Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Is Google search becoming less effective? Is it Google, or the net?

It's just a feeling, but lately my Google searches seem to be less effective.

When I search on topics I get large volumes of "me too" news and announcement blog postings, but fewer results that contain real knowledge or insight [1] It's not so much that I get obvious splog sites, more lots of boring results.

Anyone else wondering about this?

If it's real, then, like most things in the world, I suspect some multi-factorial cause.

I wonder if Google is currently losing the war with spam and spam blogs; if they've been forced to retune their algorithms in a direction that makes them less useful.

Maybe people who used to contribute insight are doing something else. Maybe they're wasting time on Twitter [2] or starting new businesses or digging gardens in case Limbaugh's dreams of national failure come true [4].

Maybe Google is cutting back on the depth of their searches to save money. I've noticed a sharp drop in how well they index my personal contributions [3]. Perhaps by emphasizing the topical and recent they're reducing the value of their search engines.

Perhaps it's simply the gloomy weather and the annihilation of the world economy. Could be. Or could be something really is wrong.

I'm hoping it's just a passing ailment, but for the first time in ten years I'm going to see if other search engines are giving better results.

[1] When I search on tech topics, and keep finding my own tech.kateva.org posts in the top 10 even with "personal search" turned off, something is weird (the site has only a mediocre page rank).

[2] Yes, I'm now a freshly minted Twitter-value skeptic. I've come off the fence. Twitter reminds me of the Segway -- good, but vastly overhyped. Remember the Segway hype during the crash of 2000? Anyone remember the crash of 2000?

[3] Which, by definition, must contain lots of insight and not, say, be unworthy.

[4] The blogs I follow continue to be insightful, but their volume is down significantly. So I do think there's some input volume reduction in addition to possible quality and search issues.

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