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Sunday, November 29 Front Page >> Random Rants >> Google's a Pimpin'

Feb 08, 2004, 12:05am

So, I dunno about you, but I'm not trusting Google much these days. The search results have been going downhill steadily for at least the last year, but it's been in the last few month especially that I've noticed how bad the engine has become.

Here's an example. I need an ultra compact digicam to complement my Canon Digital Rebel. One item I've been considering is the new SD card-based 1.3mpixel camera from HP: the Photosmart mobile camera. But I like to read independent reviews about a product before I buy. So I went to Google, and did a search, using the words review photosmart mobile camera.

It turned up heaps of pages for the camera. But look at the results (click that link above)... The first four links are for Bizrate and Amazon. Bought links. The next two were incorrect - they were for printers, not the camera. The next several on the page are, again, bought for links that don't contain reviews for the product. One is a fukkin' redirect to some eBay search engine!

There was a time when, if I typed in review photosmart mobile camera, Google would return a) HP's information page, b) reviews, actual reviews of the product (if they existed). Not so today.

And just in case you think, well, maybe there aren't any reviews of that camera? No, there's several reviews online. Here's one I found via a newsgroup search, and another.

Or what if I want to find information on how to do something? We all use Google for that, right? Recently, Jeanette got a Tungsten T2 Palm, and I wanted to figure out how to let it communicate via Bluetooth to my Sony Ericsson P800 smartphone, sharing the 'Net connection. So I tried more than a few different searches.

None of the search results provided the answers I was looking for, at least not on the first two or three pages of each. But every single one of the searches had one thing in common. All the top results were from commerce sites, or shopping "compare" sites, and in a few cases, they pointed to PDA sites, but the announcement or "partnership" pages.

Sigh. Basically, Google has become a big ass commercial, pimping for commerce companies paying for links. It no longer returns the results we have come to expect from the search engine. Maybe it's time to move on from Google's pimped results. But what else is out there though?

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