Sun Feb 13 2011

On Search and spoiled bloggers

I just read a post by Michael Arrington about “search” sucking. You can read the post yourself by clicking here, even though it’s a waste of your time - but hey, it’s a Sunday, so you’re fine. Mike argues search sucks and also that Google is starting to flail (to the benefit of Bing and other competitors). The article itself reads like linkbait, and link to it I have.

Before we move on, I’ll note that I quite like Mike - I have worked with him both on Techcrunch and other projects. We lived together working on these things. Sometimes, though, he puts on his “I need to blog this idea” hat and becomes unreasonable. Since he’s been a big deal for the last few years in the valley, people pay attention. Sometimes (as in this case), they probably shouldn’t.

Sure, search is far from perfect. There’s spam in virtually any query these days - sometimes up at the top search results too. It’s a big deal, considering search results mean money. That doesn’t mean search sucks - it means search can be improved. Content farms need to be dealt with (I like how Calacanis’ Mahalo pivoted between two kinds of content farming - the new one a little less disgusting, I’ll admit).

Lets put it this way, though: search is, and will likely always be, a cat/mouse game. Search is about finding content, so if you can produce content and make that content appear valuable, you’re probably always going to be able to game search results. That’s a hassle, sure, but also a consequence of something we can’t live without anymore: realtime access to information.

Truth is, Google isn’t doing a bad job at search - in fact, for just about everyone who isn’t a tech blogger in search of clicks, they’re doing an amazing job. These people type in a few keywords and get pages, from the internet, through their computer screens, relevant to what they were looking for. If this isn’t amazing, I don’t know what is.

Better search results: yes please. Less spam: yes please. And if I could have a third wish: less bullshit on blogs: I’ll take that too. Watch this video (it’s related, I promise):