the current state of search engines (music video)
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What’s your opinion? Does google really “not work” anymore? Are there any better search engines? Why did the quality of search results go down? I honestly stumbled onto this question through this music video, what is ironic in it’s own way i feel…

Em Adespoton
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Has anyone created a firefox plugin that allows you to filter out search results based on snippet and URL rules? That would solve the problem on most search engines as the unwanted results are usually repetitive and obvious.

Nomad Scry
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Not exactly what you’re asking for but uBlacklist is a plugin that lets you blacklist websites from showing in your search results. I’ve only been playing with it for a few days but it seems to work great for Google, DuckDuckGo, and Bing. Qwant is a little wonky.

I think google made the web worse with SEO. Sites have to be designed in ways that users and creators do not really care about so that they may show up in search results.

If I have a site about star trek and it has all the relevant information that the user is looking for, then do not derank my site because the text is not a specific length or whatever other unrelated stuff is there.

I think there are some things that are worth while, like I think https sites are preferred over http sites. I think that this is a good thing to promote.

SEO isn’t something google invented, it was just a result of their actions.

@parlaptie@feddit.de
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As much as I’ve come to loathe Google, I think even that is a bit unfair to them. Search engine optimization is a result of the existence of search engines, because being at the top of the results is always worth good money.

Back before Google was the top dog, there were numerous search engines, and I’m pretty sure people shared tips on how to get further up on the results even then, they just didn’t use the term SEO yet.

Google became the dominant search engine because it gave better results than anyone else, because it wasn’t so easy to manipulate your ranking on the results. But there were always sites that wanted to be on top even when they shouldn’t be. Google stayed ahead of their game for some decades, but now it looks like they can’t or won’t keep it up anymore.

@BlueNine@beehaw.org
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I wonder what it would like if they rolled out the OG circa 1998 page-rank algorithm on todays web. What would that algorithm find if we ran it now? Would it be garbage or would it undercut all the SEO and find good stuff?

I have a hunch that the current search is bad, not because they cannot do better, but because it is profitable for it to be this bad. The most powerful SEO tool is probably your checkbook.

@tburkhol@beehaw.org
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There’s definitely an arms race - if it’s cheaper to pay an SEO to get your pages shown, then you pay the SEO; if it’s cheaper to pay Google advertising, then you pay to play. I’m sure Google is constantly tweaking their algorithm to filter SEO techniques to get better, authentic results, but it seems like a losing battle at this point.

From googles perspective, you, the user cost them money. Their revenue comes from ads. The brands don’t was to be associated with anything controversial so the results are tailored to be as PG and clean as possible.

It works but it definitely censors a lot pf stuff I feel so I use Yandex sometimes.

Dr Cog
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… you’re worried about censorship so you use the Chinese search engine?

Just use DuckDuckGo

@willeypete23@reddthat.com
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Dockduckgo is just bing with diet privacy

A lot of stuff that don’t show up anywhere else show up in yandex especially piracy related stuff.

Phoenix [she/they]
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Russian, but yeah

@abhibeckert@beehaw.org
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What’s your opinion? Does google really “not work” anymore?

Depends what you’re searching for. For some searches I’ve given up on using it. For example I just purchased a new TV and one of the features wasn’t working. It took me several hours of Googling to figure out how to fix it — almost every result offered by Google didn’t contain an answer to my question.

Are there any better search engines?

ChatGPT works well for some searches. Especially if you pay for GPT-4.

It’s pretty impressive how ChatGPT is better than Google despite never being designed as a replacement for Google. I think when someone applies the same technology to a proper search product, the result will be really awesome. Time will tell who manages to pull that off - it might even be Google.

Why did the quality of search results go down?

The main issue, I think, is all the websites these days that exist exclusively to show banner ads. Many of them are packed with information that Google’s algorithm determines might be relevant to the user, but the algorithm is wrong.

The websites want you to click on an Ad, and you’re a lot more likely to click an Ad if you give up, don’t find what you’re looking for, and decide to buy a new weight loss gadget instead.

I’m sure part of the problem is Google itself is an ad company. A lot of the things they could do to fix this issue would harm their own revenue.

The core limitation is that the problem is dramatically more complex than it was when Google started. The number of sites were smaller, there was much less dynamic content, and there wasn’t a sizable portion of the internet committed to an adversarial relationship with search engines forcing everyone else to go to the same extremes just to play catchup.

What this means is that you’re looking for answers in a much larger search space, and the indicators you used to use are much less reliable. You have more resources to try to balance that out, but there’s so much straight trash to weed through that it’s pretty difficult to do.

You know, I didn’t expect dead internet to hit search engines first. In hindsight it makes sense, what with the amount of computing they can budget for each result, but it seemed like such a successful, established thing. Man, normalcy bias is a bitch these days.

@HisNoodlyServant@beehaw.org
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Seems to mostly work fine for me. However Google as a company is a fucking mess so doesn’t surprise me people have problems. I have had more problems with my Pixel 7 and Google Maps seems to be getting worse and worse.

@SimonSing@beehaw.org
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Google is almost impossible to use when I search for solutions to maths problems. The first few pages are dominated by those sites gaming Google’s algorithm and their articles usually don’t help.

ammorok
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Have you tried WolframAlpha? It can break down math problems and is a wealth of information for just about everything

Yup. DDG is my go to. Every once in a while I have to use Google, but it’s rare.

Also, buy the Wolfram Alpha app if you want math problems solved easily.

@CanadaPlus@lemmy.sdf.org
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Does anybody else find when using DDG for research that it’s waaay too aggressive about “correcting” your query to something more mundane?

@snowbell@beehaw.org
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This is why I switched to startpage

Doesn’t it just query Google behind the scenes, though?

@snowbell@beehaw.org
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Yeah, but DDG uses Bing. I want to switch to Kagi or start a SearXNG server though once I get around to it.

bird
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I have been using Kagi for a month. Really liking it so far! I just subscribed to their basic plan. Much better results than DDG.

Huh. TIL!

My Google results change like the weather. Sometimes I can’t take it anymore and use Bing but quickly switch back as it’s worse. There’s no replacement yet, but you need more google Fu than ever before.

shoe
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Nothing to add to this discussion except that savannahxyz is a treasure

@Schedar@beehaw.org
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Google is one of the worst offenders, with constant effort to force you to login, sponsored links etc but it isn’t unique to them.

AI (or human) generated rubbish, optimised for SEO is making it harder and harder to find what you actually want. This isn’t entirely new, there has always been a battle but it does seem like now with the AI push they are winning and we (the users/consumers) are losing.

I’ve used ecosia for the last few years I rate it pretty good.

@Pietson@beehaw.org
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did not expect to see a savannahXYZ video on my feed here this morning, love to see it though.

I have been using AI chat exclusively for searching for at least the past 3 days.

It is so much better in every possible way for simple factual questions, especially ChatGPT and Google Bard. Great for shopping. Microsoft Bing is okay, but you have to choose the right personality.

Sidenote: I KNOW using Google, and the other companies I will mention, is the antithesis of freedom and privacy. Yet, they are incredibly powerful tools that are getting implemented everywhere, so my curiousity has led me down an honestly fun rabbit hole.

The other AI that really surpised me is Opera Aria. Like Bing, it is using ChatGPT-4 and integrating real-time information. It just feels smarter, or perhaps more professional?

The caveat with all these except maybe Bard which, uses its own system, are very good at shutting down questions it does not want to answer. It feels weird and wrong when it happens, like it just saved you from asking something immoral, or at least too many questions about the tech.

Strange experience overall.


TL;DR AI chatbots are great at parsing the internet to get you answers with reasonable accuracy and relevancy when old-fashioned search can be tedious or fruitless.

@Creesch@beehaw.org
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Bing and Google Bard keep disappointing me. Bing for some reason only picks up on half of what I ask. Which is extremely odd as it is supposedly is ChatGPT based and ChatGPT gives pretty good answers on the same queries. The only problem with the latter is that a lot of it is of course outdated.

Bard might just be broken for me. I keep getting I'm a text-based AI, and that is outside of my capabilities. or similar responses.

I get that too drom Bard sometimes, but it is for specific queries. I think the key is working on the prompt until it gets it. Sometimes you need to start over with a new chat.

Bing does not work like ChatGPT despite having the same base, even in creative mode. No idea why. However I like creative mode when I don’t just dont want to see links embedded. I also love taking advantage of free Dall-E.

Bard is great for anything that can be put into a list or chart, like comparisons. Literally put in a chart.

I am dissapointed in that I have not been able to get a single mathematic equation produced (like famous ones), but I know they can?

If you get the chance and willing to download a full ass browser, Opera has Aria, which is like the cleanest version of ChatGPT I have seen. Just the formatted answers with hyperlinks are worth it. It is good. It is hard to explain, but Aria mostly just works. It is closer to Bard in responses, and does what you want out of Bing without messing with convo styles.

Whatever prompts that Bing put for the convo style may be messing with the results.

All things said, I switch between them often, depending on my needs. It takes some time but I have built my intuition of which one will give the best response for the prompt, but I often just search the prompt in all of them.

Anyways, I hope you find more success using them!

@Creesch@beehaw.org
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I am dissapointed in that I have not been able to get a single mathematic equation produced (like famous ones), but I know they can?

Well, my understanding is that they actually can’t. LLM’s do “language” mostly based on what is called “next word prediction” so they basically look at the word and predict what the next most logical word would be. (Somewhat simplified). So numbers to them are not numbers but words, which is why they are fairly bad at them.

Opera has Aria, which is like the cleanest version of ChatGPT

Pass, not sure what stake the chinese owners have these days but Opera is a bit too… feature rich in everything.

I do like working with just chat.openai.com for simple stuff. It is great at helping my debug things in areas I don’t quite have all the knowledge I’d like. For example, I had to work on a shell script earlier in bash. Something I don’t do often and as an added bonus it needed to work on both macOS machines and the bash version shipped with “git bash” on windows. MacOS GNU utils already function slightly differently at times, but git bash on windows is entirely broken in some areas. Where yesterday I spend an hour trying to find something relevant based on my input and the error I got through google chatGPT just managed to point out the pain point right away.

And that is where I feel chatGPT (in this case anyway) does a great job, troubleshooting issues about things that are not necessarily bleeding edge. I just presented it with a clear problem and a bit of context and asked why that could be the case. It also got it wrong a few times, but that is fine, it did safe me a bunch of time in the end.

For sure that is a limitation of an LLM. I was hoping the capabilities of Google or Bing would overcome that with extended formatting.

I am ignorant of the ownership of Opera, so I will reserve judgement. I will say that the browser is great, despite its problem foundation.

That is an awesome usecase. ChatGPT lets you get niche and weird, which isnwhere it is most productive.

ChatGPT has the issue that it has no date beyond September 2021, which is not typically an issue.

For tech stuff try phind.com

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