Is Google search getting worse (and worse!)?

I’ve using google for many years, probably since its first or second month in existence, and I’m growing more and more frustrated with it. While it’s never been perfect, for a few years at the beginning of this decade (century), it worked quite well. I pretty much was guaranteed to find what I was looking for. Things slowly started deteriorating and now I find the search engine to be virtually useless. It’s more likely that it will hide the information that I’m looking for, than it will present it. Unfortunately, it’s rivals bing, Alta Vista andYahoo, are just as bad. Indeed, it’s difficult to believe they don’t all use the same search algorithms given how incredibly similar their results are. For example, search for my name “Margarita Lacabe”, and out of the thousands of results that show up (out of tens of thousands of web pages that actually have my name on them), all four search engines show in the first or second page of results a link to a newspaper article I sent to a mailing list in 1997! The same newspaper article! What are the chances? Google also includes “relevant” links: those to my home page, my professional profile, my facebook page and my twitter feed – amidst lost of “garbage” results (those to website that do nothing but compile public information about a name) – which is more than what we can say about the other 3 search engines, which cannot even find my website (marga.org).
But while much of the information about me is in Spanish, don’t expect to access it through Google – even if you’ve asked Google to search for material on “any language”. I’ve complained about this before, and I haven’t found a solution that will bring me relevant results in both languages. Once again, the other search engines are just as bad. This was not a big issue a year or so ago, so definitely something has changed (for the worse) on google’s algorithm). This is not just a small inconvenience for me, many of the search I make are for work and there is material concerning them in a variety of languages that I’d like to be able to access.
Google images, moreover, has become virtually useless. My daughters have a whole website with pictures of themselves, but (perhaps fortunately) you won’t find almost any of them by searching for their names. A few months ago, they were available.
I can feel how badly Google works on a daily basis. While once upon a time, I could find most of the relevant information I was looking for on the first and second page of a search, now I’m more likely to find it linked from another website. This is unfortunate, because it means I need to know where to go to look for it in the first place.
I think the time has come for a search company to come up with a bare-bones, non-smart search engine that actually works.

1 Comment

  1. Robert Dowell

    I have to agree with you. Lately, in the past 2 months I too have found that if you put a search string into Google, not only does it prevaricate, but it almost never finds the right information.
    It would also appear that even if we place something in quotes, to force the search engine to look for that, it will start to fill the pages with useless links that have little of nothing to do with the original request.
    Just a an off statement, I believe that the quantity of information that all the search engines are having to look for has grown to such a degree that it will become increasingly difficult to find anything.
    How ironic then that when I put “is Google search getting worse” into the search engine, your blog should be at the top, with this entry.

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