Google not pointing to “best in their class” says Blake

Blake Ross (of the Firefox team) writes about how Google is playing with the trust (and good feelings) that we have built up with Google. He writes: “The tips are different—and bad for users—because the services they recommend are not the best in their class.”

Oh,  that’s a brilliant point and why Wikipedia’s approach might take share away from Google. Wikipedia has its own problems (it can be gamed, just like there’s a fool who messed with my own wiki and made that content less accurate) but based on my searches this weekend, Wikipedia points to “best in their class” information much more often than Google does.

Comments

  1. Over the past year or so I’ve noticed a significant change in what Google shows in the top matches for most queries. I have not done any kind of systematic study of this, but it seems to me that I almost always get a matching Wikipedia page in the top five matches. And as you noted, that Wikipedia page usually provides the answer I want. Perhaps this has more to do with the kinds of things I look up, but I don’t think so.

    I wrote a little bit more on the same topic a couple of weeks ago:
    http://wileequixote.blogspot.com/2006/12/wikipedia-ber-alles.html

  2. Over the past year or so I’ve noticed a significant change in what Google shows in the top matches for most queries. I have not done any kind of systematic study of this, but it seems to me that I almost always get a matching Wikipedia page in the top five matches. And as you noted, that Wikipedia page usually provides the answer I want. Perhaps this has more to do with the kinds of things I look up, but I don’t think so.

    I wrote a little bit more on the same topic a couple of weeks ago:
    http://wileequixote.blogspot.com/2006/12/wikipedia-ber-alles.html

  3. For alot of reasons, including ever increasing numbers of inbound links and good SEO layout of text heavy pages, Wikipedia pages rank increasingly well in Google (for now).

  4. For alot of reasons, including ever increasing numbers of inbound links and good SEO layout of text heavy pages, Wikipedia pages rank increasingly well in Google (for now).

  5. I agree with the observation that Wikipedia is providing a better answer than Google. If I want to read about a famous person, book, movie or TV series, I first search on Wikipedia because it is very likely to be there. Secondly, I typically find that the Wikipedia entry is very likely to be in the first page of Google results. Once I find that page, I normally go to that page directly in future.

    Of course, I am not suggesting that Google can be replaced right now by Wikipedia because the former has a host of functions that the latter cannot match. But for comprehensive information about something that is relatively popular or famous, Wikipedia is increasingly becoming a starting point.

  6. I agree with the observation that Wikipedia is providing a better answer than Google. If I want to read about a famous person, book, movie or TV series, I first search on Wikipedia because it is very likely to be there. Secondly, I typically find that the Wikipedia entry is very likely to be in the first page of Google results. Once I find that page, I normally go to that page directly in future.

    Of course, I am not suggesting that Google can be replaced right now by Wikipedia because the former has a host of functions that the latter cannot match. But for comprehensive information about something that is relatively popular or famous, Wikipedia is increasingly becoming a starting point.

  7. Interesting that a Firefox dev had the guts to call Google out, when the two are so buddy-buddy. lol

    The post talks about the “tips” that appear at the top of Google’s search results, but their “sponsored links” are also an issue, as the top sponsored link is always their own product. Search for “word processor”, “spreadsheet”, “email”, “instant message”, and “photo sharing”, and the top sponsored link is always the corresponding Google product (none of which are the most popular or best of class in their fields, except possibly Picasa). That doesn’t give makers of alternatives a fair shot with Google’s search results. It’s not *necessarily* bad, but it’s bad in practice because Google has a monopoly on web search today.

  8. Interesting that a Firefox dev had the guts to call Google out, when the two are so buddy-buddy. lol

    The post talks about the “tips” that appear at the top of Google’s search results, but their “sponsored links” are also an issue, as the top sponsored link is always their own product. Search for “word processor”, “spreadsheet”, “email”, “instant message”, and “photo sharing”, and the top sponsored link is always the corresponding Google product (none of which are the most popular or best of class in their fields, except possibly Picasa). That doesn’t give makers of alternatives a fair shot with Google’s search results. It’s not *necessarily* bad, but it’s bad in practice because Google has a monopoly on web search today.

  9. I think the real question here is whether the tips are worse than the paid listings, personally i don’t have such a problem with the google services appearing in the sponsored results, to most people it is clear that this is advertising.

    With the tips this distinction is less clear.

  10. I think the real question here is whether the tips are worse than the paid listings, personally i don’t have such a problem with the google services appearing in the sponsored results, to most people it is clear that this is advertising.

    With the tips this distinction is less clear.