The Algorithm Is A Disappointment

from the may-we-ask-why? dept

There’s a lot of discussion today about the newly revamped, which remains in the unenviable #4 spot in terms of search market share. Basically, the site seems to have sharpened up its interface a little bit, while incorporating things like news and images into its results page. Additionally, the site offers suggested refinement searches, so if you search for “Sopranos”, it’ll show you a link where you can get results for “Sopranos Merchandise”. All of this is fairly inoffensive, but it’s really hard to see how this is going to move the dial at all. Despite the company’s insistence that it has developed “A Truly New Way to Search”, the whole thing looks like a spin on Google’s recently announced universal search strategy, which involves incorporating more types of media into its results. The look and feel is a tad different, but so what? Even if the new returns “better” results than Google in some instances, there’s nothing here that will actually get people to switch. Right now, the company is making a big effort to explain why the new changes are cool, but most people giving the site a try won’t have the benefit of someone explaining to them why the site is now so great. As such, they probably won’t see it themselves.

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Comments on “The Algorithm Is A Disappointment”

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erinol0 says:

Re: Not just a search engine

…and yet everyone switched from yahoo to google when google didn’t offer any of those other features like email or a homepage and yahoo had email, “my yahoo”, and geocities. The switching cost was low enough for people to switch in spite of all the other features that yahoo had.

If really was better, and people were convinced of that, people would switch regardless of the features.

bmac (profile) says:

Google is still best

The only thing they don’t have handy is their own Yellow Pages search portal. I use Google pretty much exclusively, but for Yellow Pages searches, it’s every time.

I’m really surprised they haven’t stepped in to make that better than everyone else, but they do have a lot of projects to handle while also providing the best web search tool around.

The infamous Joe says:

Google is a verb.

Google *does* do yellow pages. Just preface your search with ‘phonebook:’ without the quotes. (phonebook: Smith, J Orlando, Fl.)

Find out more here.

Also, you can try out Google’s new timeline and map features by following your search with ‘view:timeline’ or ‘view:map’. (again, without quotes) (volcanoes view:map or einstein view:timeline)

It’s all pretty swell, if you ask me.

PS- Ask dot com commercials suck. It seems like they’re trying to be funny, and failing in such a way that the failure isn’t even funny.

haywood says:

I think it is the integration

I think it is the integration of services that makes me a Googleer. I love the Google toolbar, won’t surf without it Google spell check is my best friend. I love the Google homepage, the links part means I seldom use my bookmarks or favorites, the email part makes it easy to spot new mail. The way they all work together is poetry in motion, total browser integration. If they hadn’t screwed up Google groups, I wouldn’t have a bad word to say about them

charlybird says:

Its all about the quality of the search results

The migration to Google Search from Yahoo was due to the quality of the search results, not the add ons. The original success of yahoo was based on there edited lists of links to sites that provided, either the actual content, or an index of information related to the inquiry. This was useful but limited in scope and expensive to maintain. Google succeeded, becaused it was a hybrid of directed content based on user actions and Google editing/marketing/advertising. So if is going to offer competition, it has to provide search results that have a noticable quality advantage over its competitors.

Steven says:

Fewer ads than others

Jan, what I see is that Ask has fewer ads than any of the other big search engines. I search e.g. for “car insurance”, a heavily advertised search:

On Ask I get 3 ads on top + 6 on bottom = 9 total.
Google: 3 on top + 8 ads on right side = 11 total
Yahoo: 4 on top + 8 ads on right side = 12 total

And Ask has stuff on the right that might actually be usefull, rather than ads like all the others.

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