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Former Google Exec: Traditional Search Market Shrinking 184

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the queries-go-unanswered dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Former Google executive Stafford Masie believes that traditional search is dying because users are choosing to query their friends and followers on services like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Here's the quote from the video: 'The pie of search query volumes in the world – that business is shrinking. Why? Because people are going and doing search queries – search query volumes are moving towards social containers. They're moving away from static pages being searched and they're moving more towards dynamic real-time stream content. Like Twitter. Like Tumblr. Like Facebook. Those things have a better result because the penetration, the personalization associated with it, and the constant freshness of the content. So I believe that Google's search volume – the business Google is in on the search side – that business is shrinking. And they've got to do something about it.'"

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Former Google Exec: Traditional Search Market Shrinking

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  • Oh really? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bhagwad (1426855) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @10:22AM (#38966987) Homepage
    How many here have ever posted a question on social networks asking their friends which laptop/smartphone etc. to buy? I don't. I either start from Google or go directly to Amazon.

    I think "social search" is massively hyped up.
    • Re:Oh really? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ledow (319597) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @10:26AM (#38967041) Homepage

      Social search? No thanks.

      One person I know only buys what Which Magazine recommends. Everything he owns is "top" of Which's ratings. And they all have some pretty killer problems or cost the earth, and he gets nothing more done than someone who buys the cheapest things out of Tesco.

      And just how many of my friends know what an indexable skiplist is, or the correct invocation of a particularl Windows API function, or a system for library cataloguing that integrates with AD, or the name of that guy in the film with that other guy? Precisely zero. If you've stopped tapping things into Google and are instead tapping them into Twitter or Facebook then, let's be honest, they probably weren't really worth asking in the first place. And anyone that answers will use Google to find the thing they read about that topic last week, etc.

      Not only do I not believe it, I think that it could only be a good thing to stop Google having to deal with "Who saw Eastenders the other night? Did Jack find his long-last father?" when it could be dealing with my queries which need a mite more data and research.

      • Re:Oh really? (Score:5, Informative)

        by vlm (69642) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @10:44AM (#38967291)

        And just how many of my friends know what an indexable skiplist is, or the correct invocation of a particularl Windows API function, or a system for library cataloguing that integrates with AD, or the name of that guy in the film with that other guy? Precisely zero. If you've stopped tapping things into Google and are instead tapping them into Twitter or Facebook then, let's be honest, they probably weren't really worth asking in the first place. And anyone that answers will use Google to find the thing they read about that topic last week, etc.

        Ahh you've ALMOST isolated the perfect market for "social search". Many replies on /. to questions are of the form of "here are the google search terms you didn't know to search for".

        Example made up "ask /." question scenario: "Dear Penthouse Letters ^H ^H ^H err I mean Dear Slashdot, I maintain a medium size herd of Debian boxes from desktops to a compute cluster and I need to config them all the same and run a bunch of scripts on all of them once in a while. Oh noes what shall I do?". You'll get answers like "google for dish distributed shell, then run dish based scripts from a crontab" and "Google for puppetlabs and puppet" and "google for the following James Turnbull Jeff McCune Pro Puppet" If the dude knew what terms to google for, he wouldn't have to bug us here to begin with.

    • Re:Oh really? (Score:5, Informative)

      by tripleevenfall (1990004) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @10:29AM (#38967097)

      I think this is a major factor - people know where to find information now without having to ask Google. They know about Amazon, they know about Wikipedia, they know about their favorite news sites.

      Google has its use, but people aren't having to use Google to find everything the way they used to.

      • by wanzeo (1800058)

        My ideal search engine would be a meta-search to access a specific set of domains.

        For instance, I would love to be able to search only the shopping sites I choose, only the journal databases I choose, only the encyclopedias I choose, and only the social networks I choose, only the news websites I choose, etc, all from one search box. That gives you the freedom of using individual websites, with the convienence of a search engine.

        DuckDuckGo is on the right track, but I would love even more customization.

        • Yeah, I think a mix is appropriate.

          The "information" posted to Facebook and Twitter is of such low quality, I can't imagine wanting this to comprise most search results. I can just imagine searching for a topic and seeing a million inane posts where people take pictures of their dinner plates or write things that start with "OMG!"

        • by CCarrot (1562079)

          My ideal search engine would be a meta-search to access a specific set of domains.

          For instance, I would love to be able to search only the shopping sites I choose, only the journal databases I choose, only the encyclopedias I choose, and only the social networks I choose, only the news websites I choose, etc, all from one search box. That gives you the freedom of using individual websites, with the convienence of a search engine.

          DuckDuckGo is on the right track, but I would love even more customization.

          FYI, Rollyo [rollyo.com] (short for 'ROLL Your Own' search engine) does just that. It's still a bit rigid, in that you have to set up a different virtual search engine for each group you want to search together, but it does work and the virtual engines are editable if you want to add or remove a site at a later date. I agree, it would be nice to have your own set of boxes you can tick or untick to get results from only those sites that you're interested in today...but it's still better than searching each site individ

      • Re:Oh really? (Score:5, Informative)

        by 1u3hr (530656) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @10:38AM (#38967227)

        I think this is a major factor - people know where to find information now without having to ask Google. They know about Amazon, they know about Wikipedia, they know about their favorite news sites. Google has its use, but people aren't having to use Google to find everything the way they used to.

        Well, I do. Rather than wrestle with learning where and how each site's search works, I just Google for what I want, plus, say "wiki" if I want the Wikipedia page, "amazon" for the Amazon page, (Rotten) "tomatoes" for move reviews, etc, etc. The hit on the desired site is always at or near the top.

        • by Svartalf (2997)

          That's not wholly the case. With something like Google and Bing, you can find a LOT more than just what new smartphone to buy.

          Amazon doesn't have information on things like Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) systems, including the deployed systems. Wikipedia might have a good encyclopedic entry on the subject, but you won't find the scientific/engineering journals on the subject or the fact that the first system stored 300MW of power for 6 hours and that the second one stored 110 MW of energy for 26.

          Goo

          • by CCarrot (1562079)

            The main reason there is an impression that it's "fading"- it's because it's difficult to find information because people have forgotten (or never knew...) how to ask the right questions for answers- and you have to frame queries with a bit of care to drive the two top search engines to their fullest.

            True, however it seems that Google has gotten more lax lately in their quest to bring more relevant search results by double guessing what you 'meant' to search for.

            It used to be that any word or phrase without a + sign in front was optional, so search results would bring up pages that may have only two of the three search terms in them (preferably all three, but if no indexed site had all three terms on it, you'd get sites with some of the terms on them at least). If I wanted to force Google to return onl

            • by coolmadsi (823103)

              Now, however, even putting a + sign in front of a search term doesn't seem to guarantee that that search term will be in all of the returned results. In fact, adding the + sign often doesn't change the base results at all...perhaps the forced term is hidden in the page metadata somewhere, but I don't care about metadata, I only want it if it's on a visible section of an actual webpage or document, and explicitly matches the exact term as I typed it (i.e., '+bubble' should not return pages about some person talking about Bubbles their golden retriever, or bubbly champagne parties...)

              Google updated their search terms slightly recently; you need to put a word in quotes to explicitly match. So "bubble" should do what +bubble used to do.

          • by timeOday (582209)
            I think you're kind of missing the point from Google's perspective. Their business is selling ad space. People selling smartphones buy lots of ad space. Scientific/engineering journals do not.
      • Or some people just learned how to use their bookmarks bar. I've known people who had Google as their homepage and they would search for Facebook.com and then click on the link Google gave them.

      • by rtb61 (674572)

        I think is has more to do with SEO's search engine optimisation arse holes making searching much harder for the general public. Thanks to SEO's degradation of the quality (no you shit heads it is pointless spewing up results people are not interested in, just to run up hit's). They are giving up and going to people who can effectively dodge the SEO wankers to get real results.

        Who is a fault, reality it is the search engines themselves in not making filtering results much more readily available. Basically

    • No, that's exactly right. As a matter of fact, most of the big buying decisions are now accompanied by queries on FB. I don't use Twitter, so I can't tell there, but I know that FB status updates are including more and more things like "Anyone know a good realtor", "thinking of buying a laptop - suggestions", etc.

      Google saw that coming, and knows that to continue to stay relevant, they have to get into the social search space, which requires having a social network. Facebook is never going to give anyone fr

      • by El Torico (732160)
        I can see using FB when you're looking for a service provider such as a Realtor, Contractor, Doctor, etc. since those kinds of businesses are built on reputation. I don't see where it's useful in comparing products, since they are measured and reviewed on different web sites. Then again, your friends may have a LOT of stuff.
        • People like plumbers and builders tend not to have good IT skills or they got a bundle with the host website which is crap. So google would have been no help anyway. FB does do this type of thing better. Some type of trade you only want to use if another person has used them before.
          • Re:Oh really? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Svartalf (2997) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @11:19AM (#38967819) Homepage

            Facebook? Really? Faceplant's nothing more than a batch of people doing a "dig-me" thing on the Internet- and I'm one of it's users.

            I wouldn't have even thought about looking for plumbers via Faceplant. Most of my associates (and I can heartily assure you that most of them aren't as computer savvy as I am...) on Facebook wouldn't have thought of looking for a plumber by asking a question of their friends like that. They'd have let their fingers do the walking in the yellow pages, meatspace or online. Sorry, not buying it.

            • Well, within a group of sad old adults, that own houses and have to spend money to fix the house they own. It is acceptable to ask these sad questions.
              When you are going to pay 10,000.00 GBP = 15,825.27 USD for a new roof .. Trust me, you'll ask around to see who knows someone and find out how good they are first. Good luck with trusting some cowboy you found on line with a nice website and no recommendation.
              I'm in the middle of a house renovation and most of the people i've asked to do work have done wo
      • by slyrat (1143997)

        Google saw that coming, and knows that to continue to stay relevant, they have to get into the social search space, which requires having a social network. Facebook is never going to give anyone free access to their data.

        Google is already working on this. They are slowly merging the ability to have g+ searched with the user in mind when you are searching from google's home page.

    • I have, but that was only one component to my searching. I also queried Google and Amazon to check on pricing/features/reviews. Sometimes I'll also go to a brick-and-mortar store to see it in action. Social search has become part of my tool-set, but it hasn't tossed out all of the other tools.

    • Slashdot readers are being asked. Slashdot readers are not the ones who ask.

      The average knowledge about laptops/smartphones here is several magnitudes better than that in the laymen layer.

    • Buy? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Colin Smith (2679) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @10:36AM (#38967183)

      When I search I want information, not opinion.

      I'm fairly sure the guy has a startup he's trying to peddle. Just wait for the IPO.

      Having said that Google's search has noticeably deteriorated over the last couple of years. I often have to hit the Nth page now to find stuff I'm looking for.

      • by Brucelet (1857158)
        I wonder if some of that is a reflection not of problems with google but instead of a deterioration of the overall quality of the internet.
      • by Svartalf (2997)

        I guess that this is a YMMV thing. I've not had to dig more than 2-3 pages in and often it's still on the first page or the first link when I place a query. I guess it's more in how you frame your searches.

      • Some notes:

        We all know how the intelligence curve works, right? Really smart ranges get *more rare*, while Google's PageRank values *more common* results. So the link farm companies had their day building 100 sites that all link to each other with little else on it but a list of hit words.

        What we need is an engine that gives smart answers, now How is Babby Formed type stuff. Problem is there might be only 5 copies of a good answer out there, and lots of junk ones.

    • by AlXtreme (223728)

      But you know what you are looking for, confident that you know what you want and are willing to invest time to weigh all the pro's and con's.

      A friend of mine asked about getting a new iPhone or a SGII yesterday on Facebook. After a host of replies he went out and got a SGII. He trusts the opinions of his friends more than the various reviews and technical specs he would find at Google and Amazon.

      I do doubt this type of 'search' will impact Google's bottom line though, previously he would simply ask for opin

    • this is a weak attempt at something...

      social media is being ignored by many and actively rejected by most of us here. we are a minority but very few of us are all that enamoured by the spy networks (er, I mean social networks).

      are you guys running out of ideas? seems so. so, lets try the concept of search AND this social media stuff. maybe we can make some new money and get people to do even more corporate-serving things?

      the more 'new' things I see companies try, the less I'm a fan of the internet, over

      • its being perverted into new, strange things and I'm not liking the directions its being pulled.

        Ray Bradbury saw it coming. Fahrenheit 451.

        Basically, it started as a forum. It's growing into a colosseum.

    • by jdavidb (449077)

      I have done this all the time for years. Ask Slashdot is an example of it, if you consider a continuum of question types that range between the extremes of "Where is a piece of information?" and "What's the best decision to make here?"

      I can't quite figure out how my brain decides if a question is more appropriate for a search or querying friends on a forum or social network or in person. I do know that I get feedback if a search-type question is made into a friend query. And I give it, too! The hacker s

    • You remember that on facebook you are not the user, you're the product? Now think of everytime your parents have asked you something tech related over facebook.

      Seriously. If you're on slashdot, chances are you are the search engine.

    • I accidentally participated in an accidental "social search" of sorts a few years ago. It basically demonstrated that it helps find shallow information quickly, but that you become even more blind to results you may want instead.

      Part of an assignment I had was to find a certain number of websites describing the Smith Chart (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smith_Chart). (I'm still not sure why we were doing this, as it was described pretty thoroughly in the text.) I did one Google search, sifted through about 2

    • Believe it not your average person will ask their friends. Comparing tech specs websites doesn't mean anything to them.
    • How many here have ever posted a question on social networks asking their friends which laptop/smartphone etc. to buy? I don't.

      Um... You just Asked Slashdot.

  • shrinking? (Score:5, Funny)

    by amunds0n (2562195) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @10:23AM (#38966999)
    No wonder he is a "former" exec...
    • by PCM2 (4486)

      No wonder he is a "former" exec...

      You're joking, but in all seriousness we always hear this kind of talk from "former execs."

      "Former exec from Company A, which is known to have a near-indomitable lead in Market B, says that Market B is irrelevant and that anyone who isn't in Market C is missing the boat."

      Scratch that former exec and you'll either find someone who just landed himself a new job at Company D, whose business plan absolutely depends on Market C -- or else who really, really desperately wants to get hired there.

  • step 3) profit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alphatel (1450715) * on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @10:24AM (#38967007)
    Or maybe volume is shrinking because Google has gone from an actual search engine to a giant shopping, friendfinder, news aggregator and becoming less useful by the minute.
  • by coinreturn (617535) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @10:26AM (#38967031)
    Utter nonsense. When I need an obscure part for a broken appliance, I will not be asking my facebook friends. I will always use Google (or other search engine). It is just too instantaneous to ignore.
    • by Xeranar (2029624)

      Beat me to it. Former is a keyword here. Google is going to lose on some restaurant searches and other social questions but really...their volume isn't going to go down in a realistic way.

    • by El Torico (732160)

      Utter nonsense. When I need an obscure part for a broken appliance, I will not be asking my facebook friends. I will always use Google (or other search engine). It is just too instantaneous to ignore.

      One day in the near future there will be a web site where you can find a plan for that broken part and then hit the "make this" button. Of course, there's a real chance that the abuses of "Intellectual Property" (gasp!) will prevent this from ever happening.

    • "FORMER" Google Exec getting paid to spread misinformation.
  • You shouldn't trash your former employer? Especially in public?

    • You shouldn't trash your former employer? Especially in public?

      Trash them? He just described - rather conveniently, I think - exactly what his former employer announced they were going to start doing, just a couple weeks ago.

      I think this is probably a really badly thought out attempt at a whisper campaign.

  • Um... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thestudio_bob (894258) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @10:29AM (#38967093)

    Maybe it's shrinking for Google, but maybe because more and more people are using alternatives. Like me.

    And I want to go on record saying that the entire "Social Search" model is one of the stupidest ideas google has ever come up with. All of my friends and family have different career backgrounds and their own personal likes, when your using a search engine for reference, like for coding, my friend's FaceBook page is not going to help me out.

    • by forkfail (228161)

      But... your Facebook page could help you with your feelings about coding... /snark

    • Maybe it's shrinking for Google, but maybe because more and more people are using alternatives.

      A former Google exec says he believes that traditional search volume is shrinking (but offers no reason for other people to share this belief) and then spends a lot of time offering explanations for what factors might be causing the effect which he hasn't provided any reason to believe is happening in the first place.

      It's fairly rational be skeptical that the effect is happening at all. Its less rational to assume

  • F-A-D (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DogDude (805747) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @10:32AM (#38967149) Homepage
    I don't know who this guy is or what his history with Google was, but he sounds just like every other talking head pundit/consultant that is blathering on about social media changing the world and such crap. It's a very popular fad whose time is just about up.
  • by Hentes (2461350) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @10:33AM (#38967153)

    Traditional search is shrinking (but, mind you, is far from dying) because of huge topical sites that finally managed to develop good search engines. It's far easier to search Wikipedia, IMDB or Youtube for whatever content you are looking for than shuffling through the results of Google that will take you to those sites anyway.

    • by Asic Eng (193332)

      I don't think these sites are building good search engines. Even when I know the information is on Wikipedia or IMDB, I'd rather use Google to search them.

      To give an example - I just tried "site:imdb.com Gyllenhaal secretary" on Google. Unsurprisingly it led me to the IMDB page for the movie Secretary [imdb.com] in which she (very sexily) stars. On the other hand, putting in the search terms "Gyllenhaal" and "secretary" in the IMDB search box, gives me a lots of info on ... Kofi Annan. (Nothing against the man, but

      • by El Torico (732160)
        Kofi Annan was in that? Wow, the things I learn from the Internets.
      • by tOaOMiB (847361)
        Sure...but on the other hand, as soon as you start typing "Gy" into imdb, Gyllenhaal comes up complete with a photo and a big-name movie (for both Jake and Maggie). And if you type in secretary, it brings up an option to go straight to the movie page--without even having to type Gyllenhaal too. So I'd say that's quite a win for imdb. You don't need to know who is in the movie, you don't need to be able to spell "Gyllenhaal"....
        • by Asic Eng (193332)

          If you know the "Gy" bit, then you are right. Try "gillenhall secretary" though - no problem for Google, no results for IMDB.

      • by c (8461)

        > Nothing against the man, but I'd be surprised if he was in *any* spanking
        > movie, yet alone a really good one.

        Nice try, but I am not googling "Kofi Annan spanking movie".

        • by CCarrot (1562079)

          > Nothing against the man, but I'd be surprised if he was in *any* spanking
          > movie, yet alone a really good one.

          Nice try, but I am not googling "Kofi Annan spanking movie".

          At least not from work... :)

    • Except that there is no evidence that traditional search is shrinking. This guy asserts that such is the case and submits an explanation as to why without ever backing up his assertion. Several people have replied elsewhere that there is evidence that traditional search is not shrinking.
    • by satuon (1822492)

      I always search them through Google anyway. I use Chrome, and I have added a custom search engine 'javascript:void(location.href='https://encrypted.google.com/search?q=%s+site:'+location.hostname)'. So when I want to search a site, I just go to the address bar, type 'site', and press Tab, and voila! I've got a 'custom' search engine for every site.

      Actually I use that for smaller websites, for Wikipedia I just add 'wiki' to the search query. If I want to find a movie in imdb I type it's name and the imdb li

  • The internet is populated by two kinds of users. People who get it, and stupid clueless losers. Always has been. Only now, the stupid clueless losers have their own walled garden: Facebook. So now the stupid clueless users are not forced to get a clue and use real tools, however poorly. They are free to become even more clueless day by day while using the abortion Facebook.

  • by enigma32 (128601) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @10:37AM (#38967205)

    Personally, I don't give a crap about what my idiot friends "liked". I want search to find things that are relevant- not necessarily just popular.
    I hope his view isn't shared by google.

    • by forkfail (228161)

      Google fills a definite niche. If they leave it, I have no doubt that someone else will swoop in to fill it.

    • Me too. I'm starting to get tired of hype around the Facebook, especially for having concluded that it is the biggest waste of time and privacy threat that I have ever seen.
  • Maybe as a part of the pie - but I think the pie is growing faster, and doubt the absolute volume is shrinking. Too bad TFAs don't have, you know, actual numbers.

    One might ask one's friends about what phone to buy, or what's good in music, or what Joe Schmoe's phone number is; one might query a professional network for the answer to an complex algorithm or how many pineapples were exported from Hawaii last year, but at the end of the day, each of these questions is likely to be followed up by a Google typ

  • by Lawrence_Bird (67278) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @10:48AM (#38967343) Homepage

    with investments elsewhere disses google. ok. twitter as a search agent? for what? where to eat? even if I asked a friend if they like their new car that doesn't mean I'm buying it (and certainly not without more than 'oh yeah its great' which can often really mean 'Its not as good as I thought so leave me alone I dont want to be embarassed stop asking me questions!;)

    The area I think google (and the other search agents) can improve is relevancy and classification of results. Search is not dying but its growth rate may hae peaked in the developed world (who is not online? what would make you search more than you do now (on average)?)

  • I guess it depends on what you're looking for.

    Opinions, of course, are a good thing to look for on Facebook/social networks. Factual information isn't; even if the information you get is good they're probably just going to end up sending you to a result they got through Google anyway. It's also a decent place to look--assuming your friends have similar interests--if you don't know how to formulate the query you want. For example, sometimes when I'm searching Google I spend the first couple of searches

    • Opinions, of course, are a good thing to look for on Facebook/social networks. Factual information isn't;

      How do I *search* for opinions of others on Facebook?

      That's not even possible.

      Not that I really disagree with what you're saying, but you (and maybe TFV, which I didnd't watch) are basically comparing querying a database with asking friends? I'd agree that that's "kind of a database", too, but so is asking Slashdot, or Stackoverflow, or any forum really. That always existed, it even predated the web (thi

  • by Surt (22457) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @11:01AM (#38967559) Homepage Journal

    I've interviewed with 10 different people at Google. I asked every one what they thought google would do when facebook took over the search space because people wanted to go to the sites their friends recommended rather than search for pages. No one had an answer. Their other current services are so much smaller, the company is going to have to go through radical downsizing if they can't come up with an answer to this.

    • by OWJones (11633)

      I've interviewed with 10 different people at Google.

      [ Disclaimer: I work for Google. ]

      I've been here for several years and I've never ever seen an interview schedule with 10 people. Are you including the recruiters, all the people you spoke to over the phone, all your interviewers, and the person who took you to lunch as "interviewers"? Did you interview here multiple times? Because nothing I've seen -- and I've done over 100 interviews here -- matches your description.

      • by Surt (22457)

        I interviewed on 3 occasions. 4/4/2. Different groups were interested in meeting me because I have a varied background.

  • by ugglybabee (2435320) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @11:14AM (#38967745)
    Every blip or countertrend will always be accompanied by some jackass on the internet explaining how some established paradigm is "dying". Usually, it's some tech blogger desperately trying to goad readers into clicking on his story by being provocative, and it's usually a loaded question, because actually saying what is implied is flat-out ridiculous. When Linux on the desktop finally reaches two per cent. Some jackass will post a blog with the title "IS MICROSOFT DYING?" It's really really really overdone, especially when you consider that it's nonsense. Dying means that Death is imminent, and death is nonexistence. You could argue that nothing that isn't a life form can die in the first place, and you'd usually be right. People are still putting on Greek tragedies. Indeed, somebody somewhere is probably WRITING a Greek tragedy. So Greek Tragedy is not dead. It's not even dying. And "traditional internet search"? Hell, that doesn't make any sense either. Has the web been around long enough that anything about it can be considered "traditional"? Besides bullshit, I mean.
  • Google has been optimizing their system to provide better answers to dumb questions. This reflects the most popular searches asked of Google. [google.com] Google has strengthened their emphasis on currency, locality, and popularity, at the expense of depth. The general observation is that Google has been "dumbed down".

    That emphasis puts Google in direct competition with social networks, which are, of course, focused on currency, locality, and popularity. That's a problem for Google. Especially since the social networ

  • by Dan667 (564390) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @12:21PM (#38968629)
    One thing I read that I am now wary of is that targeted search and social media is creating an info fishbowl. Instead of getting to see what is in the world you are starting to get just what is in your region or what you peers are clicking. There should be a push back to at least allow an option to have regular worldwide results returned. And social media? No way I ever go there to find out anything especially to buy. Something happened or organizing maybe, but that is about it.
  • What this guy really means as that advertising is changing. Searching is fine. Google quickly had to find a way to monetize search results and they grew into a advertising firm or sorts.
    So yes from google's perspective as an advertiser it must be troubling to not have such a firm hold in the "social media" space.

  • by jenningsthecat (1525947) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @02:17PM (#38970607)

    I don't know if there are enough of us doing serious technical/scientific searches to constitute more than a rounding error in Google's search numbers. But if the market for 'social' searches really is tanking, then I wonder what would happen if Google made itself better for 'real' searches? You know, as good as they were 5 or 6 years ago? Would their search numbers be significantly better?

    I mostly use Google for researching electronics information - component data, repair manuals, and the like, as well as circuit topologies and theory for design projects I'm working on. In my experience, Google is much less useful for this purpose than it used to be. First off, they automagically change my search terms to what they think I'm looking for, instead of what I really am looking for, so I have to click again to get what I wanted in the first place - this is a several-times-a-day occurrence. Second, their 'allintext' operator, (which I never even had to use several years ago, when Google worked better), does its intended job less and less these days - cached results often don't contain at least one of my search terms. Third, their seeming inability to screen out content farms, (which I can usually identify simply by viewing the summary), slows down searches. Fourth, the automated preview crap they now put on the right side of the screen, slows things down too much, and is awkward and distracting. Fifth, having to use NoScript to disable said nonsense slows me down on those occasions when I DO need to allow Google to run JS for some reason.

    While Google's stated intention has been to provide more relevant search results, every 'improvement' they've made seems designed solely to increase the number of matches, and relevance be damned - to the point where they actively undermine the tools that they themselves have provided to refine searches.

    I suppose some of these deficiencies might be fixable to some extent if I had a Google account - but with Google's stated and demonstrated intention to rape everybody's privacy, I'd rather not let them get their hooks into me any farther than I already have.

  • There are social network 'haves' and 'have nots'. Some people have 500,000 twitter followers, and can ask just about any question and get a slew of responses, some of them excellent. Some people have 15 with nary a high school graduate in the list; getting insightful and timely answers from that list is not nearly as likely. People with hundreds or thousands of followers think that social media is going to change the world; they literally do not realize that not everyone has the same type of network that th

  • I think these guys missed the mark by a long shot.

    People aren't just "searching" any more. People have "apps", "portals", they have go-to places to get things. Google isn't where you go any more. People know what websites they want to use or they use the iPad or iPhone apps to find things. I believe it's the "app" revolution that changed the dynamics. People go to wikipedia to research stuff, open one of their apps to find a recipe for dinner or ask siri what to get for lunch.

An inclined plane is a slope up. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"

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