Is Reddit a better search engine than Google?



UPDATED 2/18, 10:00 AM PST: This story has been updated with comments from Google’s Danny Sullivan.

A new story anticipating the decline and fall of Google search comes out about every month, but a blog post on Tuesday, titled “Google search is dyingby blogger DKB was different. The blog soared to the top of Hacker News on Tuesday and is already the 11th most voted article on Hacker News. all timewith more than 1,500 comments.

The main argument is that many people have become so disappointed or distrustful of good old Google search results that they now add the term “reddit” to the end of their queries. So instead of searching the world of information that Google and its web crawlers see, you get information and links from the world of things that have been discussed in Reddit land, which are a lot. “Why are people specifically searching for Reddit? ” the blog post bed. “The short answer is that Google search results are clearly dying. The long answer is that much of the web has become too inauthentic to trust.

“There have been many posts complaining about the quality of Google search in the past few months in particular,” DKB said. fast business via DM on Twitter. His real name is Dmitri Kyle Brereton, and he’s a 26-year-old software engineer who works on the recruiting platform Gem. “I think what made this article different, and the reason I wrote it, was that everyone was talking about the search results being bad, but no one was adequately explaining why it was. was produced.”

The first part of his argument is that Google simply devotes too much space to ads on its search results, including prime real estate at the very top of the results. Brereton points out that Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin recognized this conflict early on. The two acknowledged in a 1998 research paper that ads can go against the grain with good research.

“[W]We expect ad-supported search engines to be inherently biased toward advertisers and away from consumer needs,” the Google founders wrote in a research paper while at Stanford. “Additionally, ad revenue often provides an incentive to provide poor quality search results.”

Of course, when Page and Brin wrote this article, Google was years away from monetizing its search engine. When the company first started serving search ads, they were targeted text ads based on search terms and positioned to the right of search results. They were considered far less intrusive than the banner ads served by other search engines at the time.

Over the years, Google has tried to strike a balance between generating massive revenue from search ads and providing useful search results that encompass the vastness of content on the web. This balance shifted towards profit in 2015 and 2016, as it moved ads from right to top of search results. There are so many ads these days that you often have to scroll down to get to the actual search results.

Google disputes this. The company’s research spokesperson, Danny Sullivan, said in a Tweeter that many Google searches have no ads. “If the goal was to dial it ‘max’, you’d see ads all the time, on all searches,” Sullivan tweeted. “It’s not. But as always, we’ve taken feedback on the ads into consideration.”

Second, Brereton argued that Google search results were degraded by SEO. Because Google has been our “de facto” best search engine for so long, an entire search engine optimization industry has formed around it. Thousands of consulting firms, technology companies, and advertising agency departments exist solely to help businesses get their content to the top of Google search results. (fast business has a growth team that, among other things, specializes in suggesting the best SEO terms to help articles show up in Google News.) Google also gives preference to content from its own properties, Brereton noted. To see this in action, just do a location search – you’ll get Google Maps data. Ask about air travel and you’ll see Google Flights.

Google search has other shortcomings, Brereton said. While this is useful if you’re trying to remember the capital of South Dakota or the distance to the moon, it’s less so if you’re trying to answer more open-ended questions where you’re looking for a diversity of opinions. . If, for example, you’re trying to find real opinions from real people about a new laptop on the market, you might be better off going to Reddit instead of relying on Google results, he said. Explain.

Google’s Sullivan posted a number of tweets in response to DKB’s blog post (and resulting discussion). He points out that even if people add “reddit” to searches, it indicates that they are still looking for Reddit content using Google’s search engine and not Reddit’s.

“With the addition of ‘reddit’ to a query, some people clearly want great content from Reddit, but for some reason the search isn’t as helpful,” Sullivan said. tweet. “So using Google to successfully locate what you want on Reddit is also a sign that we’re helpful.”

Although Google dominates the search market, Brereton’s argument clearly resonated with part of the tech community. “I think the big reaction and the endless flow of ‘it’s relatable’ [comments] means it’s clear that a portion of the population resonates strongly with this idea that Google search results aren’t good, that Google’s results are inauthentic,” he said.

It’s the kind of thing that might inspire a few hackers sitting in a dorm somewhere to create a new search engine.

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