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OPLIN 4Cast #801: Google still rules search…but does it have to?

Posted in 4cast, and Google Advanced Search

“Google” has long been a verb. “Let me google that” is probably even uttered more often than “let me search that.” There’s little doubt that the Google search engine has become a fundamental part of the information-seeking behaviors of many, and a significant culture. In 2019, a reporter for Gizmodo even attempted to live without using technology from most of the major tech players, including Google (she found it tremendously difficult).

Are there alternatives to the Google search engine? And, are they any good?

  • The Next Google [DKB] “DuckDuckGo and Bing are not true alternatives – they’re just worse versions of Google. The next Google can’t just be an input box that spits out links. We need new thinking to create something much better than what came before.”
  • Is Google getting worse? Why critics say ads, spam sites are killing search [New York Post] “Yet Page and Brin nonetheless started selling ads alongside their search results in the year 2000 and Google’s ad business has ballooned ever since. Ads across Google’s network — which includes YouTube and ad placements on third-party sites — brought in a whopping $54 billion in revenue during the first quarter of 2022 alone.”
  • Privacy-centric search engines DuckDuckGo and Brave are spiking, per new study [The Drum] “In the poll, 91% of all respondents said that it is either very important or somewhat important to them that, when using a search engine, their personal information only be shared with other parties with their express consent. Only 7% of respondents said it was not very important or not important at all.”
  • The free speech search engine that never was [Vox] “A lot of tech companies have responded to the Russian invasion of Ukraine by restricting their services in or to the country. DuckDuckGo, the search engine that markets itself as a privacy-first alternative to Google, was no different: On March 9, its CEO Gabriel Weinberg announced that it was going to down-rank sites that spread Russian disinformation. The response from many of its users, however, was different. While companies including Apple, Meta, Amazon, and, yes, Google, have largely been praised in the United States for pulling out of Russia, DuckDuckGo was attacked.”

From the Ohio Web Library: