Ex-Googler Answers Why Google Search is Worsening

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An ex-Googler named Marissa Mayer appeared on the Freakonomics podcast to talk about the subject of whether Google is becoming worse. Mayer suggested that asking why Google Browse is worsening is the incorrect question. Her explanation of what is incorrect turns the spotlight back on the web itself.

Why Marissa Mayer’s Viewpoint Matters

Marissa Mayer was staff member # 20 at Google, overseeing engineers, ending up being director of consumer web products and was a part of the three-person group that dealt with producing AdWords.

Mayer dealt with many jobs, consisting of Google Images, News, Maps, and Gmail. She was at one point in charge of Regional, Maps, and Location Solutions.

She ultimately left Google to become the president and CEO of Yahoo! for five years.

There are couple of people on the planet with her level of expert knowledge of and history with search, which makes her views about the present state of search of terrific interest.

Freakonomics Podcast: Is Google Getting Worse?

The host of the podcast started the show by describing how in their experience Google is not as good as it used to be.


“The power of that discovery faded, as discoveries do, and we all started to take Google for granted.

When you needed some information, you just typed a couple of words into the search box and, extremely quickly, you got the answer you were looking for, typically from an authoritative source.

However today? To me, at least, it does not feel the same.

My search engine result simply do not seem as helpful.

I feel like I’m seeing more advertisements, more links that might too be advertisements, and more links to spammy web pages.”

Marissa Mayer Says Google is Just a Window

Marissa Mayer agreed that the search experience is various today.

But in her opinion the problem isn’t Google. The method she sees it, Google is just a window onto the Internet.

Mayer shared her viewpoint:

“I do think the quality of the Web has taken a hit.

… When I began at Google, there were about 30 million websites, so crawling them all and indexing them all was reasonably straightforward.

It sounds like a lot, but it’s small.

Today, I think there was one point where Google had seen more than a trillion URLs.”

The host of the show asked if the boost in the variety of URLs is the reason search results are worse.

Mayer answered:

“When you see the quality of your search results decrease, it’s natural to blame Google and resemble, ‘Why are they even worse?’

To me, the more interesting and advanced thought is if you say, ‘Wait, but Google’s just a window onto the web. The genuine concern is, why is the web becoming worse?’ “

Why is the Web Becoming Worse?

The host of the show went along with the concept that the issue is that the Web is worsening and, as Marissa recommended, he asked her why the web becoming worse.

Mayer used a description that deflects from Google and lays blame for bad search engine result on the web itself.

She explained the reason the web is even worse:

“I think since there’s a lot of financial incentive for misinformation, for clicks, for purchases.

There’s a lot more scams on the web today than there was twenty years back.

And I believe that the web has actually had the ability to grow and develop as rapidly as it has since of less policy and since it’s so worldwide.

But we also have to take the flipside of that.

In a relatively uncontrolled space, there’s going to be, you understand, economic mis-incentives that can often break down quality.

Which does put a great deal of onus on the brokers who are searching that info to try and conquer that. And it’s challenging.

It kind of has to be more, in my view, an ecosystem-style response, instead of simply an easy correction from one actor.”

Is the Problem Really the Internet?

The concept that the Web is low quality since it is reasonably unregulated is debatable.

There are federal government agencies committed to securing consumers from deceitful online activities. One example is the United States government Federal Trade Commission standards on advertising, endorsements and marketing. These rules are the reason why websites divulge they are profiting from affiliate links.

Google itself also regulates the Web through its publishing standards. Failure to abide by Google’s guidelines can result in exemption from the search results.

Google’s ability to regulate the Internet reaches the quality of material itself as evidenced by the truth that out of eight algorithm updates in 2022, 6 of them were concentrated on spam, product evaluations and demoting unhelpful content.

It could be said that Google’s algorithm updates shows that Google is more focused on repairing Internet material than it is on enhancing the innovation for returning relevant search results page.

That a lot of Google’s efforts is concentrated on motivating an “ecosystem-style reaction” lines up with Marissa Mayer’s observation that the issue with search is the websites and not Google.

Is Google Search even worse since sites today are worse or is the problem with Google itself and they simply can’t see it?


Listen to the Freakonomics podcast:

Is Google Getting Worse?

Featured image by Best SMM Panel/Asier Romero