An ex-Googler called Marissa Mayer appeared on the Freakonomics podcast to talk about the subject of whether Google is worsening. Mayer suggested that asking why Google Search is becoming worse is the wrong concern. Her description of what is wrong turns the spotlight back on the internet itself.
Why Marissa Mayer’s Viewpoint Matters
Marissa Mayer was worker # 20 at Google, managing engineers, becoming director of consumer web products and belonged of the three-person team that dealt with developing AdWords.
Mayer dealt with numerous tasks, including Google Images, News, Maps, and Gmail. She was at one point in charge of Regional, Maps, and Location Solutions.
She ultimately left Google to end up being the president and CEO of Yahoo! for five years.
There are few people in the world with her level of expert understanding of and history with search, which makes her views about the present state of search of fantastic interest.
Freakonomics Podcast: Is Google Becoming Worse?
The host of the podcast began the show by explaining how in their experience Google is not as great as it utilized to be.
“The power of that discovery faded, as revelations do, and all of us began to take Google for given.
When you needed some information, you just typed a couple of words into the search box and, very quickly, you got the answer you were trying to find, usually from an authoritative source.
However today? To me, at least, it does not feel the exact same.
My search results simply don’t seem as beneficial.
I seem like I’m seeing more ads, more links that might also be ads, and more links to spammy websites.”
Marissa Mayer Says Google is Simply a Window
Marissa Mayer agreed that the search experience is different today.
But in her opinion the problem isn’t Google. The method she sees it, Google is just a window onto the Web.
Mayer shared her viewpoint:
“I do think the quality of the Web has actually taken a hit.
… When I began at Google, there had to do with 30 million web pages, so crawling them all and indexing them all was relatively uncomplicated.
It seems like a lot, but it’s little.
Today, I think there was one point where Google had actually seen more than a trillion URLs.”
The host of the program asked if the boost in the number of URLs is the reason that search results page are even worse.
Mayer responded to:
“When you see the quality of your search results page decrease, it’s natural to blame Google and be like, ‘Why are they even worse?’
To me, the more interesting and sophisticated idea is if you state, ‘Wait, however Google’s simply a window onto the web. The genuine concern is, why is the web becoming worse?’ “
Why is the Web Worsening?
The host of the program went along with the concept that the issue is that the Internet is becoming worse and, as Marissa suggested, he asked her why the web worsening.
Mayer used a description that deflects from Google and lays blame for bad search engine result on the web itself.
She discussed the reason the web is even worse:
“I think due to the fact that there’s a lot of financial incentive for false information, for clicks, for purchases.
There’s a lot more scams online today than there was 20 years ago.
And I believe that the web has had the ability to grow and develop as rapidly as it has due to the fact that of less regulation and since it’s so international.
But we also have to take the flipside of that.
In a reasonably uncontrolled area, there’s going to be, you know, financial mis-incentives that can sometimes break down quality.
And that does put a great deal of onus on the brokers who are searching that info to try and get rid of that. And it’s challenging.
It sort of needs to be more, in my view, an ecosystem-style reaction, instead of just a simple correction from one actor.”
Is the Problem Truly the Web?
The idea that the Web is low quality due to the fact that it is relatively uncontrolled is arguable.
There are federal government agencies dedicated to protecting consumers from deceitful online activities. One example is the United States federal government Federal Trade Commission guidelines on advertising, recommendations and marketing. These rules are the reason that sites disclose they are benefiting from affiliate links.
Google itself likewise controls the Web through its publishing standards. Failure to follow Google’s guidelines can lead to exemption from the search results page.
Google’s capability to regulate the Web encompasses the quality of content itself as evidenced by the fact that out of eight algorithm updates in 2022, six of them were concentrated on spam, product reviews and benching unhelpful content.
It might be said that Google’s algorithm updates shows that Google is more focused on repairing Internet content than it is on improving the innovation for returning pertinent search results.
That a lot of Google’s efforts is concentrated on encouraging an “ecosystem-style reaction” lines up with Marissa Mayer’s observation that the issue with search is the websites and not Google.
Is Google Browse even worse due to the fact that websites today are even worse or is the issue with Google itself and they simply can’t see it?
Listen to the Freakonomics podcast:
Is Google Worsening?
Featured image by Best SMM Panel/Asier Romero