Google gives Bad Search?

Steven Johnson, author of Emergence, has written an interesting article about Google's failings.

Basically, he says that because of the way Google determines popularity of a given page (by taking into account the popularity of pages that link to it), the following problems manifest themselves:
1. It is difficult to find impartial product reviews. When you search for a product, odds are you find links to 30 stores selling the given product.

2. Synonyms make it difficult to find information. Searching for "apple" brings up sites relating to Apple Computer, Fiona Apple, etc. Finding information about apples (the fruit) is tough. As an aside, I wonder how Google could infer the contexuality of a search--look at your browser's history, and decide if you want results pertaining to Fiona Apple instead of Steve Job's Apple, for example--and if it would improve search results.

3. Since Google publishes PDFs, people who use Google for research purposes are being pushed towards papers rather than books, since very few books are published online in PDF format. Seems to me that if you are looking for specialized information, you probably should be at a library searching specialized catalogues, but I have not had the need to research anything niche in a couple of years, so what do I know?

Interesting article nonetheless.

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About

Hi, I'm Kareem Mayan. I co-founded eduFire, an online video tutoring company.

I've done time at ESPN and FIM.

I advise WorldBlu, helping them build democratic companies.

I moderated a council for Creative Good.

And, I helped bring Barcamp, a technology un-conference, to LA, which is where I live. I am now living and working in cool cities around the world.

More about me.

Opinions stated here are mine alone.

Contact: blog -at- reemer

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