromacrofoot β€’ 4 months

One thing that's worrying me that isn't covered here: a lot of this low-quality SEO content is constantly regurgitated to produce... low-quality SEO content. Content farmers use content from Google results to write content for Google results. Google is getting devoured by loops like this.

I'm not a native English speaker, so at one point I was trying to find an authoritative source for an old idiom... and the entire first page were all different websites regurgitating the same inaccurate text! They did no independent verification of their own.

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@intrasight β€’ 4 months

I still use Google, but search specific sites. Usually Reddit and Stackoverflow.

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@randomopining β€’ 4 months

I literally search everything with "reddit" appended. It's pretty amazing how the "answers" part of the web has turned to an L2 network.

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@jordanmoconnor β€’ 4 months

I find Google to be the best way to search other websites (which is the conclusion I get from reading this post).

People use Google to search Reddit, not Reddit.

I have found Google to be the absolute best way to search for tweets on Twitter. Twitter search is attrocious.

I do search for things on YouTube directly, but that's still Google Search.

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@time_to_smile β€’ 4 months

The weird, possibly beneficial, consequence of Google becoming increasingly awful is that I've begun aggressively building my technical book library again.

I've always been a fan of technical books, but would almost never buy classic reference texts because if I just needed to look up an idea or concept real quick I could usually find an adequate explanation online.

The problem is that content marketing in my domain (stats/data science) has gotten so bad that nearly all of the results are Towards Data Science and similar garbage articles, written by relative amateurs that were rushed out to get ranking for a longer tail of search terms. The number of times I've researched a topic I know well but want to understand some nuance of only to find results that are at best naive in their understanding and at worse outright wrong is astounding.

Now whenever I see any recommendations for good books I buy them, even if I don't have time or immediate interest in reading them right now because I know that if in 6 months I have some relevant question I'm likely to find the wrong answer online.

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@AdamJMarsh β€’ 4 months

From a Digital Marketer who has worked with search engines since 2007, and can remember using Google as a primary student in 1998/1999, Google has made some incredible leaps....

Their search results however are getting worse, whilst also being exploitative. I'm a big believer in an open, free internet, but ripping off content to display on the home page isn't justifiable except for a monopoly, wanting to consolidate as many impressions onto their ad laden serps.

Google Flights imo was the start of Google's greed in unfairly competing against content platforms & aggregators. Pretty big conflict of interest there.

They're really stuck with Google Ads and dependent on it for a lot of their revenue. This will only get worse.

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@LoveGracePeace β€’ 4 months

We need a Google Search Engine Filter Engine. A site that frontends Google, does a quick peek at the first 10 results and if they are infested with higher than X percentage of Google Ads, exclude them from the results.

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@jklinger410 β€’ 4 months

We're broaching on misinformation from the HN community where people say something is true simply because they want it to be true. This article isn't adding anything, but it will do well on HN, because it agrees with the community.

When you start your post with "Reddit is currently the most popular search engine" you are already well outside the realm of fact.

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@pg_bot β€’ 4 months

Reddit is growing and their search is unusably bad. It's easier to use google to search for stuff on reddit than to use reddit.

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@unobatbayar β€’ 4 months

Wait, really? I still want to work for Google.

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@randomsearch β€’ 4 months

Contrarian opinion ahead: when everyone is skating in one direction, I try to look the other way to see what they might be missing.

With the rush to ML and AI in search and recommendation systems, I think there are huge opportunities in curation.

Curation is the opposite of where tech has been heading. Why? β€œCuration doesn’t scale!” People cry, but this ignores two important points: (1) it can scale via the crowd, and (2) it doesn’t necessarily need to scale to be valuable.

Regarding (1), others in this thread have suggested website up/down votes. Just one example of a scalable system. There are so many sites I’d tag as spam for my friends to avoid if I could. It’d be great if we could work together to eliminate the code spam sites, for example.

Regarding (2), I would happily take book recommendations from someone like PG even though he’s only read a tiny tiny tiny fraction of all books written. Critics don’t read everything, but they use their experience and social graph to find great culture. I’d value a domain expert’s opinion on great books over any number of Google queries.

I feel like there’s a massive opportunity here to β€œtake a step backwards” towards curation and the high quality content it has traditionally provided. There are dozens of huge curation startup opportunities waiting for those willing to go against the wind.

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@whywhywhywhy β€’ 4 months

Still in shock that they killed reverse image search and replaced it with some useless AI tech demo.

It used to use the actual image and be able to provide context from where that image was found elsewhere. Now it seems to throw the image at AI and the AI will go "Oh that's a street" then they will just show you streets with similar colors as the image you put in.

Completely useless for trying to locate what movie a screenshot is from, or even similar images because the category searching is too general. Yandex image search completely blows it out of the water by being nothing more than a modern version of 2010 era Google Image Search.

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@msluyter β€’ 4 months

It seems like we're approaching what I call the "dismal equilibrium." This is the idea that any free site/service/app eventually will have to monetize itself in order to remain free, inevitably in a way that degrades the experience. Ads, typically, "pay to win" for games, or perhaps even calls for donations for public radio. An equilibrium is reached when further monetization isn't possible without driving away users; quality is just barely tolerable, hence, "dismal."

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@AtNightWeCode β€’ 4 months

I could live with all the nonsense SEO hacking results and the ads if it worked. But today it is like it is misinterpreting everything you put into it like some bad comedy movie.

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@aroberge β€’ 4 months

Up until a month ago, when I searched Youtube using the "latest" filter, I could reliably get the latest videos uploaded that were relevant to the search terms. Now, it shows a couple of recently uploaded videos followed by many which are for weeks ago, while I know that many more had been uploaded in the recent days.

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@matthewmorgan β€’ 4 months

Google isn't just indifferent to search, it's now hostile to it. Removing visible dislikes from youtube being the main example.

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@jaimex2 β€’ 4 months

Wow, the response from the Google engineer really highlights that they're blind to the problem.

It's only a matter of time before a new Search engine comes along and takes over the lead.

I resort to Bing and Yandex more than Google these days due to all the reasons mentioned in the article. It's not just search though, Im consistently finding Bing Maps has newer satellite images and streets that Google doesnt know about ( thanks to OSM )

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@domthedev β€’ 4 months

I haven’t read any comments. That being said I think a lot of what this is saying is anecdotal. Anecdotal evidence is good in this case because it would probably be hard to get good data on what this is trying to prove. I think some of the problem is that most of the people who google something don’t care that they use google or even think about what they type in. People who are using quotes to google things I would already put in the advanced category of googling. I google things every day for programming matters and most of the time it’s good with the short answers it pulls from SO or bringing up documentation as a first result. But not once have I used the quotes function to google something. If the quotes not matching was a big argument of his and then later revises that with β€œoh the quotes do work… for now” I don’t see why this has so much traction. As for Reddit being so popular I think needs more of an explanation. I think one large factor is Wall Street bets. That probably brought a lot of people and kept them. And beyond that people who heard about WSB had never heard of Reddit and downloaded it and kept using. Reddit is nothing more than a forum. Is there a fine line between a forum and a search engine? You tell me.

In the mean time just learn how to google. I google obscure questions about Flutter and specific flutter packages and google does fine. If not then I switch to duck duck go.

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@sebastien_b β€’ 4 months

The thing that annoys me the most about Google's results is how they're intent on giving you any results, instead of actual useful results. Too often I'll type in something, and it'll give pages and pages of results that aren't what I'm looking for.

For example: searched something that "didn't have many results" - this is indicated (but somewhat hidden) at the top of the results, but isn't made visually obvious - well, I don't go looking for that to know if the results were actually what I searched for; if it gave me results, it's natural to assume the results were actually relevant.

But instead, Google decides to be absolutely less than useless by giving me back a bunch of irrelevant results, instead of simply returning NO results because there were none.

This is the main reason I've completely given up on Google.

Edit: another annoyance is Google altering your search terms - "searching for YXZ instead", or even worse, excluding some terms in the results (and having to later click "must include YXZ" which, again, is hidden within the results). This is particularly infuriating when looking up API terms.

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@mywaifuismeta β€’ 4 months

I have been appending reddit to my queries for 1-2 years now. I agree with everything in the article, but I believe that the whole AI trend had a larger negative effect on Google than more ad optimization.

Just like the gmail effect, teams internally have been pushing to integrate AI into search results. Not necessarily because it's the best thing to do, but because someone needs to get promoted. They can't just leave search as it is.

Of course, "best thing to do" is meaningless. What are the metrics? Getting reliable metrics and running big A/B tests is really hard if you have to measure fuzzy things like user satisfaction instead of concrete metrics like CTR. But that's really what's going on here. Initially, users may have been clicking and interacting with results more, but after realizing that those results are not actually what they wanted, or are SEO spam (hello Medium), they become disillusioned and append reddit to their query.

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@llaolleh β€’ 4 months

Another reason why is the Google founders have sailed into the sunset. The founder ethos is gone when they founders are no longer there.

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@bfrog β€’ 4 months

I miss the old school yahoo directory, in part because it seemed to be curated by real people like a library would be. Or web rings where there would be humans curating content. In a way, Reddit is a crowd sourced content curation site with human curated topics. No wonder I find almost everything I need there, and Wikipedia.

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@smcin β€’ 4 months

Google still gives decent results for many other categories, especially when it comes to factual information.

Increasingly it doesn't. I posted a similar finding earlier yesterday: Google search relevance fail: result for β€œAfrica longitude” https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=30337563.

- For that query, Bing's image results are much better, but the #1 site hit is still the exact same SEO-manipulated auto-generated e-ecommerce page, not any reputable reference source like we might expect. And that is a basic query.

- I tried the query on Reddit, the results are a disorganized jumble.

- So, the surprise winner on that query is... Bing. Or "none of the above". Back to atlases and encyclopedias.

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@Matrixik β€’ 4 months

I would love to have search engine similar to Google (I search in Polish and English, duckduckgo is no good for this, I tried) with ability to have favourite pages. If there are result on any of this pages from my search always show them in top 3. It should not matter how old are this favourite pages are or when last time they were updated or if they have low amount of reference links to them. They are my favourite so show me results from them on top. And they should still show in my results even if Google or any search engine delist them for some boggus reasons from default results (they are my favourite so I veted they are good for me).

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@jrmg β€’ 4 months

It's interesting that on the Technology subreddit, the majority opinion seems to be that Google Search works well.

I'm not sure how anyone can come to that conclusion unless they were very new to it - people must b looking for something that's very different than what I look for.

https://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/st9ri1/google_s...

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@clove β€’ 4 months

Can anyone help me with this? I searched Google with "email" in quotes and got this site:

https://www.austintexas.gov/department/police

But when I ctrl+f "email" I get no results. How does this sort of thing happen?

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@NoblePublius β€’ 4 months

Google is still the number one driver of users to my business β€” by farrrr β€” but non Google sources (mostly DDG) β€” have more than quadrupled in the last year.

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@filt β€’ 4 months

This is so true.

Google search has become so clogged up with shit. It's time I switch to DuckDuckGo.

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@brimble β€’ 4 months

The other day I was searching for a specific kind of jewelry and realized I don't know of a search engine that can do what I needed, which is to just find good results for my search. Searches for jewelry-related keywords triggered Google to go 90+% ads, and their results (and other search engines' results) were so junked up with spam and the same couple sites over and over that they were useless.

We're back to the Web needing a search engine.

[EDIT] I should add that the ads Google was showing me didn't even do a very good job of showing me the very specific kind of thing I was looking for, even though there must be thousands of stores around the world selling pieces that fit the keywords. The ads were for jewelry, but most of them weren't anything like what I was trying to find. In this case an entire page of ads but all from different sites and mostly the thing I was looking for would have been better than nothing, but it couldn't even do that.

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@cs702 β€’ 4 months

Some years ago, I read an autobiography by Jim Clayton, the founder of mobile home manufacturer Clayton Homes, now a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary.[a]

One anecdote in the book stuck with me: In the early days of the business, Jim kept getting pestered by salespeople from the Yellow Pages, who told Jim he would benefit from advertising in the Yellow Pages to attract new customers.[b] Jim decided to run a test. He ordered and installed a new red phone in the office, ordered a new phone number just for the red phone, and bought a big ad in the Yellow Pages listing only the line that rang the red phone. The ad ran for a year. No one ever called the red phone. Jim never again spent a cent advertising on the Yellow Pages.

By then, the only consumers and businesses who actually searched the Yellow Pages for products and services were those who didn't have a choice, e.g., out-of-towners needing a plumber who couldn't get the name of a trustworthy plumber from a trusted neighbor.

As regards Google, as its search results and rankings become less trustworthy, more and more people will stop using them to find products and services. Other platforms will benefit, like Reddit. And advertisers will follow, as always.

--

[a] https://www.amazon.com/First-Dream-Jim-Clayton/dp/0972638903...

[b] The Yellow Pages were in essence a low-tech printed-paper version of the search business. Businesses paid to advertise in a thick yellow book, and consumers and businesses searched the index of that book to find products and services. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_pages

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@roansh β€’ 4 months

With uBlock, the web is a different place.

Did not realize Google shows these many ads!

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@honkycat β€’ 4 months

The other day I was trying to find a good website for MTG deckbuilding on google.

It was so astrotufed. I could not find anything other than blogspam.

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@gorbachev β€’ 4 months

It feels like Google has transitioned the same way as news has transitioned to entertainment, just 20 - 30 years later.

They found, just like TV executives, that there's more money in shoveling drivel to masses, than actual information to a few.

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@underwater β€’ 4 months

I think that Google's monopoly and their worldview that everything is data to be mined has created a feedback loop that killed the web of old.

The web was originally very social in nature. By linking to another page you spent some social currency to lift up others who were worthy. You, the other author and the audience all understood the social contract enshrined in a link. Google rejected that model and successfully changed the web to be a place where Google simply directed people to their final destination.

SEO became first possible and then necessary. The audience for hobbyists and anyone who can't pour money into optimising their Google results has dried up. The nature of Google search results undermines whatever opportunity the author had to build a relationship with their audience. Google reminds you that this is all an impersonal transaction: this page has the recipe you want, it lets you buy a product, or it answers your question. The value of this connection can by quantified as unique visitors, bounce rate and time on page.

Intertwined webs of relationships between pages have been replaced by a graph where the only edge that matters is the one that connects you to Google.

With the social dimension of the web undermined, and the audience siphoned off to the big, commercial, operations, it makes sense that creators migrate to platforms that will give them an audience. It is not that Google results are getting worse, it's that Google has accidentally killed the web as a source of valuable data for them to mine.

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@softwarebeware β€’ 4 months

Some really good thoughts here. I'll summarize the ones that hit me:

- "Why are people searching Reddit specifically? The short answer is that Google search results are clearly dying. The long answer is that most of the web has become too inauthentic to trust."

This is it for me exactly. I search for the following kinds of things on Reddit exactly because results on other sites aren't trustworthy: Reviews are secretly paid ads. The "best" recipe for pancakes is only what's trending on instagram right now. The latest conditions on mountain bike and hiking trails are being shared inside communities like Reddit but not on the web. The same for trending programmer tools.

- "It is obvious that serving ads creates misaligned incentives for search engines..."

What I'm shocked by is that Google somehow maintained a balance on this for so long. Well, at least a good enough balance that people still use it primarily.

- "Google increasingly does not give you the results for what you typed in. It tries to be β€œsmart” and figure out what you β€œreally meant" ..."

This is the most annoying behavior because I really mean what I write.

- "There’s a fun conspiracy theory that popped up recently called the Dead Internet Theory..."

I hadn't heard of this. Now that's some sci-fi level of conspiracy but in today's world it seems totally plausible.

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@jedwhite β€’ 4 months

There have been many interesting threads recently about the decline of Google's search quality here on HN. There's zero doubt search results are getting worse, and that ads and spam are the cause. But Google's financial performance has been going from record to record. So there is a huge disconnect building in the market.

Each thread has had some common themes, but what's surprising is how different the problems discussed are. Here are a few of the best recent discussions:

Google no longer producing high quality search results in significant categories (twitter.com/mwseibel):

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=29772136

Search engines and SEO spam (twitter.com/paulg):

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=29782186

Ask HN: Let's build an HN uBlacklist to improve our Google search results?

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=29794372

DuckDuckGo Traffic - with spam discussion

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=29852783

Is Google Search Deteriorating?

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=29886423

Ask HN: What's Up with Google?

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=30031672

Tell HN: Google doesn't work anymore for exact matches

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=30130535

For some searches the whole screen on Google is now ads https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=30213110

Disclaimer: I'm working on a search startup, so I have a clear bias, but one of the main reasons I am working on a search startup is because Google's results are clearly getting worse.

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@randerson β€’ 4 months

Welp, now that the secret is getting out, I guess we can expect Reddit and HN to be taken over by SEO companies.

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@vernie β€’ 4 months

In the tweet claiming that Reddit is unique the Instagram chart looks about the same. What am I missing?

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@yissp β€’ 4 months

While the content on Reddit is probably more authentic than what you're likely to find on Google these days, there's still quite a lot of obviously (or not-so-obviously) corporate-sponsored stuff, and I imagine this is only going to get worse. For example, see https://www.reddit.com/r/HailCorporate/. I think this is unfortunately the fate of any platform that gets sufficiently popular.

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@mikelpr β€’ 4 months

sad but I do this too

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@ozymandias12 β€’ 4 months


@shantnutiwari β€’ 4 months

One thing I hate about most Google (and Duck) top results: Keyword stuffing

I search about how to do X in python, the top result will have a paragraph or 2 on "What is X in python " "Why do people use X in python"

You can see its being done to stuff more keywords into the headers

But why just google? Like I said, duck.com results are similar-ish

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@mastazi β€’ 4 months

Reddit has peaked, at the time PG wrote that tweet you could see some volatility with still some isolated peaks, but if you look at it now it's more clear that the general trend is downwards https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=all&q=reddit

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@ravenstine β€’ 4 months

Search in general is dying.

Although I've yet to evaluate Kagi (though I did get a beta invite the other day), the only search engine that seems to be not totally nerf'd today is Yandex, and even that one has problems (lots of foreign language content). I still primarily use DDG a lot, but often times I have to go to Yandex if I want a more exact match.

I do have to wonder exactly how Gen Z and Gen Alpha are using search engines, if at all? This isn't to say I think they're not bothering with search... but that I just don't actually know. Might it be that the use patterns of the youth are influencing how Google and the rest of the search engines are tailoring their algorithms?

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@z3t4 β€’ 4 months

Adding money to the mix is always problematic. Money destroyed sports. And money destroyed the web. The amateurs are still out there, but the content served by SERP's are mostly from professionals. Just like when you look at sports on TV there are mostly professionals.

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@astonex β€’ 4 months

It's perhaps a little bit early in its creation to be sharing this but I am working on a new search that should help to fix the problems mentioned in the article, https://namusearch.com/

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@stefek99 β€’ 4 months

402: PAYMENT_REQUIRED

Screenshot of the error code: https://imgur.com/URyK4N2

Probably / most likely too much traffic (1st result on Hacker News with 3503 points which is pretty high)

Archived version: https://web.archive.org/web/20220215203539/https://dkb.io/po...

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@afterburner β€’ 4 months

Indeed, I came to the conclusion to search reddit for answers some time ago without any input by anyone (other than being a reddit user already). I want a frank discussion of the pros and cons of certain choices, not some obvious click-hungry promotional article with a bland rosy opinion.

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@codingdave β€’ 4 months

I'm not going to vouch for Google's search results - we all know they are declining. Even so, if everyone is using Google to search reddit, that doesn't tell me that google is losing its search dominance. It tells me that even as people try to get away from it, they still use it as much as ever and by that usage are likely helping Google figure out which use cases they need to develop to improve their products.

Also, the idea that reddit will replace it seems unlikely to me. As much as there is decent content on reddit, it exists side-by-side with junk, jokes, trolling, memes, shills, and straight up misinformation. This doesn't stop people from using and enjoying reddit - much of the silliness is all in good fun, but it will become a serious barrier to trying to become the search engine for online content.

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@yalogin β€’ 4 months

I did not know that many other people also append "reddit" in front of their search queries. Now that I think about it I have stopped using google search for things I really didn't know about. For all things I didn't know or need to learn about I append "reddit" in front of the search query on google or go to YouTube for video instructions. I use google search exclusively as a short cut to typing for a link, or stuff I know it has already indexed like a place of business. For example I want to go to an imdb parents guide for a specific movie, I just type the name of the movie and parents guide and google shows me the link -- this saves me a bunch of clicks and page loads.

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@shirro β€’ 4 months

I wish it was Google search that was dying. I suspect the problem is a decline in good quality self published text.

There are adversaries gaming the algorithm and pushing low quality results as alsways and they seem to be thoroughly winning on Youtube. While search isn't working as well as it did for me I am not sure it is entirely a search problem. It used to be that a well selected query would almost magically bring up the desired answer as the first result. Even adding search params to exclude low quality sites like quora there is often nothing in pages of results now, if you even get more than a page or two. I remember when results sets used to be massive. But is it the search that is lacking or the content?

IMO Google deserves a large share of the blame. Killing Google Reader inflicted a huge blow on distributed self-published content and helped drive people towards a bunch of walled gardens and systems that promote low quality content.

Where once the blog reigned supreme now content is in the hands of companies like Facebook and Twitter where ephemeral, low effort writing is either behind a wall or drowned in noise. A lot of blog content is now dripping in blatant promotion of people, products and service.

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@cliftonk β€’ 4 months

Agreed. I rarely search for anything without "... site:reddit.com" or "site:github.com". the sheer number of sites that scrape github and then pop up above github in the search results is a clear example of this. why isnt provenance weighted more heavily?

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@foobarian β€’ 4 months

I mean you can't blame Google too much. In the early days, a large fraction of Internet users made websites and had hand-picked, curated links. This gave Google a fantastic ranking signal with a high signal-to-noise ratio. This is mostly gone now and honestly I'm surprised their search is as good as it is.

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@lifeplusplus β€’ 4 months

Yesterday I wanted to find something on reddit (brooklyn vs chicago), in last 3 years. Despite setting search result to last 3 years google kept showing reddit posts from 8 years ago. Tried bing and still it sucked, then tried ddg and finally got something relevant, not as good as how google used to be but it pisses me off each time I search something up on Google. Google has become better at local search and deteriorating on global web search.

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@dageshi β€’ 4 months

The article is right, but I think it's missing the main cause.

People who used to make high quality web content have moved to youtube instead because you can make more money there and it's probably easier.

Add to that, I think because of the move to smartphones, google tries to give you a direct answer to your question rather than directing you to sources where you could educate yourself to answer your own question which it did more in the past.

But yeah google search is noticeably worse and I don't know that google can do anything to fix it.

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@sytelus β€’ 4 months

I have never appended reddit in my queries. I don’t find majority of Reddit credible or complete. The author here is extraordinarily hyperbolic. Reddit is not β€œnext” search engine by any possible stretch of imagination. I would think search driven by very large transformer based models is probably the next thing but it’s 5 to 10 years away.

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@Androider β€’ 4 months

How about uBlock Origin, but for search? A crowd-sourced + manually vetted ban list at the domain level. Google is too timid and can't just permaban low quality SEO spam domains for fear of getting sued, instead they can only tweak the algorithm. But a community solution has no such limits.

Copying Stack Overflow questions and answers to your site? Entire domain is banned, no appeal process, nobody using "uBlock Origin for Search" will ever see your site again. Boom, done.

Maybe it could be done as an extension? It puts a little ban button next to a search result on google.com, that instantly bans the domain locally for you, and also nominates the site for the global ban list.

I feel like there's a lot of low hanging fruit here, like completely banning just the top 1000 SEO sites would already dramatically improve the results.

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@dharma1 β€’ 4 months

Google search still works well for many things, but is SEO spam/bot infested for anything that requires a hive mind opinion about something from mostly genuine people. Like if I want to know what kind of a best in class/best bang for buck/newest [insert product] to buy and have no idea where to start, Google is often the worst place for it.

I'm not sure if that's because most opinions like this are shared on social media like reddit (and in rather unstructured form) instead of on blogs/websites that Google mostly indexes, or if it's just really difficult machine learning problem to formulate something resembling a non-spammy consensus opinion from experts by just crawling shitloads of websites that all try to SEO spam the crawler

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@mr_beans β€’ 4 months

I wish wish wish Neeva was already good. I dig that they have a better aligned business model but their search quality still sucks. I was looking for a specific gun to buy and Neeva took me to a scam site as the first hit and I stupidly trusted it and completed the purchase through it (luckily was able to cancel it and get my money back). They also pushed an update which crashed their Beta iOS app and never fixed it. I’m rooting for them but I was not a happy customer so they will need to earn back my trust for me to subscribe.

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@aantix β€’ 4 months

There was a point in the early days where the Yahoo index was more reliable than Lycos.

Then Google came along and worked well, for a while.

But then I found Delicious.com - and those curated bookmarks were better than anything Google provided.

Reddit is the new delicious. Fairly saavy Internet users that aren't afraid to try new things, so they seem to know about cool stuff first.

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@billbrown β€’ 4 months

The Kagi Search founder just posted the following tweet illustrating the difference between it and Google:

https://twitter.com/vladquant/status/1494076266508537858

(This is with its Noncommercial Lens, which is an innovative feature that lets you use and define filters of results.)

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@going_ham β€’ 4 months

Yup, search is terrible when looking up for very specific/ niche topics.

It only works as a fact machine now. For example search for "Who is the father of the president of USA?"

I think majority of this problem arises from academia/industry disconnect as well as greed.

1. Greed: Ad revenue.

2. Academic people + research = Let's create a general solution for all. They never bother to understand what problems users are facing.

You may wonder, why would any one care to ask stupid facts? Turns out people don't need internet for finding relevant information. They are already bubbled up, so they search for "facts" to verify or argue against their belief. Eg. "Kanye west and Kim Kardashian". And for these examples, google works best.

It's really HCI problem. It doesn't take for them to tune down on the ads, but why would they? If you search for niche, they just show ads because they get $$$. But if you search for facts they just give the highlight. And this small highlights create positive reinforcements among it's users. It manifest to common users that google works.

So google basically is fact machine to find clues for an argument or bubble up belief. It is utterly useless for anything else.

Product reviews. Nah

Technical topics: Nah

DIY: Nah

Hobbies: Nah

It's either facts or ads.

Such is modern search engine.

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@s-video β€’ 4 months

Word of warning regarding the "site:reddit.com" trick: even reddit can get astroturfed.

I share OP's pain though. I wish there was a search engine that actively filtered affiliate link laden/spammy/SEO'd/etc content.

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@oarabbus_ β€’ 4 months

Summarizes almost exactly how I feel. I also searched the title of the article, and one of the autocomplete suggestions was "why are google search results so bad 2021 reddit"

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@thejackgoode β€’ 4 months

I do site:news.ycombinator.com append to my searches very often. Higher than average quality of information is simply an emergent feature of any successful platform with social moderation.

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@buildbot β€’ 4 months

It's also categorically broken in somewhat basic ways recently.

1. I searched a term, and there were not many exact results for it, with the suggestion to try verbatim search - clicked it, quotes where added, and then the _same suggestion_ appeared with added quotes. I kept clicking until I got a few hundred quotes in a row and google thought I was a bot. 2. Just today I searched for a camera related term, any many results appeared from one website with the suggestion to search for more results only from the site. For some reason, that search returned only a single result.

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@causi β€’ 4 months

Just the way Chrome insists on auto-completing searches has seriously damaged the efficiency of my Googling. I'll search something like "Type-97 whatsit making funny noises", get no results, go to search just for "type-97 whatsit" and it adds the rest back on by itself and I get the same useless results from the first time. I don't make the mistake often enough to remember not to make it, and every time I wonder what moron decided that was a vital feature that shouldn't be able to be turned off.

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@RosanaAnaDana β€’ 4 months

I'm sure this will get burried, but as someone that uses google search extensively for finding solutions to basic coding syntax questions, SEO has effectively poisoned googles well.

Where when i would post a simple question previously, I would almost always get a SE/SO answer that was 80-90% correct, now I only get a bunch of copy cat 'learn coding' web pages that really aren't ever the question I'm asking.

I use duckduckgo as a browser and the !SO bang is effectively broken due to cookies so I don't know what to do.

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@jakeinspace β€’ 4 months

The total fog of war surrounding product reviews is a big reason I enjoy shopping for older, used things online. Nobody is being paid now to shill for 10 year old Dell servers, or a 40 year old analog oscilloscope, or the quality of 1997 made-in-Japan Stratocasters. There are some YouTubers or subreddits who I think I can trust, but the incentive is there for dishonesty.

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@didip β€’ 4 months

To be honest, contrary to the popular hate, Reddit is actually one of the more useful social network I've used.

It contains a lot of memes/junk but it also contains a wealth of people's knowledge.

Reddit should steal 1-3 top search engineers from Google and build out a much better search. And might as well steal a few ads engineers from Google too.

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@high_byte β€’ 4 months

unfortunately Reddit is dying alongside Google Search. of course by all means I don't mean economically. but quality-wise - yes, especially since it was acquired.

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@eof β€’ 4 months

There is a mode that google has which is basically the old mode; since I discovered it recently out of huge frustration with google search results.

After you search for something; select `Tools -> All Results -> Verbatim`

This will get google to actually search the way power users expect. I am surprised how little known this feature is. It should be default, but once known it completely removed my frustration with google search.

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@jarrenae β€’ 4 months

Search Reddit Via Google: https://www.searchbettr.com/

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@zestyrx β€’ 4 months

This is partially due to the proliferation of data-driven static site generation.

Two types of sites I see popping up are:

1) "shims", which generate the bare minimum static content required to get listed on Google, usually for obscure or long-tail queries

2) "skins", which make exact copies of sites with publicly available context (like Wikipedia or npmjs.org).

Both are enabled by tools like NextJS which allow you to take data and convert it to a static site which does well with SEO.

I wrote about this in depth here: https://zestyrx.com/blog/nextjs-ssg

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@Someone1234 β€’ 4 months

There's not nearly enough discussion in this thread about Google's Verbatim mode (Tools -> All Results -> Verbatim).

In my experience turning this on substantially increases the quality of Google's search results. It stops ignoring half the words in your query and seemingly parses "quoted" phases as you'd expect. The biggest problem is that there is no ability to turn this on all the time for your account and turning it on is intentionally a hassle.

Google still has a lot of other problems even with Verbatim enabled, but this makes Google like 30% less terrible even if just using it for site:reddit.com-like searches.

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@yuuko11 β€’ 4 months

As a trader, I can say that at least in Finance, the dead internet theory does apply. Type any stock ticker into google, especially a small one (random example: MRAM), not a single article for "mram stock" is written by a human, you have AI generated pages such as "stocknews.com", and dashboards like FinViz (which fwiw is a good and useful website). The articles are generally generated based on quantitative (and therefor easy to automate) aspects of stocks, for example price to earnings, or that the price has grown alot.

A second type of website exists, which I learnt of from searching tweets in google, and finding that algorithmic spinning (replacing words to avoid plagiarism detection) was clearly being employed. The grammar is often laughably bad, but clearly in terms of google is either the best content available (as their algos see it), or the only content available.

One more Note: Google Trends data is 'deflated' to the number of searches (you can verify this by using Google Ads which gives numbers of searches and comparing to trends data). I assume the method is similar to what is in use for the transparency report's "censorship / outage" feature (explained here: https://transparencyreport.google.com/traffic/overview?hl=en)

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@vxnul β€’ 4 months

I come from the 2040s. Don't come here. In the parlance of your time, it fucking blows.

Google is still around. It is a third-rate search engine but a first-rate reputation engine. Boomers (we still call them that, even though they haven't been actual Baby Boomers for a long time) still use it to vet people before making hiring decisions.

For $159 per month (everything is on a subscription model) you can get the "personalized reputation" treatment by Google, so that when said Boomers are deciding whether to hire you, they see the unreliable material you paid for them to see--rather than, as under the old system, the unreliable material that emerged organically. It's a steep fee (these are the deflationary "new dollars") but it's a small price to be able to get a job and not be picked up by one of the "sweepers" and put into one of the performance improvement camps.

I wish I had overthrown capitalism in the 2020s when it was still possible.

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@jmyeet β€’ 4 months

I don't the same level of vitriol towards ads as some, particularly on something like search where there is a clear intent to find something and an ad may well be the most appropriate result. Like if I search for "Bosch vacujm" why isn't an ad for a retailer selling one the most appropriate?

Just so long as ads are clearly labelled as such I'm completely fine with it.

But the whole content farming thing is much worse and it explains the "reddit" thing. Searching for reviews is now impossible because of all the astroturfed affiliate link spam. Adding "site:reddit.com" is one of the few remaining ways to find real people talking about something. That woo will probably end at some point.

But this is a good example of how a metric that becomes a target ceases to be valuable as a metric. In this case, the links between pages became a goal so those links, the content on the pages and the SEO became a game and it doesn't matter if it's Google or someone else. If anything, affiliate links are a much bigger problem because they fund this "industry".

There will always be a need for search. Google search isn't going anywhere.

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@cjbgkagh β€’ 4 months

All I want is a feature to black list certain domain names from search results. Similar to YouTube never show this channel again option. If google hosted such a feature then they would get a very strong signal on poor results and would go a long way to punishing bad behavior and cleaning up the net. It’s so easy to do that I have to assume they chose not to because they make a percentage of the revenue from the content farms.

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@tpict β€’ 4 months

I feel like something happened in the past few days that made Google significantly more infuriating to use. I switched my default search engine to DDG after the nth case of Google presenting search results that matched zero of my (fairly mundane) search terms.

The DDG results aren't superb, but they also don't invoke the feelings of communicating with a distracted child or poorly-trained pet.

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@ankit219 β€’ 4 months

Agree with the premise, but seems to me that the article does not justify this. I can understand ads, but ads do not affect search results. If you move past ads now (which most users do as they habitually ignore the space where ads would be) even then you should expect good results.

SEO seems to be a big problem. Just saying Google is big and they should fix it ignores the nuance and the whole cat and mouse game that goes on. Eg: I am based in India, and am looking for which cable channel/streaming service is broadcasting a game of my favorite soccer team. The first 10 results would not have the answer, but as a user you would only know that after opening the link and reading through 500 or so words introducing teams, opposition, competition, form etc. but not what I am looking for. Most of these are news websites, who would make a loud noise if their results do not come on top. For a search engine relying on signals (even with AI), it's an incredibly hard problem to know if those 500 words would have the exact answer. [1]

Reddit is good for searches where things are in flux, or when it's a user centric thing. Because they have done the SEO well. Similarly the results leading to Stack Overflow for developers are equally important. Yet, when you want to research on some topic, or learn more, you would inevitably start with Google.

If I were to predict, Google would start identifying trends and slowly start ranking reddit higher for user centric queries. In my limited dev experience, that is already happening for Stack overflow. I love how the results are clubbed together under the first result.

[1] The result which surfaces often include the direct question: "How to watch team A v team B game in India?". How do you design algos to combat that and yet include legitimate results. Have a lot of text on the page is often the most given advice on SEO.

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@r00tanon β€’ 4 months

Having come of age professionally in the Mozilla era, everything the Internet has become since then is the worst case scenario we all saw coming.

Once commercialization of personal information and site tracking became a norm, it has been downhill since then. I don't begrudge making money from the internet. It's the commoditization of user data that has corrupted everything.

However, it is encouraging to see the responses here. Perhaps the tide changes to something more equitable in terms of network value. Hopefully, something that rewards people and companies for their contributions to the network (content, inventions, knowledge, etc.) rather than mining their clicks.

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@dleslie β€’ 4 months

Reddit search is superior because the results are community curated and because, counterintuitively, the search algorithm is terrible.

It's doesn't suffer _as much_ from the deluge of garbage on there dead internet, and the search is good enough to discover what you're looking for while remaining bad enough to provide compelling surprises.

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@elliotchaim β€’ 4 months

I don't feel like Reddit is going to pass The Mom Test any time soon...

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@est β€’ 4 months

Not only the Google Search is dying, the hyper-text web in general is dying, popups, huge banners, inline ads, autoplay videos, cookie consent footers, login-walls, pay-walls, clickbaits & content farms, geo-blocks, bloated JS rendered templates, hard subtitle inside videos inside iframes, non copy-pastable texts only available on exclusive mobile apps, etc.

It's no longer the same WWW I am familiar with anymore. Reddit is just one of the few sites still had higher text condensity (old UI, to be exact)

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@commandlinefan β€’ 4 months

> Why is Google dying?

> 1. Ads

> 2. SEO

> 3. AI

4. Censorship

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@Waterluvian β€’ 4 months

There's probably fancy terms for this, but I currently see Google at this phase:

"We cannot meet shareholder expectations by selling milk alone. We need to slaughter some cows and sell some beef."

YouTube ads are getting worse. Google results are getting worse. They're cannibalizing long term value for short term gains.

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@taf2 β€’ 4 months

This could be good thing for competition and the future... don't let yourself confuse change for bad...

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@irthomasthomas β€’ 4 months

Easier to just use brave or ddg with bangs and type !hn

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@me_me_mu_mu β€’ 4 months

Google search has been especially bad for programming queries too.

I'll usually see Stack Overflow results, but the entire page is then filled with sites that basically just copy-paste SO content.

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@udia β€’ 4 months

I don't see why Google does not trial offering a paid service where advertisements are stripped away from the search results. A new revenue model in addition to the existing ad supported approach where you pay for your search.

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@skilled β€’ 4 months

I do this also, especially for problems/questions related to real-life situations. Someone on Reddit has either already asked that question or someone provided an answer. Google should learn from this.

Also, I think that author should have mentioned the new crop of AI writing tools that have been coming out in troves. And, honestly, some of them do a pretty convincing job of writing things like blog post intros or specific paragraphs.

And, best of all, all this "progress" is driven solely by monetary interest. Google has made millions of people rich, and for a while will continue to do so.

Lastly, I'm bit of a digital marketer myself. I have been in the game for a loooong time, too long. And, I can say from personal experience - a lot of the top 1 results on Google are still being gamed. You can, technically, report blackhat spam[0], but who knows how proactive Google is to listen to those reports.

[0]: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/advanced/guideline...

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@trentnix β€’ 4 months

> The long answer is that most of the web has become too inauthentic to trust.

Exactly the problem search is supposed to solve. Google doesn’t seem to be very interested in solving it.

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@kleer001 β€’ 4 months

IMHO Neal Stephenson predicted this in his 2008 book 'Anathem' where he talked about the ITA and their Reticulum.

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@bennyp101 β€’ 4 months

I've noticed that I have started doing that recently - appending reddit to my queries.

There just seems to be a load of imitation sites now, like 6 different wrapper sites for GitHub, 8 for StackOverflow, a couple for GitLab, something aggregating a load of forums - so the first couple of pages are the exact same content - just from 15 different sites that copy the originals.

At least going with a community site there tends to be actual discussion and or useful links to the relevant content

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@sumobob2112 β€’ 4 months

Wow, I am glad I'm not the only one doing this, every single product thing I ever search is + reddit

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@eh9 β€’ 4 months

This somewhat validates how I feel about Reddit: StackOverflow for everyone.

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@MockObject β€’ 4 months

Ironic that the web is being eaten by a glorified Usenet, leaving then, as the main use case for the web, the sort of remote commerce that was once handled by Sears catalogs and food delivery phone numbers.

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@qnsi β€’ 4 months

Just a heads up if someone is searching reddit for product reviews. I believe most of them are inauthentic. I worked in marketing for several companies and we always had some budget for whisper marketing aka shilling. There are third party agency specialized in shilling on reddit and making it all look authentic.

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@lifeisstillgood β€’ 4 months

When looking for an answer we don't want the average opinion of the whole world, we want the best opinion of the expert in that subject.

As the internet (and Google) reach out more and more, we get closer and closer to everyone and their opinion being online. And so the average answer online gets closer to the average opinion in the planet.

I know Google thought PageRanknwas the answer for that but they now rely as much (?) on people looking for X and moving on. Which means looking for "what is calculus" "most" people will hit a maths dense page and bounce for a less complex / demanding explanation.

All of which is a long winded way of saying if we want an Oracle to pick Truth from all the pages of the Web, we are not going to find that Oracle.

Humans and human science and curation can only do that.

Odd that essential Librarians is what we need

Edited

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@alangibson β€’ 4 months

The idea of the whole-web search engine is dead. There's too much junk, and too much incentive to surface it in the name of engagement.

I got so sick of Google's useless results that I started out on a fool's errand. I'm using publicly available, curated or moderated link sources to build my own STEM focused search engine. It'll probably end in tears, but I intend to give it a shot.

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@zmmmmm β€’ 4 months

> There’s a fun conspiracy theory that popped up recently called the Dead Internet Theory

I think we're well on the way ...

Was recently pretty shocked, searched for "gas heating repair" and got back at the top some sites with my suburb name in the title. Naturally I thought, wow, if there is a local place I should go there. Clicking into it, it has everything about my suburb - a picture of the local park, and whole paragraphs of random text containing bits and pieces about the local area interspersed with odd sentences about gas heating ("Cold mornings in XXX can be confronting without effective heating" etc). The text kind of makes sense but also reads like it was generated by GPT3.

Of course, then I realise, this is all SEO. They have generated a page like this for every suburb in my city. There are tens of thousands of such pages they are hosting. The most shocking thing is this is a small time gas repair dealer. They clearly don't know how to do this, they've gone with a low budget to an SEO firm who has effectively generated a giant plume of toxic content into the web atmosphere, all to create a marginal benefit for this one small company.

If a small time low budget unsophisticated company can do this, then I have to assume it's happening everywhere. On a mass scale we have giant smoke stacks all over the internet spewing toxic plumes into the atmosphere. And the humans are gasping trying to find the small bits of remaining breathable air.

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@potatosack β€’ 4 months

Both Google and Reddit are afraid of each other. Google doesn't want to show reddit results by default as it doesn't give them any revenue and doesn't want reddit to get too big and reddit is afraid Google might build a reddit alternative by including more and more reddit features within the search.

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@innocentoldguy β€’ 4 months

I stopped using Google in 2021 because I found that I was getting better results and less ads from Brave Search and Duck Duck Go. Recently, I signed up for the Kagi Search beta and have really liked it, especially the "Programming" tab, which limits the search results to programming-related results.

My only concern with Kagi is it requires you to create an account. I don't like Google tracking me and the idea of Kagi knowing what all my search terms are isn't appealing. At least they aren't planning on selling it.

https://kagi.com/privacy

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@htrp β€’ 4 months

It only took 20 years but Google is now 2000s Microsoft, ripe for disruption from the next innovator.

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@SXX β€’ 4 months

My own anecdote. Even though I'm not actively using reddit myself and mostly I just read-only participants on few subs that are interested to myself.

Anyway when I need to decide what to buy, or find an advice on something about certain country I'm gonna visit for the first time, or just want to learn near-scientific knowledge I do append said "site:reddit.com" more often than not.

I literally only use Google itself for some programming documentation or to find a picture of something. In all other cases it's results are awfully bad.

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@vforvendettador β€’ 4 months

Perhaps true for some things, but technology related Google is still irreplaceable.

Haven't found a better search engine for my problem solving. Yes, a lot of answers point to Stack Exchange but it's not the only place where you can solve issues.

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@richardsocher β€’ 4 months

Yea. Reddit is a super useful content island. The idea that folks prefer certain such content island was one of the many reasons we started you.com (other than privacy, time saving, developer focus, etc)

We are the only search engine that allows you to set that Reddit preference once and then whenever relevant - the reddit search app will come up. Same goes for Stackoverflow and other apps.

It's changed the way I search.

Full disclosure: I'm a co-founder of you.com

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@wanderer_ β€’ 4 months

> SEO optimized

Hmmm.....

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@hubraumhugo β€’ 4 months

It seems like every critique around Google is immediately trending on HN. I wonder how long it will take to see significant market shifts towards competitors. DDG recently surpassed 100M search queries a day and I'm curious how their growth will accelerate.

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@riston β€’ 4 months

I agree with the article points definitely, also quite surprised that this issue hasn't raised by google itself or the money outweighs the product usefulness in this area? Non english searches are even worse, usually some huge companies create their landing pages which get higher SEO/paid keyword scores then the actual useful pages.

Doing the reddit trick also for the reviews, but at some point it would also get broken as some marketing people will ruin it by buying reviews etc. Authentic reviews on products/services looks like unsolved problem :) (startup idea).

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@csee β€’ 4 months

Look at what the word "flight" returned in 2002:

https://www.versionmuseum.com/images/websites/google-search/...

Aside from the ads, the results are interesting and they stoke curiosity. Contrast that to now if you were to search "flight"...

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@pepproni β€’ 4 months

Am I the only one that avoids reddit search results? It makes stackoverflow look like CERN by comparison.

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@Loeffelmann β€’ 4 months

I think SEO was the big mistake. As soon people understand what makes a result show up first in the search it became a almost meaningless metric. There should really only be one metric that counts. Relevency.

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@gipp β€’ 4 months

The thesis seems a lot closer to "the open Web is dying".

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@almog β€’ 4 months

I find it amusing that even though I find more "organic" results on reddit, reddit's own search isn't great IMO, so I find myself often googling site:reddit.com inurl:<subreddit> followed by the search query I'd have preferred to enter by its own.

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@jmakov β€’ 4 months

Switched to you.com. Happy.

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@kjkjadksj β€’ 4 months

Have you ever utterly failed to extract information from google and just given up entirey? This happened to me most recently when I tried to look up what model snowboards are used by certain athletes in the winter olympics.

You cannot bring up a relevant result. The minute you add the athletes name and snowboard to the query, no matter the surrounding terms, it just brings up the media dump of articles about the snowboarding event, not the equipment.

I ended up giving up, I couldn’t believe I couldn’t find anything relevant no matter how hard I racked my brain coming up with different terms for my query. What a frustrating experience when the tool you’ve relied on for 20 years has stopped proving itself to be reliable.

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@grishka β€’ 4 months

How long until Google starts adding a "results from other sites" box when you add "site:reddit.com" to your query?

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@mkaszkowiak β€’ 4 months

I agree with the article. It's getting harder and harder to get good quality results. Most of the time I use a site:reddit.com or site:news.ycombinator.com prefix, depending on the type of content I am currently looking for.

Lately I've noticed another breaking change. Typically I phrase my queries in English despite being from Poland, due to higher quality content. Over the past month I've been getting more and more Polish results despite the query language. Case in point for anyone who wants to test - "garmin fenix 6 vs 945 comparison".

Search seems a bit off on other Google services as well. Most notably YouTube, which interweaves results with ads and recommendations. Video discovery is becoming increasingly more difficult and it feels like I'm stuck in an information bubble. Which surprisingly works, as I use the website longer, despite it being less entertaining than beforehand.

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@dulayjm β€’ 4 months

yeah i realized i've been doing this for a while now. For anything that i'm googling that requires some sort of querying for personal input beyond that of wikipedia/stackoverflow, this is what i use.

I will say as an academic, google scholar is still superior. I just search with the !scholar bang on in DDG.

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@estaseuropano β€’ 4 months

My firm belief is that what is missing are the librarians. Google used to rely on web archives and inter linkages between sites, but bad actors from blogspam to quora have gamed this system in every possible aspect. There are probably just too few reliable sites compared to the global mass proliferation of unreliable sites.

Google will need to start taking tough, manual decisions on which sites to depritoritise in both what is shown and in what is considered in its algorithms in order to fix its search. And this is not a task you can outsource to whoever is the currently poorest native speaker is.

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@bricemo β€’ 4 months

Help me out: I have such a hard time understanding this line of argument. What search result do people want when they look for a recipe? A site without ads? You can pay for that, there are lots of premium great sites. News without ads? Buy the economist. But people don’t want results full of pay walls.

I’m struggling to follow. Can anyone give an example of a query, and then the ideal result that Google is not delivering?

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@kiba β€’ 4 months

Bring back wikipedia in search results.

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@MrBuddyCasino β€’ 4 months

In case anyone hasn't mentioned it yet: another reason is the censorship. Mostly on the right, but also on the left: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/11/04/goog-n04.html

They are even going as far as deleting Google Drive documents that contain things they don't like: https://twitter.com/lionel_trolling/status/14908008941574676...

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@alfalfasprout β€’ 4 months

Yeah, reddit also has issues with bots. But it's generally MUCH easier on reddit to gauge the quality of the content you're seeing than some top result on a google search.

When looking up "the best <product>" on Google, the results are utterly useless. It's always some site with a financial incentive to buy their particular product. Increasingly, that's low quality Chinese clones of products (and you'll find the same effect is true on amazon).

At least with reddit you can click on a user's post history and spot if something is obviously suspicious. On more popular threads you also get way more signal about whether something is sketchy.

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@ninefathom β€’ 4 months

In principle, I can't contradict anything in this article with my own experience.

The coup de grΓ’ce for me came with a cell carrier switch, after which Google began constantly nagging me to complete captchas when I searched. That annoyance started amplifying all of the other piques I'd had with Google (including progressively less-relevant results as time went on).

I found myself constantly using quotes and minuses to get the results I wanted from Google, and appending keywords like "wiki" to prefer specific sources.

The day that the realization hit me- that I was really just using Google as an unnecessary entry point for other search engines, all of which had their own perfectly good search interfaces- was the day Google ceased to be my default across all of my platforms.

My default "generic" search engine is now Qwant, and if I specifically want Wikipedia or Amazon or eBay or Reddit or anything else, why, it's just a simple drop down away. Level of abstraction removed, and as a bonus, the blasted captchas are gone.

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@heavyset_go β€’ 4 months

The "fun" part of this is that advertisers have known this for years, and a lot of Reddit is already astroturfed.

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@aparsons β€’ 4 months

I’ve posited repeatedly that when Reddit IPOs, I’ll be reallocating a significant chunk of my portfolio into their stock.

Their management has historically lacked focus, but if Reddit ever builds a half-competent search index, and positions itself as a search-first, discovery-second destination, they will be in the FANG tier of stocks.

They have the data. They have the dedicated, active user base. They have free moderation. The hard parts are solved. If only they get someone like Satya at the helm. (Also a big reason for me to believe that an acquisition may also be a good play for a AMZN/MSFT)

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@taurusnoises β€’ 4 months

For the first time ever (?) I'm getting a pop-up question from Google at the bottom of a search result asking me to give feedback on the results.

Possibly related?

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@techwiz137 β€’ 4 months

There was a time I could find everything in google. Now results I would've gotten easily 10 years ago no longer appear, even worse, I get 0 results quite often, whereas even obscure keywords, number patterns or hex patterns would easily yield a blog or two about a specific thing, now not so much.

Even searching for a particular blog, having forgotten it's name, I tried every single keyword and couldn't find it.

I also find it funny that I am doing exactly what the author of the blog post argues about. Every single time I look up something about trading, ADHD or disabilities, I append reddit or even prepend it.

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@a-dub β€’ 4 months

i think it's less the case that "Google is dying" and more the case that the open and decentralized internet is dying. all the good content is moving into miniature walled gardens, behind paywalls, behind authwalls and deep inside apps where you can't change the font size on your smartphone. increasingly all that's left out in the public are these SEO'd craptastic advertorials.

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@throwaway984393 β€’ 4 months

Google is still a high-quality search engine, it just has ridiculously poor product and consumer focus. This could easily be turned around by better product management.

Some search results are poor, but they can be very easily changed by Google. Recipes, for example, are only poor because of Google's own published recipe metadata HTML format. Their results prioritize matches that include that format, and 99.999% of matches are pages from a single WordPress plugin that uses the format.

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@adrianomartins β€’ 4 months

Although it's true that google results for subreddit in the specialty I'm looking for are (to me) top results (because I know I'll probably read from knowledged people on what I'm looking for), most of my queries are more about general trivia and other stuff that no platform like reddit can really encompass better than google it self.

I pretty much throw everything at google (like grammar, quotes, places, trivia in general, tech questions - reddit still isn't as good as stack-overflow for developers), Brave browser will take the ads out, and I get to choose my result. It's quite a nice experience.

(And no, I don't recommend Duck Duck Go either. It fails to show obvious results every now and then. I learned that the hard way.)

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@kordlessagain β€’ 4 months

> The only people who don’t know that are the team at Reddit, who can’t be bothered to build a decent search interface.

It's better than it was in the past!

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@erwincoumans β€’ 4 months

Indeed. I add reddit to find authentic results by real people. Amazon stars are fake, and similar with other sites. Hackernews is also a trusted resource for real opinions.

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@TrevorFSmith β€’ 4 months

I suspect that a basic crawler that simply doesn't index pages with ads would return better results than Google's terribly complex crawler and index.

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@jmpeax β€’ 4 months

I'd just be happy with a search engine where you can choose to remove an entire site from the results. Sick of getting towardsdatascience pages written by students rehashing chapter 1 of textbooks.

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@ineedasername β€’ 4 months

>most of the web has become too inauthentic to trust

I hadn't really noticed that my own search habits had slowly changed until this article. Appending "reddit" is now a fairly regular habit for me, for exactly the trust issue mentioned.

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@ziggus β€’ 4 months

You can claim all you want that 'Google Search Is Dying', but their quarterly earnings report says otherwise.

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@bonoboTP β€’ 4 months

It used to be enough to append the word "reddit" but now Google tends to ignore it! It learned to route around people's desire to get useful results and learned to ignore it and show the garbage links instead. You can still get it with "site:reddit.com" though. I wonder when they will remove this option. Afaik a lot of search operators are already undocumented. And they removed the "+" for forcing inclusion of a term, so that only quotes worked as intended, but then also removed full support for quotes and it's now just a hint. Probably every step boosts some engineer's or manager's short term metrics and evaluation reports so it keeps happening.

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@timwis β€’ 4 months

I tried switching to DuckDuckGo years ago, but found the result quality just didn’t match google - it wasn’t getting me to what I was after. Now I feel that way about google even more strongly, so perhaps I’ll give DuckDuckGo another go.

PS I also do the kind of searching in the article with hacker news, e.g. β€˜JavaScript testing site:news.ycombinator.com’

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@bobm_kite9 β€’ 4 months

Although I like the idea of DDG's bang operators, I rarely use them (mainly !g when I'm feeling desperate).

What I would find useful is to be able to whitelist a bunch of sites on DDG, so that it prioritises results from them first, when I search.. basically most of the sites with ! operators I guess.

That way I wouldn't get all the SO clone-sites returning their rubbish.

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@jquery β€’ 4 months

I’ve been doing this for a few years already. Not for all my searches, sometimes I append other domains, but generally I now tell google what domain I’m interested in, and Reddit is a popular one.

Unfortunately, only a matter of time until Reddit is gamed to hell unless they take steps to prevent moderator corruption (which is already happening and severe for many popular subreddits). And so the cycle continues. Avoiding people who want to sell you stuff is a sisyphean task…

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@fishtoaster β€’ 4 months

I don't know that I agree with the thesis that it's dying, but I think the symptoms it describes are very real.

Searching for "good restaurants in <city I'm visiting>" is useless. Entire real companies exist to fill the top few slots on that search for any given city. My workaround is, as the article says, to search Reddit instead. Look for the subreddit dedicated to that city, then find their most recent thread on good places to eat - you find much better results.

That said, I strongly suspect this only works because it's not a widely-known strategy. As soon as a critical mass of people start going to reddit instead of google, the same enormous weight of effort people put into SEO will instead go to finding ways to subvert Reddit's authenticity. Sock puppet accounts, astroturfing, generating spammy subreddits, voting rings - there are plenty of strategies, and dedicated experts will have a huge incentive to invent more. Reddit will put up countermeasures, just like Google tries to prevent SEO spam. I don't have any reason to believe Reddit will be more successful in the long term than Google is.

So... enjoy it while it lasts. :)

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@mattgreenrocks β€’ 4 months

Not sure if Google’s fault only, but searching for programming related content is much, much worse than it used to be. It is extremely difficult to get Google to show deeply technical content, presumably because it falls outside of the majority of search terms.

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@riston β€’ 4 months

For me it seems that Google search basically has leverage to either make more money or show more useful results to their customers and they have chosen the first option to make more money.

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@bighoss97 β€’ 4 months

This is facts. Appending reddit to any google search gives much better results.

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@SjorsVG β€’ 4 months

I never use Reddit and generally don't find what I am looking for in the threads that Google suggests.

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@zuminator β€’ 4 months

The author's thesis is a bit confused. Reddit hasn't replaced Google as a search engine. Reddit does have a search function, but have you used it? It's frankly terrible. Rather, Google has become the search engine front end for the huge database that is Reddit. Currently they have a symbiotic relationship, but if Reddit ever decides to take its data private and build its own competent front end, it could potentially splinter off for itself a good chunk of traffic.

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@metalliqaz β€’ 4 months

"The long answer is that most of the web has become too inauthentic to trust."

This is so on-point.

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@streamofdigits β€’ 4 months

"Google's results are clearly getting worse". Can somebody quantify this in some objective way?

As in: I have this concrete metric (that anybody can inspect / replicate) and I saw it declining from 201X to 2022 etc.

I don't dispute that it is a true fact. The comments reveal both ways that this manifests, inventive workarounds and possible causes. But without having read through the 765 comments(!) (at time of posting) I don't see something that can be quoted as a measured reality.

NB: It would be really useful to have such an independent quality index, also for future reference when invariably somebody provides a "better" search engine.

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@jeffbee β€’ 4 months

Alternative interpretation: Google so useful that it instantly searches whatever sub-corpus you desire if you simply mention it in your question.

Google says it shows zero ads on 80% of searches. So the whole "ads now take up entire screen" thing is based on the qualitative ramblings of twitter accounts who don't know what they are talking about.

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@swlkr β€’ 4 months

I'm also a staunch site:reddit.com google user

I was skeptical at first, but it really does seem to work for most queries, especially queries about products. I tried standing desks, streaming setup stuff, keyboards, linux desktop configurations, it's all there, all mostly ad free, definitely SEO free.

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@EscargotCult β€’ 4 months

re: the Dead Internet Theory, anyone who browses the "news" sections of any stock trading app, Yahoo Finance / iOS Stocks app can see that the likes of Barron's, Zacks Investment Research, Motley Fool, Benzinga, etc have been autogenerating "analysis reports" for some time, where some basic fundamentals and options metrics are repackaged in some filler wording. I don't think it'll take much for lots of secondary content to reach this state.

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@SCHiM β€’ 4 months

I'll echo one of the points in the article: "Google is trying to be smart".

This is the source of many people's frustration, and the source of forced synonyms. A dumb tool that adapts to humans as they use it and tries to be "smart" prohibits us from getting more skilled in the usage of the tool. It becomes unpredictable, and it introduces significant friction each time it does something dumb.

Even if the tool is correct 90% of the time, it is wrong 100% of the time on an emotional/ux level. The successes are invisible in aggregate, but each mistake sticks out like a sore thumb. I guess why this is: modern understanding of our brains (as I, a lay man, understand it) is that they attempt to continuously predict what's going to happen next in their environment. When all predictions are correct it feels good, and there's no tension. A tool that adapts and changes makes our brains predictions turn out wrong, and our brains punish us with tension and attention each time the tool does not do what we want, since it failed to predict the desired behavior.

Previous versions of google felt so nice precisely because our brains, or at least those of hackers, could adapt to its various tricks and shortcuts.

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