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Former Google Exec: Traditional Search Market Shrinking

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the queries-go-unanswered dept.

Facebook 184

An anonymous reader writes "Former Google executive Stafford Masie believes that traditional search is dying because users are choosing to query their friends and followers on services like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Here's the quote from the video: 'The pie of search query volumes in the world – that business is shrinking. Why? Because people are going and doing search queries – search query volumes are moving towards social containers. They're moving away from static pages being searched and they're moving more towards dynamic real-time stream content. Like Twitter. Like Tumblr. Like Facebook. Those things have a better result because the penetration, the personalization associated with it, and the constant freshness of the content. So I believe that Google's search volume – the business Google is in on the search side – that business is shrinking. And they've got to do something about it.'"

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184 comments

Oh really? (4, Interesting)

bhagwad (1426855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38966987)

How many here have ever posted a question on social networks asking their friends which laptop/smartphone etc. to buy? I don't. I either start from Google or go directly to Amazon.

I think "social search" is massively hyped up.

Re:Oh really? (4, Interesting)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967041)

Social search? No thanks.

One person I know only buys what Which Magazine recommends. Everything he owns is "top" of Which's ratings. And they all have some pretty killer problems or cost the earth, and he gets nothing more done than someone who buys the cheapest things out of Tesco.

And just how many of my friends know what an indexable skiplist is, or the correct invocation of a particularl Windows API function, or a system for library cataloguing that integrates with AD, or the name of that guy in the film with that other guy? Precisely zero. If you've stopped tapping things into Google and are instead tapping them into Twitter or Facebook then, let's be honest, they probably weren't really worth asking in the first place. And anyone that answers will use Google to find the thing they read about that topic last week, etc.

Not only do I not believe it, I think that it could only be a good thing to stop Google having to deal with "Who saw Eastenders the other night? Did Jack find his long-last father?" when it could be dealing with my queries which need a mite more data and research.

Re:Oh really? (4, Informative)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967291)

And just how many of my friends know what an indexable skiplist is, or the correct invocation of a particularl Windows API function, or a system for library cataloguing that integrates with AD, or the name of that guy in the film with that other guy? Precisely zero. If you've stopped tapping things into Google and are instead tapping them into Twitter or Facebook then, let's be honest, they probably weren't really worth asking in the first place. And anyone that answers will use Google to find the thing they read about that topic last week, etc.

Ahh you've ALMOST isolated the perfect market for "social search". Many replies on /. to questions are of the form of "here are the google search terms you didn't know to search for".

Example made up "ask /." question scenario: "Dear Penthouse Letters ^H ^H ^H err I mean Dear Slashdot, I maintain a medium size herd of Debian boxes from desktops to a compute cluster and I need to config them all the same and run a bunch of scripts on all of them once in a while. Oh noes what shall I do?". You'll get answers like "google for dish distributed shell, then run dish based scripts from a crontab" and "Google for puppetlabs and puppet" and "google for the following James Turnbull Jeff McCune Pro Puppet" If the dude knew what terms to google for, he wouldn't have to bug us here to begin with.

Re:Oh really? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38967697)

That sounds like StackOverflow, which I search via Google... :)

Re:Oh really? (2)

ProbablyJoe (1914672) | more than 2 years ago | (#38968519)

It always amuses me a bit when I come across posts on StackOverflow or other tech forums where one of the answers is "Google for it" - which I found by googling it. The world needs people to ask the simple questions first so that people can google their answers later!

Re:Oh really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38968451)

Do a Google search on 'indexable skip list'...there's almost no ads displayed (I got one at the bottom for 'Indexable milling cutters') All the things you've indicated that social search isn't good at are also things that don't really make a whole lot of money. On the other hand, things like 'LED flatscreen TV reviews' will yield a ton of ads and that's the type of thing that social search is really good at. Do you want to see yet another CNET review from CES or do you want to see a Facebook post from a friend of a friend about setting up his cool new flatscreen. That's debatable, but that's the kinds of search that he's talking about and it's the kind that matter because it's the kind that can be monetized. If Google loses those, they'll be in trouble because all the documentation searches that we /.ers do so much of won't make them much money at all.

Re:Oh really? (4, Informative)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967097)

I think this is a major factor - people know where to find information now without having to ask Google. They know about Amazon, they know about Wikipedia, they know about their favorite news sites.

Google has its use, but people aren't having to use Google to find everything the way they used to.

Re:Oh really? (2)

wanzeo (1800058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967189)

My ideal search engine would be a meta-search to access a specific set of domains.

For instance, I would love to be able to search only the shopping sites I choose, only the journal databases I choose, only the encyclopedias I choose, and only the social networks I choose, only the news websites I choose, etc, all from one search box. That gives you the freedom of using individual websites, with the convienence of a search engine.

DuckDuckGo is on the right track, but I would love even more customization.

Re:Oh really? (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967233)

Yeah, I think a mix is appropriate.

The "information" posted to Facebook and Twitter is of such low quality, I can't imagine wanting this to comprise most search results. I can just imagine searching for a topic and seeing a million inane posts where people take pictures of their dinner plates or write things that start with "OMG!"

Re:Oh really? (4, Informative)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967227)

I think this is a major factor - people know where to find information now without having to ask Google. They know about Amazon, they know about Wikipedia, they know about their favorite news sites. Google has its use, but people aren't having to use Google to find everything the way they used to.

Well, I do. Rather than wrestle with learning where and how each site's search works, I just Google for what I want, plus, say "wiki" if I want the Wikipedia page, "amazon" for the Amazon page, (Rotten) "tomatoes" for move reviews, etc, etc. The hit on the desired site is always at or near the top.

Re:Oh really? (2)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967773)

That's not wholly the case. With something like Google and Bing, you can find a LOT more than just what new smartphone to buy.

Amazon doesn't have information on things like Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) systems, including the deployed systems. Wikipedia might have a good encyclopedic entry on the subject, but you won't find the scientific/engineering journals on the subject or the fact that the first system stored 300MW of power for 6 hours and that the second one stored 110 MW of energy for 26.

Google or Bing will have that information findable. The main reason there is an impression that it's "fading"- it's because it's difficult to find information because people have forgotten (or never knew...) how to ask the right questions for answers- and you have to frame queries with a bit of care to drive the two top search engines to their fullest.

Re:Oh really? (1)

brinix (838480) | more than 2 years ago | (#38968319)

I actually see the opposite, some of the search sites are not good enough so that it's easier to search their content on Google. This includes wikipedia if you don't know the exact term to search or the term is in the body.

Re:Oh really? (2)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967099)

No, that's exactly right. As a matter of fact, most of the big buying decisions are now accompanied by queries on FB. I don't use Twitter, so I can't tell there, but I know that FB status updates are including more and more things like "Anyone know a good realtor", "thinking of buying a laptop - suggestions", etc.

Google saw that coming, and knows that to continue to stay relevant, they have to get into the social search space, which requires having a social network. Facebook is never going to give anyone free access to their data.

Re:Oh really? (2)

El Torico (732160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967207)

I can see using FB when you're looking for a service provider such as a Realtor, Contractor, Doctor, etc. since those kinds of businesses are built on reputation. I don't see where it's useful in comparing products, since they are measured and reviewed on different web sites. Then again, your friends may have a LOT of stuff.

Re:Oh really? (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967285)

People like plumbers and builders tend not to have good IT skills or they got a bundle with the host website which is crap. So google would have been no help anyway. FB does do this type of thing better. Some type of trade you only want to use if another person has used them before.

Re:Oh really? (3, Insightful)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967819)

Facebook? Really? Faceplant's nothing more than a batch of people doing a "dig-me" thing on the Internet- and I'm one of it's users.

I wouldn't have even thought about looking for plumbers via Faceplant. Most of my associates (and I can heartily assure you that most of them aren't as computer savvy as I am...) on Facebook wouldn't have thought of looking for a plumber by asking a question of their friends like that. They'd have let their fingers do the walking in the yellow pages, meatspace or online. Sorry, not buying it.

Re:Oh really? (1)

chronoglass (1353185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38968523)

there will always be people that are slow to adapt/adopt.. just the way these things work.
as usual, this doesn't mean it's not happening.

I hadn't noticed really.. until I started looking at facebook again, but yup, they are out there. and I have been seeing more and more of em in twitter.

Re:Oh really? (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 2 years ago | (#38968605)

Well, within a group of sad old adults, that own houses and have to spend money to fix the house they own. It is acceptable to ask these sad questions.
When you are going to pay 10,000.00 GBP = 15,825.27 USD for a new roof .. Trust me, you'll ask around to see who knows someone and find out how good they are first. Good luck with trusting some cowboy you found on line with a nice website and no recommendation.
I'm in the middle of a house renovation and most of the people i've asked to do work have done work for someone I spoke to first. I talk to these people on facebook and in the pub.
I don't go looking for trades directly, I ask people I'm friends with (or the other 300+) I've just met once doing meatspace related things, if they've used anyone before for a certain job before and would they recommend them?.
Your not buying that? Do you not believe in any word of mouth at all?

Re:Oh really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38967489)

Yeah, but then you still use google to find actual product reviews, places that sell the product you decide on and to compare prices.

In the end those things are going to command more advertising dollars

Re:Oh really? (1)

slyrat (1143997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38968001)

Google saw that coming, and knows that to continue to stay relevant, they have to get into the social search space, which requires having a social network. Facebook is never going to give anyone free access to their data.

Google is already working on this. They are slowly merging the ability to have g+ searched with the user in mind when you are searching from google's home page.

Re:Oh really? (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967103)

I have, but that was only one component to my searching. I also queried Google and Amazon to check on pricing/features/reviews. Sometimes I'll also go to a brick-and-mortar store to see it in action. Social search has become part of my tool-set, but it hasn't tossed out all of the other tools.

Slashdot readers are being asked (2)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967163)

Slashdot readers are being asked. Slashdot readers are not the ones who ask.

The average knowledge about laptops/smartphones here is several magnitudes better than that in the laymen layer.

Buy? (4, Interesting)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967183)

When I search I want information, not opinion.

I'm fairly sure the guy has a startup he's trying to peddle. Just wait for the IPO.

Having said that Google's search has noticeably deteriorated over the last couple of years. I often have to hit the Nth page now to find stuff I'm looking for.

Re:Buy? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38967723)

Google's results do seem to be deteriorating. They've also been claiming they are going to adapt all these social search tactics mentioned above. It sounds pretty horrible to me. In an effort to use past searches, locational data, and social networks to serve up what we want google has turned their search into a giant mirror that is just serving up some reflection of what we already think rather than the answers and new information we might be looking for.

Re:Buy? (2)

RoknrolZombie (2504888) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967835)

That's what most people want, anyway...not answers, but confirmation that what they assumed was already correct.

Re:Buy? (2)

Brucelet (1857158) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967779)

I wonder if some of that is a reflection not of problems with google but instead of a deterioration of the overall quality of the internet.

Re:Buy? (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967841)

I guess that this is a YMMV thing. I've not had to dig more than 2-3 pages in and often it's still on the first page or the first link when I place a query. I guess it's more in how you frame your searches.

Re:Buy? (0)

softWare3ngineer (2007302) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967871)

Having said that Google's search has noticeably deteriorated over the last couple of years. I often have to hit the Nth page now to find stuff I'm looking for.

I switched to http://duckduckgo.com/ [duckduckgo.com] a few weeks ago. I find it is much better at returning actual sites instead the long form posts that mentioned questions, but lacked actual information past that.

Re:Google's search has noticeably deteriorated (2)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967941)

Some notes:

We all know how the intelligence curve works, right? Really smart ranges get *more rare*, while Google's PageRank values *more common* results. So the link farm companies had their day building 100 sites that all link to each other with little else on it but a list of hit words.

What we need is an engine that gives smart answers, now How is Babby Formed type stuff. Problem is there might be only 5 copies of a good answer out there, and lots of junk ones.

Re:Buy? (0)

Flammon (4726) | more than 2 years ago | (#38968059)

Having said that Google's search has noticeably deteriorated over the last couple of years. I often have to hit the Nth page now to find stuff I'm looking for.

You're doing it wrong. If the results on the first page are off, refine your search. Manual searching should be a last resort.

Re:Buy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38968107)

The guys trying to push Facebook. Facebook has been railing hard on Google, mostly market rhetoric to hype up their own IPO, if you ask me. That said, Google going the monetise route with people essentially being able to buy top of the fold results with sponsored results has significantly deteriorated the value and usability of Google's search results.

Re:Oh really? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38967187)

I asked people in my Google circles, my LinkedIn page, inside Facebook, and the two car forums I moderate if they knew anything about Stafford Masie. I'm still waiting for a response.

Re:Oh really? (2)

AlXtreme (223728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967259)

But you know what you are looking for, confident that you know what you want and are willing to invest time to weigh all the pro's and con's.

A friend of mine asked about getting a new iPhone or a SGII yesterday on Facebook. After a host of replies he went out and got a SGII. He trusts the opinions of his friends more than the various reviews and technical specs he would find at Google and Amazon.

I do doubt this type of 'search' will impact Google's bottom line though, previously he would simply ask for opinions in person. But I can imagine it would be lucrative to place an iPhone or SGII advertisement next to such a question on Facebook.

Re:Oh really? (2)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967797)

this is a weak attempt at something...

social media is being ignored by many and actively rejected by most of us here. we are a minority but very few of us are all that enamoured by the spy networks (er, I mean social networks).

are you guys running out of ideas? seems so. so, lets try the concept of search AND this social media stuff. maybe we can make some new money and get people to do even more corporate-serving things?

the more 'new' things I see companies try, the less I'm a fan of the internet, overall. its being perverted into new, strange things and I'm not liking the directions its being pulled.

Yes, really (0)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38968209)

Most people just go to the store or ask a techie friend. They don't do Google research.

If you don't think traditional search is a dead-end, then maybe you'd like to explain why Google is turning its search engine upside-down and integrating Google+ everywhere in spite of the uproar. It's because Facebook has outright replaced the web for many people--email, news, videos, casual games, it's all coming through Facebook. Google knows that social is the future and that if they don't do something, they'll just be another Infoseek getting replaced by some hot, new thing.

Of course that's not going to ring true for a site full of Linux-loving techies who avoid social networks and think searching for esoteric computer parts is what everybody does. But in the mainstream, people are using Facebook all day long for almost all communication now.

shrinking? (5, Funny)

amunds0n (2562195) | more than 2 years ago | (#38966999)

No wonder he is a "former" exec...

Re:shrinking? (1)

ameen.ross (2498000) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967017)

What I'm wondering is: how did he manage to become a former exec in the first place?

Re:shrinking? (1)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967085)

What I'm wondering is: how did he manage to become a former exec in the first place?

Not knowing about the existence of G+ for starters.

Re:shrinking? (1)

ameen.ross (2498000) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967879)

Hm, allow me to rephrase my previous comment

How did he manage to become an exec in the first place?

Re:shrinking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38967117)

he searched his social network for new business strategies...

Re:shrinking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38967789)

He can google the phrase "sour grapes".

step 3) profit (5, Insightful)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967007)

Or maybe volume is shrinking because Google has gone from an actual search engine to a giant shopping, friendfinder, news aggregator and becoming less useful by the minute.

Re:step 3) profit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38967029)

Yep. Googzilla is starting to scare people away. A number of my friends have started to use alternate tools to googles offerings.

Re:step 3) profit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38967169)

Yeah, I remember back in the day when I could Google a product name, and actually find useful information about the product. I tried that this weekend, and never found a meaningful result. All I got was seller pages - even after excluding tons of words (that still showed up in the results anyway).

Re:step 3) profit (5, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967359)

Or maybe search volume is not actually shrinking. Relevant quote, "I believe that Google's search volume...that business is shrinking." Does he anywhere provide any evidence that what he believes is true? He mentions an anecdote about how he queried friends on social media when he was looking for a restaraunt, that is not evidence. That is opinion. If there is any solid evidence it is not mentioned in either of the articles linked in the summary. One can postulate all the reasons one likes as to why Google's search volume is shrinking, but first one needs to establish that it is, in fact, shrinking.

Re:step 3) profit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38968097)

Shhh, it's clearly about the Facebook IPO - just look at the icon the /. editors picked for this not-suppose-to-be-fucking-happening-pro-facebook-press-pre-IPO - besides, if we all pretend to believe it lord Zuckercunt will gain another billion, w00t!

Yeah right (1)

Karth (14680) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967009)

I'll ask my friends for a recommendation once I've done a local search, but I'll use a text message to a person, not facebook or some other social media. Post it on facebook and the signal/noise ratio sucks.

Re:Yeah right (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967471)

I'll ask my friends for a recommendation once I've done a local search, but I'll use a text message to a person, not facebook or some other social media. Post it on facebook and the signal/noise ratio sucks.

That's where G+ rules and FB sucks. You ask FB to for the best active current regulator bias circuit for a ERA-3 MMIC using all SMD parts and you get "yo doggg I hear you like MMICs" or "is that a kind of weed pipe?" at best. You ask your G+ ham radio builders circle and you get three guys who've already been there / done that.

The reverse is true. You post "how bout that ball game" on G+ and the ham radio circle as a group tells you to F off and keep that shite out of their circle. That kind of triviality is what FB was meant for.

I deleted my FB a couple years ago now, but I'll keep G+ around for awhile, I think.

Re:Yeah right (1)

instagib (879544) | more than 2 years ago | (#38968269)

That kind of triviality is what FB was meant for.

Excellent analysis. And as most people have the desire to "communicate" about every day trivialities while using their brains as little as possible, FB rules the internet every day a little bit more.
FB is basically the culmination of Eternal September.

Key Word: "FORMER" Google Exec (5, Interesting)

coinreturn (617535) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967031)

Utter nonsense. When I need an obscure part for a broken appliance, I will not be asking my facebook friends. I will always use Google (or other search engine). It is just too instantaneous to ignore.

Re:Key Word: "FORMER" Google Exec (1)

Xeranar (2029624) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967199)

Beat me to it. Former is a keyword here. Google is going to lose on some restaurant searches and other social questions but really...their volume isn't going to go down in a realistic way.

Re:Key Word: "FORMER" Google Exec (2)

El Torico (732160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967275)

Utter nonsense. When I need an obscure part for a broken appliance, I will not be asking my facebook friends. I will always use Google (or other search engine). It is just too instantaneous to ignore.

One day in the near future there will be a web site where you can find a plan for that broken part and then hit the "make this" button. Of course, there's a real chance that the abuses of "Intellectual Property" (gasp!) will prevent this from ever happening.

Re:Key Word: "FORMER" Google Exec (-1, Flamebait)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38968125)

You're the second person to post something like this, where your example is asking for some kind of esoteric technical knowledge. Do you really not see that you don't represent the mainstream? How do you not see that the shrinking demand for search is why Google is so forcefully integrating Google+ everywhere? Facebook is replacing the web for many people.

No (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38967045)

No, search is shrinking because the search "algorithms" are going to shit...

First, I don't want the search engines to "figure out" what I really want, I want it to give me what I ask for!

Second, I don't want slowness and crap on the screen (I stopped using the Google search webpage when they introduced that stupid fill-it as you type shit -- and No, I don't plan to be logged in to get something "custom"), so I now use zuulu... (but truthfully, I am on the lookout for a Google replacement, and No, BING doesn't even come close due to #1 above).

Third, have the right priorities, the priorities (if you want my search business) is to provide the links that actually have what I want, not a tonne of advertising with some buzz words (this used to work but when $$ got involved it seems these are always in the top 10 query results).

Just my one cent worth....

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38968383)

You _sometimes_ want to give you exactly what you ask for. Most of the times you don't know exact words to search, so, for example, giving you results for "regular expressions" when you typed "regex" is rather useful.

You want verbatim - use quotes or switch to verbatim mode (on Google it's in "More search tools" sidebar).

For second, just turn off JS. I browse the web with JS off by default, whitelisting it for some sites.

No help with third, though. Search companies want to eat too, so you'll have to deal with it at any search engine.

Didn't they teach this guy? (1)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967063)

You shouldn't trash your former employer? Especially in public?

Re:Didn't they teach this guy? (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967417)

You shouldn't trash your former employer? Especially in public?

Trash them? He just described - rather conveniently, I think - exactly what his former employer announced they were going to start doing, just a couple weeks ago.

I think this is probably a really badly thought out attempt at a whisper campaign.

Um... (3, Insightful)

thestudio_bob (894258) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967093)

Maybe it's shrinking for Google, but maybe because more and more people are using alternatives. Like me.

And I want to go on record saying that the entire "Social Search" model is one of the stupidest ideas google has ever come up with. All of my friends and family have different career backgrounds and their own personal likes, when your using a search engine for reference, like for coding, my friend's FaceBook page is not going to help me out.

Re:Um... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38967689)

Or those in your social circle may depend on YOU to deliver their content to THEM. So if you're considered to be a resource on a topic that interests you and your social circle then you're screwed. Only your friends benefit.)

Re:Um... (1)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967861)

But... your Facebook page could help you with your feelings about coding... /snark

Cart before the horse (2)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38968459)

Maybe it's shrinking for Google, but maybe because more and more people are using alternatives.

A former Google exec says he believes that traditional search volume is shrinking (but offers no reason for other people to share this belief) and then spends a lot of time offering explanations for what factors might be causing the effect which he hasn't provided any reason to believe is happening in the first place.

It's fairly rational be skeptical that the effect is happening at all. Its less rational to assume that the general effect asserted by the former exec without any substantiation is a real effect, but that it is specifically effecting Google rather than general traditional search. That's just more pushing personal bias as explanation for (yet another) phenomenon for which no evidence has been provided.

Let's see some reason to believe that there is an effect to explain before offering explanations for it.

Wait...WAT?! (1)

AtomicSymphonic (2570041) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967137)

Already? Geez, Google's still the top page visited on the internet, and he's saying this? Then again, he could be one that's looking into the future where Google may not necessarily exist any more...

Google search has become more about $, less geek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38967145)

Google is becoming less like Usenet, and more like Amazon-was.

Was
Usenet = 100% geek stuff
Amazon = 90% where-to-buy 10% user ratings
Yahoo = Social stuff
Google = 90% Geek stuff, 10% manufacturers support

Now
Amazon 70% where to buy - 30% user ratings
Yahoo = What? What?
Google = 70% where to buy somehting 25% useful information, 5% links to other search engines.

Re:Google search has become more about $, less gee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38968449)

You forgot:

Now
Usenet = mostly dead

F-A-D (3, Interesting)

DogDude (805747) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967149)

I don't know who this guy is or what his history with Google was, but he sounds just like every other talking head pundit/consultant that is blathering on about social media changing the world and such crap. It's a very popular fad whose time is just about up.

Topical sites cause traditional search to shrink (3, Insightful)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967153)

Traditional search is shrinking (but, mind you, is far from dying) because of huge topical sites that finally managed to develop good search engines. It's far easier to search Wikipedia, IMDB or Youtube for whatever content you are looking for than shuffling through the results of Google that will take you to those sites anyway.

Re:Topical sites cause traditional search to shrin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38967435)

All these sites have "powered by Google" search.

Re:Topical sites cause traditional search to shrin (2)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967517)

I don't think these sites are building good search engines. Even when I know the information is on Wikipedia or IMDB, I'd rather use Google to search them.

To give an example - I just tried "site:imdb.com Gyllenhaal secretary" on Google. Unsurprisingly it led me to the IMDB page for the movie Secretary [imdb.com] in which she (very sexily) stars. On the other hand, putting in the search terms "Gyllenhaal" and "secretary" in the IMDB search box, gives me a lots of info on ... Kofi Annan. (Nothing against the man, but I'd be surprised if he was in *any* spanking movie, yet alone a really good one.) There is a link to Maggie Gyllenhaal on the page as well, but nothing leading directly to the movie.

Even if I don't know much about the advanced features of Google, just putting in the search terms into Google - without the "site:imdb.com" part - would give me a full page of relevant results, a youtube clip of the intro to the movie, the IMDB page, the wikipedia entry etc.

Essentially if people are using the IMDB search engine to look for stuff on IMDB, then they are not using the full potential of that site. If Google's share of the search market is shrinking because of that, then they should try and make people aware just how much better they are at searching.

Re:Topical sites cause traditional search to shrin (1)

El Torico (732160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967875)

Kofi Annan was in that? Wow, the things I learn from the Internets.

Re:Topical sites cause traditional search to shrin (1)

tOaOMiB (847361) | more than 2 years ago | (#38968235)

Sure...but on the other hand, as soon as you start typing "Gy" into imdb, Gyllenhaal comes up complete with a photo and a big-name movie (for both Jake and Maggie). And if you type in secretary, it brings up an option to go straight to the movie page--without even having to type Gyllenhaal too. So I'd say that's quite a win for imdb. You don't need to know who is in the movie, you don't need to be able to spell "Gyllenhaal"....

Re:Topical sites cause traditional search to shrin (1)

c (8461) | more than 2 years ago | (#38968321)

> Nothing against the man, but I'd be surprised if he was in *any* spanking
> movie, yet alone a really good one.

Nice try, but I am not googling "Kofi Annan spanking movie".

Two kinds of users (1)

fnj (64210) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967161)

The internet is populated by two kinds of users. People who get it, and stupid clueless losers. Always has been. Only now, the stupid clueless losers have their own walled garden: Facebook. So now the stupid clueless users are not forced to get a clue and use real tools, however poorly. They are free to become even more clueless day by day while using the abortion Facebook.

Re:Two kinds of users (1)

KarolisP (1538799) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967251)

This is probably a permanent thing and applies for many areas, some people plow earth with tractors, some with horses, and some by hand...
Some computer users ( somewhere into 90% ), don't even know that you can search ANY site for a single word they are looking for

it's a shame really that same applies for money, but it's measured how much of a fucked up and usually immoral personality you are to get over other peoples heads.

Re:Two kinds of users (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967305)

Despite your harsh language, I believe you are completely right...

Re:Two kinds of users (1)

Sir_Eptishous (873977) | more than 2 years ago | (#38968143)

I couldn't have said it better. Bravo!

Former employee talks down about former employer (1)

Yogs (592322) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967195)

I'm shocked I tell you.

And to do so because Google isn't "social" enough. What an original thought in these days leading up to the facebook ipo!

Not good. (2)

enigma32 (128601) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967205)

Personally, I don't give a crap about what my idiot friends "liked". I want search to find things that are relevant- not necessarily just popular.
I hope his view isn't shared by google.

Re:Not good. (1)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967333)

Google fills a definite niche. If they leave it, I have no doubt that someone else will swoop in to fill it.

Re:Not good. (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967355)

Me too. I'm starting to get tired of hype around the Facebook, especially for having concluded that it is the biggest waste of time and privacy threat that I have ever seen.

Re:Not good. (1)

sudon't (580652) | more than 2 years ago | (#38968229)

Actually, Google's original algorithm was in large part based on popularity. But now they are trying to figure out what you want to see based on your own past searches, or rather Google's profile of you, rather than giving objective results. Much like Facebook tries to decide who's posts you want to see. I use Ixquick alot now.

This guy needs to be fired (1)

Strykar (1161463) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967235)

Social? Please. The majority of my friends using Facebook couldn't be trusted with advice for my new car, much less anything of more value. I'll do my own searches and filter thru TYVM.

Re:This guy needs to be fired (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38967639)

Well, the original article headline does] say "Former" Exec.

I don't buy it. (1)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967325)

Maybe as a part of the pie - but I think the pie is growing faster, and doubt the absolute volume is shrinking. Too bad TFAs don't have, you know, actual numbers.

One might ask one's friends about what phone to buy, or what's good in music, or what Joe Schmoe's phone number is; one might query a professional network for the answer to an complex algorithm or how many pineapples were exported from Hawaii last year, but at the end of the day, each of these questions is likely to be followed up by a Google type search.

Throw in smart phone use, and no, I just don't see the absolute volume shrinking.

bitter former employee (2)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967343)

with investments elsewhere disses google. ok. twitter as a search agent? for what? where to eat? even if I asked a friend if they like their new car that doesn't mean I'm buying it (and certainly not without more than 'oh yeah its great' which can often really mean 'Its not as good as I thought so leave me alone I dont want to be embarassed stop asking me questions!;)

The area I think google (and the other search agents) can improve is relevancy and classification of results. Search is not dying but its growth rate may hae peaked in the developed world (who is not online? what would make you search more than you do now (on average)?)

Depends on the search... (1)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967395)

I guess it depends on what you're looking for.

Opinions, of course, are a good thing to look for on Facebook/social networks. Factual information isn't; even if the information you get is good they're probably just going to end up sending you to a result they got through Google anyway. It's also a decent place to look--assuming your friends have similar interests--if you don't know how to formulate the query you want. For example, sometimes when I'm searching Google I spend the first couple of searches just trying to figure out what the search term I'm looking for is. Search engines don't tend to do well when you can only describe a concept and not name it, but other human beings are really good at parsing that sort of thing, assuming they know the answer.

Local information is also good if you have local Facebook friends. Finding a contractor, for example, or a daycare or dog walker or whatever. These people have to be local to you anyway, so if your friends have any experience with those local businesses their opinions are going to be highly valuable.

Factual searches, searches where you know exactly what you want and just need to find it, those aren't great for social networks. You're just offloading the work of actually searching onto your friends.

So is he right that the search market is shrinking? Yeah, I'm sure he is. The better question, however, is whether it is shrinking in any meaningful way.

Re:Depends on the search... (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 2 years ago | (#38968353)

Opinions, of course, are a good thing to look for on Facebook/social networks. Factual information isn't;

How do I *search* for opinions of others on Facebook?

That's not even possible.

Not that I really disagree with what you're saying, but you (and maybe TFV, which I didnd't watch) are basically comparing querying a database with asking friends? I'd agree that that's "kind of a database", too, but so is asking Slashdot, or Stackoverflow, or any forum really. That always existed, it even predated the web (think newsgroups), and to me, that's what you do when you don't find the answer with a search engine, or on sites you know to be knowledgeable on the subject (I'd have thought that Wikipedia alone is taking a bigger chunk out of search engines than Facebook by the way, heh).

So what changed? I don't get it :(

Before this article, the idea to search for anything meaningful on Facebook didn't even occur to me. Now it occured to me, and I dismiss it as the stupid idea it is :D Posting something on the wall for friends, that's not any different from emailing people in my mind.. and it has fuck all to do with Facebook or other "social apps", me and people I like, or strangers who have interesting things to say, bring that to the party, and take it away when we leave. It's like a bus stop doesn't create "traveling", curious people do. A good bus should have not flat tires etc., and also, it should shut the fuck up already. Now that's a good bus worth paying the fare, and that's what goes completely over the heads of a lot of web monkeys.

Nice crowd sourced search engine. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38967397)

I've found a nice crowd sourced search engine, 4chan.org/b/

i asked this at my google interviews (2)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967559)

I've interviewed with 10 different people at Google. I asked every one what they thought google would do when facebook took over the search space because people wanted to go to the sites their friends recommended rather than search for pages. No one had an answer. Their other current services are so much smaller, the company is going to have to go through radical downsizing if they can't come up with an answer to this.

Re:i asked this at my google interviews (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38968263)

Whether Google can continue to innovate is one thing.
But your question is stupid.
People always did go to sites their friends recommend.
Why do you think it will make the need to search for information disappear?

Premium Google (1)

koan (80826) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967585)

They will start charging for some or all of the services (besides search) however I find it hard to believe that more people want to search is social networking, that maybe because I find things like Facebook banal, and Twitter narcissistic, I continue to hope that I'm just cynical, but maybe most people are stupid and stuck on themselves and the triviality of their friends.

"Former" being the keyword (1)

alteveer (979070) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967609)

The most basic user story:

1. go to www.google.com.
2. search.

is really how people are getting shit done. I can see niche search, like Wolfram, or maps.google.com, or Amazon for products, but social search is bs.

People search directly from the site they're at (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38967681)

I read somewhere about 2 years ago that YouTube was the #2 search tool. If you want to look at a video, people go directly to YouTube to find the video. Why go to Google for that extra step?

Re:People search directly from the site they're at (1)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967889)

I don't normally go to google to search youtube, but I have noticed relevant results from time to time and have used the link, resulting in a very good find.

"Dying" is the King of bad metaphors. (4, Insightful)

ugglybabee (2435320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38967745)

Every blip or countertrend will always be accompanied by some jackass on the internet explaining how some established paradigm is "dying". Usually, it's some tech blogger desperately trying to goad readers into clicking on his story by being provocative, and it's usually a loaded question, because actually saying what is implied is flat-out ridiculous. When Linux on the desktop finally reaches two per cent. Some jackass will post a blog with the title "IS MICROSOFT DYING?" It's really really really overdone, especially when you consider that it's nonsense. Dying means that Death is imminent, and death is nonexistence. You could argue that nothing that isn't a life form can die in the first place, and you'd usually be right. People are still putting on Greek tragedies. Indeed, somebody somewhere is probably WRITING a Greek tragedy. So Greek Tragedy is not dead. It's not even dying. And "traditional internet search"? Hell, that doesn't make any sense either. Has the web been around long enough that anything about it can be considered "traditional"? Besides bullshit, I mean.

Google "Exec" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38968013)

Never heard of him. I had to Google him to find out that he was Google South Africa Country Manager from 2007 to 2009...

More "executive-think", like how the prevailing (1)

spads (1095039) | more than 2 years ago | (#38968019)

sentiment of optimal job hunting strategy was to go out and start asking everyone you meet on the street, up to and including canines and sign posts.

Should file this under "dumpster diving"

What if all your friends are idiots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38968137)

What if all your friends are idiots?

Competing to answer dumb questions (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#38968255)

Google has been optimizing their system to provide better answers to dumb questions. This reflects the most popular searches asked of Google. [google.com] Google has strengthened their emphasis on currency, locality, and popularity, at the expense of depth. The general observation is that Google has been "dumbed down".

That emphasis puts Google in direct competition with social networks, which are, of course, focused on currency, locality, and popularity. That's a problem for Google. Especially since the social networks all have their own internal search capabilities.

Google still has some big competitive advantages. The biggest is that ads on search results are presented when someone is looking for something, and thus aren't an annoyance. Ads on social networks just get in the way. Ad clutter on Myspace was a major factor in their demise. Spam on Twitter is becoming more of a problem. Facebook traffic stopped growing in mid-2011. The social networks may be hitting a wall on advertising revenue.

From a business perspective, Google has the problem that they don't pay a dividend. They try to pretend they are still in their growth phase. But their stock peaked in 2007. There's nothing wrong with being a profitable company, #1 in the field, and paying a dividend. But Google keeps trying to grow in other areas, none of which make money. Google's revenues are 96% ads, 4% everything else. Investors would prefer they get out of phones and social and focus on their core business. Meanwhile, Bing nibbles off another 2% or so of Google's market share each year. Microsoft has staying power - the entire first generation XBox effort lost money. Now they're winning in game consoles, while Sega is nowhere and Sony is in trouble.

Social networks are nearly useless for search (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38968469)

I've never been all that much into serious drugs, so I simply can't imagine what this guy is smoking. It's so beyond my experience that I'm just in awe, and a little scared to try to think too hard about what it might be like. To totally let go of reality like that, without so much as a thread to ever lead you back, to leave the world of senses and reason behind and journey completely into the imaginati-- sorry, getting off-topic.

People might be messing with social networks to aid search, but this is high-hanging fruit with low utility. The people you know, almost never have the information that you want. And even if they did, they almost never publish it in advance of your question (and you're sure as hell not going to want to wait for an interactive reply). And even if you're very lucky and someone you know does know what the error message means or does have the widget you're contempating and has formed an opinion about it, that's one. One is rarely enough.

Word-of-mouth is useful but it's "push" -- it's something that just happens regardless of whatever you want, with information you almost never sought out. It doesn't help a damn bit when you are the initiator. And initiating queries is the whole point of search.

This guy is in a totally different world. He must be googling phrases like "good new band to check out" or "recent news" or other stuff that search engines can possibly supply, but aren't usually used for.

P.R. bullshit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38968475)

P.R. bullshit.

Google's use has shot up due to in-browser search bars. Who the hell wants to go to facebook or twitter to find something not facebook- or twitter-related?

My guess, without doing any research, reading hte article or these comments: This former exec is touting software from an up-and-coming company designed to (gasp) aggregate and mete searches between content providers.

People talk about drivel getting posted to Slashdot lately, I've seen a couple good examples and a couple bad. This one is a good. Example. Of drivel.

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