Is Google Any More Than Their Brand?

from the the-Nike-of-the-internet? dept

While this Wall Street Journal piece mostly focuses on the eventual limitations that search engines face (the fact that they’re not actually artificial intelligence beings, and thus can’t really “understand” searches) it does make an interesting point at the end, that in a “blind” taste test, where search results from major search engines are presented without any context as to which search engine provided them, most people couldn’t tell the difference. This, columnist Lee Gomes suggests, means that Google is nothing more than a successful brand. I’m not so sure. First, Gomes gives no details about the so-called blind taste test (and, in fact, it’s possible that no such test ever occurred and he’s just assuming what the results would be). Second, simply looking at the results list isn’t what makes or breaks a search engine. It’s often what’s found at those links that makes it clear whether the search engine was useful or not. Also, different search engines have very different features, and some of those additional features make one more useful than another. So, while it may be true that there are a number of good search engines out there (and that Google’s results aren’t always the best), such a blind taste test with no details certainly doesn’t prove that Google is just a brand.

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