I do object to Google’s position in the world of web search. Acknowledging and respecting their brilliance is one thing, accepting poor search results hijacked by advertising is another.
Google came to world of the techies and excelled in very quick clutter free quality searches. Adding advertising supposedly created a virtuous circle. I dispute this. The overall quality fo they search led them to dominate the search space. This is turn now obliges anyone selling on the web to use Google Adwords – still over 95% of Google’s revenues. This is where the circle ends. There is no benefit to the search of having advertising on the search page especially if the higher ranked results are there predominantly because they paid the most to be there.
Google’s search results are increasingly irrelevant except to find only the most obvious sites. Increasingly a user needs to tweak the search terms or sift through to page 2 or 3 or beyond. I sometimes find myself going straight to page 10 in the vain hope of finding something relevant away from the clutter.
My suggestion is simple in its philosophy and no doubt tricky in terms of execution. Use people to recommend search results. In other words, if a user finds a particular site that corresponds to the search results entered then this is useful information and of much higher quality than some algorithm based on keywords in websites and links between websites (Google’s current methodology).
What I would like to see is people power bringing the ownership of the search back to the people – high quality search based on peoples judgment of the quality of the results.
This idea is not entirely new although the emphasis is different. Digg and other such sites do store peoples recommendations and you can use Digg to search. This however is an after-thought – the main emphasis being on online bookmarking or in the case of Stumble Upon discovery of new sites based on your overall subject preferences.
Let’s get back to quality search and no advertising.