Mike Arrington is wrong about Google search

Mike Arrington, founder of the famous tech blog TechCrunch, hates the new Google search features. They even tell you how to kill the new wiki-style features using GreaseMonkey on Firefox. Mike does take the time to explain the new features here, though.

The problem is, Mike is wrong.

These features rock. They let me add notes to entries in Google. They let me tell the search engine which entries are better for me and they help Google’s business BIG TIME.

See, truth is Google is too perfect lately.

Eye track research shows that most of us aren’t going past the first link. That is a HUGE change from five years ago when we didn’t trust Google that much so we’d look down the first page looking at all the links and we’d probably even click on the second page to see what’s there.

Tell me, when is the last time you’ve clicked on the second page. I can’t remember anymore and I use Google dozens of times a day.

So, Google has a problem. It is an advertising-supported service and we’re just not sticking around on its pages very long. It NEEDS to increase the time we spend interacting with it.

I’m sure Google’s leaders are looking at FriendFeed and Facebook’s news feed and seeing all the time that their members are interacting and spending time on the page and are saying “we could do that.”

These features already are dramatically increasing the time I’m spending on Google search pages. That’s a HUGE win for Google.

Personally, I think Google is right to put these features in and I already am enjoying using them. By the way, when you search for TechCrunch can you see the note I left on TechCrunch’s entry?

Mike, you’re wrong about this one.

88 thoughts on “Mike Arrington is wrong about Google search

  1. I’m not sure if comments on search results is a good idea or not yet.

    The other day on the first Google search results for “Scoble” (http://scobleizer.com) I left a “public” comment. I was surprised that mine was the only comment I can see. I only see it if I am logged into the Google account that I used to make the comment. So if I am only going to see my own comments why does Google need to put my name next to it?

    I think the search result would be a lot more valuable to me if I could see other’s comments, but then again it would also be a lot less valuable if those comments were junk or took up too much space.

    Are the comments on search results searchable? What would happen when someone commented on those search results?

  2. I’m not sure if comments on search results is a good idea or not yet.

    The other day on the first Google search results for “Scoble” (http://scobleizer.com) I left a “public” comment. I was surprised that mine was the only comment I can see. I only see it if I am logged into the Google account that I used to make the comment. So if I am only going to see my own comments why does Google need to put my name next to it?

    I think the search result would be a lot more valuable to me if I could see other’s comments, but then again it would also be a lot less valuable if those comments were junk or took up too much space.

    Are the comments on search results searchable? What would happen when someone commented on those search results?

  3. The whole idea of this new wiki-like feature on Google Search is to actually help improve search results. No one has to like or dislike them – the feature was not implemented for personal taste but for the end result… which is better search results. Yes, Google is #1 right now and their rank in search seems to be ever increasing, so should they wait until someone comes along with a better search engine just because it’s “not broken” yet? NO! Google is working on improving search continuously, and for Mike Arrington to make such a statement is foolish.

  4. The whole idea of this new wiki-like feature on Google Search is to actually help improve search results. No one has to like or dislike them – the feature was not implemented for personal taste but for the end result… which is better search results. Yes, Google is #1 right now and their rank in search seems to be ever increasing, so should they wait until someone comes along with a better search engine just because it’s “not broken” yet? NO! Google is working on improving search continuously, and for Mike Arrington to make such a statement is foolish.

  5. I can’t comment on either of you being right or wrong on these new search features BECAUSE I CAN’T SEE THEM! I’m always logged onto Google, due to my GMail account.

    Maybe their site is blocking me, because it’s absent on my computer.

  6. I can’t comment on either of you being right or wrong on these new search features BECAUSE I CAN’T SEE THEM! I’m always logged onto Google, due to my GMail account.

    Maybe their site is blocking me, because it’s absent on my computer.

  7. 1. The fact that many technologically interested people do look beyond Page 1 of Google results is irrelevant. The eye-tracking research to which Scoble refers is, in fact, a representative sample of ‘average internet users’. Thus we may infer that ‘average internet users’ are either ignorant, lazy, or satisfied with the results they get.

    2. Given the nature of average internet user responses (regardless of type), this facility provides google with a higher opportunity for click thrus to other google pages. This enables higher visitor return on investment due to sponsored ads being placed on every page.

    3. Non-algorithm based recommendations are a GOOD thing. Until now, if a human could produce a better response than Google’s algorithms, then Google tried to improve the algorithm. The problem is that over time, the rules embedded in algorithms need to be altered as public opinion and social understandings change. The easiest way to reflect those changes is through crowd-sourcing, not through arbitrary rules set by Google engineers.

    4. Mike, you CAN turn it off. Just use Google search through another filter (eg: Firefox default start window). Alternatively, just damn well ignore it. It’s better to have the choice to use than not.

  8. 1. The fact that many technologically interested people do look beyond Page 1 of Google results is irrelevant. The eye-tracking research to which Scoble refers is, in fact, a representative sample of ‘average internet users’. Thus we may infer that ‘average internet users’ are either ignorant, lazy, or satisfied with the results they get.

    2. Given the nature of average internet user responses (regardless of type), this facility provides google with a higher opportunity for click thrus to other google pages. This enables higher visitor return on investment due to sponsored ads being placed on every page.

    3. Non-algorithm based recommendations are a GOOD thing. Until now, if a human could produce a better response than Google’s algorithms, then Google tried to improve the algorithm. The problem is that over time, the rules embedded in algorithms need to be altered as public opinion and social understandings change. The easiest way to reflect those changes is through crowd-sourcing, not through arbitrary rules set by Google engineers.

    4. Mike, you CAN turn it off. Just use Google search through another filter (eg: Firefox default start window). Alternatively, just damn well ignore it. It’s better to have the choice to use than not.

  9. Mike is wrong for the most part. He’s right that they should have provided an easy opt-out for the product. I don’t mean obvious (because Google needs a critical mass of usage) but it should be available.

    He’s wrong about the need and usefulness of the product. SearchWiki is about providing a human feedback mechanism for the search algorithm. It craves a stream of higher intelligence data, and SearchWiki can provide that in spades. It turns users into free mechanical turks.

    http://www.blindfiveyearold.com/searchwiki-turns-you-into-free-mechanical-turk

    Does it open the door to SEO abuse? Sure. But the Internati seem to think every user is going to somehow try to game the system. The truth is a small percentage will abuse it, but the vast majority will follow monkey behavior and use it appropriately. And I’m sure Google has smoothing factors and other abuse mechanisms to purge abuse from the data.

    Comments is really window dressing IMO, but is there to encourage usage by the everyday user. If you took comments out of the equation you might see less of a negative reaction from the Internati, but would users adopt the new features at a rate that would help tutor the algorithm?

    I’m not a Google fanboy, but I respect that they’re seeking to improve their core technology instead of resting on their laurels.

  10. Mike is wrong for the most part. He’s right that they should have provided an easy opt-out for the product. I don’t mean obvious (because Google needs a critical mass of usage) but it should be available.

    He’s wrong about the need and usefulness of the product. SearchWiki is about providing a human feedback mechanism for the search algorithm. It craves a stream of higher intelligence data, and SearchWiki can provide that in spades. It turns users into free mechanical turks.

    http://www.blindfiveyearold.com/searchwiki-turns-you-into-free-mechanical-turk

    Does it open the door to SEO abuse? Sure. But the Internati seem to think every user is going to somehow try to game the system. The truth is a small percentage will abuse it, but the vast majority will follow monkey behavior and use it appropriately. And I’m sure Google has smoothing factors and other abuse mechanisms to purge abuse from the data.

    Comments is really window dressing IMO, but is there to encourage usage by the everyday user. If you took comments out of the equation you might see less of a negative reaction from the Internati, but would users adopt the new features at a rate that would help tutor the algorithm?

    I’m not a Google fanboy, but I respect that they’re seeking to improve their core technology instead of resting on their laurels.

  11. Spam? Spam! Let’s give Google some spam to see how they’ll manage it. . . Gmail and Blogger have proven quite efficient in removing it — I think more spam (hand-sorted by the user, as comment-feedback is likely — can’t test it as the feature isn’t active from my location) directly on Google property with nice IP attached to it will mostly help Google search and destroy more of it and identify links faster, including on other platforms.

    Truth be told, I don’t use Google search engine explicitely anymore: I get information from Zemanta, twitter, etc. I won’t come accross a great definition-site like Wikipedia or Urban-Dictionnary throught the search engine, too bad; but I’ll get recommendations to it, for sure.
    I spend most of my time on Gmail and G-Reader, Google Street View — were this spam won’t appear, but the analysis of the comments will probably find a way rapidly.

    Finally, like all features: making it an option is essential (opt-in or -out is certainly decisive, but I personally don’t care) and having it available word-wide woudl allow me to use it.

  12. Spam? Spam! Let’s give Google some spam to see how they’ll manage it. . . Gmail and Blogger have proven quite efficient in removing it — I think more spam (hand-sorted by the user, as comment-feedback is likely — can’t test it as the feature isn’t active from my location) directly on Google property with nice IP attached to it will mostly help Google search and destroy more of it and identify links faster, including on other platforms.

    Truth be told, I don’t use Google search engine explicitely anymore: I get information from Zemanta, twitter, etc. I won’t come accross a great definition-site like Wikipedia or Urban-Dictionnary throught the search engine, too bad; but I’ll get recommendations to it, for sure.
    I spend most of my time on Gmail and G-Reader, Google Street View — were this spam won’t appear, but the analysis of the comments will probably find a way rapidly.

    Finally, like all features: making it an option is essential (opt-in or -out is certainly decisive, but I personally don’t care) and having it available word-wide woudl allow me to use it.

  13. @michael arrington
    There is an opt-out. DON’T USE IT. There’s nothing that says you have to click the little arrows and Xs. I don’t understand why you’re so opposed to it and why you seem to feel it’s being shoved down your throat. If you don’t use it, you’ll never see any difference in the results other than the additional controls. Is it really that bad to have two small extra images to the right of each result?

  14. @michael arrington
    There is an opt-out. DON’T USE IT. There’s nothing that says you have to click the little arrows and Xs. I don’t understand why you’re so opposed to it and why you seem to feel it’s being shoved down your throat. If you don’t use it, you’ll never see any difference in the results other than the additional controls. Is it really that bad to have two small extra images to the right of each result?

  15. If Google starts using the data from the Wiki Searches, then they kill their own business of Adsense.
    A company would just needs to hire a service that employs hundreds of people (India) to promote all of the pages in searches.

    “that suicide is painless
    It brings on many changes
    and I can take or leave it if I please.”

  16. If Google starts using the data from the Wiki Searches, then they kill their own business of Adsense.
    A company would just needs to hire a service that employs hundreds of people (India) to promote all of the pages in searches.

    “that suicide is painless
    It brings on many changes
    and I can take or leave it if I please.”

  17. I agree with the Techcrunch guys. I don’t understand it at all. It seems to be an unnecessary overhead to finding what you want and going there.

  18. I agree with the Techcrunch guys. I don’t understand it at all. It seems to be an unnecessary overhead to finding what you want and going there.

  19. yeah i could not agree more the new added features to google search and their new projects are great. many times its hard though for such a high caliber media person to see on eye with google. for instance i blog on both wordpress and blogger and think both are fun and i will never stop using blogger even though wordpress is bettar and i do the same thing with google search features which seem worlds bettar than like a week ago

  20. yeah i could not agree more the new added features to google search and their new projects are great. many times its hard though for such a high caliber media person to see on eye with google. for instance i blog on both wordpress and blogger and think both are fun and i will never stop using blogger even though wordpress is bettar and i do the same thing with google search features which seem worlds bettar than like a week ago

  21. yeah, it’s great. super awesome. Where is the off button again? Oh yeah, it doesn’t have one.

    I search on Google to find new things. If I have to tell it what’s what, then something is wrong. And the comments – they’re just spam, trolls and nonsense.

    I’m fine with Google doing this, but it needs an opt out. The fact that it doesn’t have one is the real story. They need this data for…something.

  22. yeah, it’s great. super awesome. Where is the off button again? Oh yeah, it doesn’t have one.

    I search on Google to find new things. If I have to tell it what’s what, then something is wrong. And the comments – they’re just spam, trolls and nonsense.

    I’m fine with Google doing this, but it needs an opt out. The fact that it doesn’t have one is the real story. They need this data for…something.

  23. You are right Scoble…. and it is a known fact that human assisted classification completes data analytics…. so the Google’s move is a smart one, one designed to improve the searches. The only question is, will people use the new features? I have already.

    ceo

  24. You are right Scoble…. and it is a known fact that human assisted classification completes data analytics…. so the Google’s move is a smart one, one designed to improve the searches. The only question is, will people use the new features? I have already.

    ceo

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