Bookmarked Is Google Dying? Or Did the Web Grow Up? by Charlie Warzel (

One of the most-used tools on the internet is not what it used to be.

Charlie Warzel takes a dive into the current status of Google Search. He talks about the way in which it has become bloated by advertising and move to AI driven results.

In theory, we crave authoritative information, but authoritative information can be dry and boring. It reads more like a government form or a textbook than a novel. The internet that many people know and love is the opposite—it is messy, chaotic, unpredictable. It is exhausting, unending, and always a little bit dangerous. It is profoundly human.

For me to suggest that Google is ‘dying’ treats it as a unique entity. As Warzel suggests, “Google has rewired us, transforming the way that we evaluate, process, access, and even conceive of information.” With this being so, maybe we have all just changed?

Bookmarked What It’s Like To Stop Using Google Search – Debugger by Clive Thompson (Debugger)

When it first appeared in 1997, Google was wildly better than the competition. You young’uns don’t remember this — shakes cane — but back in the ‘90s, search engines were a hot mess. You’d type your…

Clive Thompson reflects upon his move away from using Google as his search engine. This includes a move to DuckDuckGo and the use of ‘bangs‘, shortcuts built in, that help streamline searches. What was really interesting was Thompson’s preference for using the right search engine for the task at hand.

I’m not using the main search of any engine. Instead, I’m using services designed specifically to find academic info, like Semantic Scholar or JSTOR. For historical research, I might use the scans of public-domain info on the Internet Archive or at Google Books.

Bookmarked A Search Engine That Finds You Weird Old Books – Debugger by Clive Thompson (Debugger)

Last fall, I wrote about the concept of “rewilding your attention” — why it’s good to step away from the algorithmic feeds of big social media and find stranger stuff in nooks of…

Continuing the investigation in rewilding our attention, Clive Thompson has created a custom search engine using Glitch for finding weird books in the public domain
Bookmarked RSS Discovery Engine (

Inspired by Web Rings from the 90s, I created a tool for serendipitous discovery of blogs called RSS Discovery Engine. Similar to how web rings work, I make the assumption that interesting blogs will tend to link to other related blogs, and therefore, linked blogs are likely to also be interesting.

With RSS Discovery Engine, Brandon Quakkelaar provides another potential for serendipity and possibly rewilding attention.
Bookmarked MEMEX – About (

It is a search engine, designed to help you find what you didn’t even know you were looking for. If you search for “Plato”, you might for example end up at the Canterbury Tales. Go looking for the Canterbury Tales, and you may stumble upon Neil Gaiman’s blog.

Marginalia is an experimental search engine that tries to celebrate the small web:

The search engine calculates a score that aggressively favors text-heavy websites, and punishes those that have too many modern web design features.

There is also a list of other similar projects on the site.

Clive Thompson

“ in Clive Thompson ()

Bookmarked A New Tool Shows How Google Results Vary Around the World by Tom Simonite (WIRED)

Search Atlas makes it easy to see how Google offers different responses to the same query on versions of its search engine offered in different parts of the world. The research project reveals how Google’s service can reflect or amplify cultural differences or government preferences—such as whether Beijing’s Tiananmen Square should be seen first as a sunny tourist attraction or the site of a lethal military crackdown on protesters.

Tom Simonite discusses Search Atlas, a search engine designed by Rodrigo Ochigame1 and Katherine Ye that lets you search across languages and locations. This reminds me of some of the work of Alan November. It will be interesting to see what it looks like once it is beyond private beta.
Replied to Sharpening The Trailing Edge Technology of Google Custom Search Engine (CogDogBlog)

So go ahead and gloat about your AI infused semantic blockchain… I’ll keep applying the trailing edge tools, and will sharpen them as I go.

Thank you for sharing this Alan. It is another example of why wide reading is helpful. I have been tinkering with different ways of searching my site for a while. I know that I could use Google Custom Search and a raft of other methods, however I wanted to avoid all that. Therefore, I still use the good old method, with some extra code to expand the search. What your bookmarklet now allows me to do is easily search from anywhere without opening the site first or going to ‘search’, although I removed the index.php and replaced this with ?s=.

In regards to itches, I would still like the ability to search for content associated with particular tags, this is what happens when you start using WordPress as a commonplace book. That this granny is happy enough for now.

Liked Google vs. Technorati: The Great Blog Search War (Tedium: The Dull Side of the Internet.)

It became way too easy to clutter things up in an effort to find just the right tool that could help you squeeze a little more traffic or revenue out of the lemon that was your blog. (Less considered, of course, was that all of these widgets were siphoning data about your readers in exchange for this little feature or that neat doodad.)

Technorati was in many ways the first shot in that general direction, though it was not the only one and certainly not the worst offender. But the purity of its original model, which was lost to time and ever-quickening innovation, was valuable for what it was. Rather than forcing us to live in someone else’s world, it tried to make sense of the quickly growing blogosphere, while allowing that sphere to live in place elsewhere.

By making the world of blogs trackable in real time, it made them more communal—a feeling some of us are trying to get back to today. But the globe kept spinning too fast for any one site to keep up—even one designed for that purpose.

Bookmarked Guide To Using Reverse Image Search For Investigations – bellingcat (bellingcat)

As of this guide’s publication date, the undisputed leader of reverse image search is the Russian site Yandex. After Yandex, the runners-up are Microsoft’s Bing and Google. A fourth service that could also be used in investigations is TinEye, but this site specializes in intellectual property violations and looks for exact duplicates of images.

Aric Toler shares a breakdown of the different options for reverse image search. This is a useful resource to add to my work in regards to online research.
Bookmarked Engaged Reading Time – Issue #48 (

So, let’s break this down, for clarity’s sake:

  1. Google are changing the news and general search algorithms to prioritise high quality original reporting — and display it for longer
  2. They have also updated their human reviewer guidelines to suggest using awards are one metric of “high quality”
Adam Tinworth discusses the news that Google is changing the algorithm associated with Google News to prioritise award winning original news. This reminds me of Seth Godin’s question about who controls the future and whether more needs to be done to influence such decisions.
Liked From search-engine to walled garden: majority of Google searches do not result in a click (Boing Boing)

Google’s original pitch to the rest of the web was, “We deliver traffic: people search here for answers, and we send them back to you to get them.” But over time, and for a variety of reasons (not all of them bad, see e.g., “Not sending people to sites that have malvertising”), the company has been trying to serve the answer to your question with no further clicking required.

Now, that strategy has hit a tipping point. According to analytics from Jumpstream, the majority of Google searches no longer end with a click. On Sparktoro, Rand Fishkin calls this “a milestone in Google’s evolution from search engine to walled-garden.”

Liked Data Voids and the Google This Ploy: Kalergi Plan (Hapgood)

Let students know that all search terms should be carefully chosen, and ideally formed using terms associated with the quality and objectivity of the information you want back. Googling “9/11 hoax” is unlikely to provide you reliable information on the 9/11 attacks, as people who study 9/11 don’t refer to it as a hoax. In a similar vein, “black on white crime”, the term that began the radicalization of the Charleston church shooter, is a term used by many neo-Nazis but does not feature prominently in academic analysis of crime patterns. Medical misinformation is similar — if you search for information on “aborted fetuses” in vaccines when there are not aborted fetuses in vaccines the people you’re going to end up reading are irresponsible, uneducated kooks.

Liked Nothing Can Stop Google. DuckDuckGo Is Trying Anyway. (Medium)

Using DuckDuckGo can feel like relearning to walk after you’ve spent a decade flying. On Google, a search for, say, “vape shop” yields a map of vape shops in my area. On DuckDuckGo, that same search returns a list of online vaporizer retailers. The difference, of course, is the data: Google knows that I’m in Durham, North Carolina. As far as DuckDuckGo is concerned, I may as well be on the moon.

Bookmarked The Case Against Google by Charles Duhigg (

Antitrust has never been just about costs and benefits or fairness. It’s never been about whether we love the monopolist. People loved Standard Oil a century ago, and Microsoft in the 1990s, just as they love Google today.

Rather, antitrust has always been about progress. Antitrust prosecutions are part of how technology grows. Antitrust laws ultimately aren’t about justice, as if success were something to be condemned; instead, they are a tool that society uses to help start-ups build on a monopolist’s breakthroughs without, in the process, being crushed by the monopolist. And then, if those start-ups prosper and make discoveries of their own, they eventually become monopolies themselves, and the cycle starts anew. If Microsoft had crushed Google two decades ago, no one would have noticed. Today we would happily be using Bing, unaware that a better alternative once existed. Instead, we’re lucky a quixotic antitrust lawsuit helped to stop that from happening. We’re lucky that antitrust lawyers unintentionally guaranteed that Google would thrive.

Charles Duhigg takes a look at the history of Anti-Trust laws and the breaking up of monopolies. From oil to IBM, he explains why it is important for this large companies to be broken up. Not because of the consumer, but rather for the sack of developnent and innovation.

He uses the case of the vertical search site,, to demonstrate the way in which Google kills competition by removing them from searches.

In 2006, Google instituted a shift in its search algorithm, known as the Big Daddy update, which penalized websites with large numbers of subpages but few inbound links. A few years later, another shift, known as Panda, penalized sites that copied text from other websites. When adjustments like these occurred, Google explained to users, they were aimed at combating “individuals or systems seeking to ‘game’ our systems in order to appear higher in search results — using low-quality ‘content farms,’ hidden text and other deceptive practices.”

Left unsaid was that Google itself generates millions of new subpages without inbound links each day, a fresh page each time someone performs a search. And each of those subpages is filled with text copied from other sites. By programming its search engine to ignore other sites doing the same thing that Google was doing, critics say, the company had made it nearly impossible for competing vertical-search engines, like Foundem, to show up high in Google’s results.

Rather than living off their innovation, Adam and Shivaun Raff have spent the last twelve years campaigning against Google. Supported by Gary Reback, they took their case to European Commission in Brussels.

Reback had told Adam and Shivaun that it was important for them to keep up their fight, no matter the setbacks, and as evidence he pointed to the Microsoft trial. Anyone who said that the 1990s prosecution of Microsoft didn’t accomplish anything — that it was companies like Google, rather than government lawyers, that humbled Microsoft — didn’t know what they were talking about, Reback said. In fact, he argued, the opposite was true: The antitrust attacks on Microsoft made all the difference. Condemning Microsoft as a monopoly is why Google exists today, he said.

If such changes and challenges is dependent on individuals such as the Raff’s standing up, it makes you wondering how many just throw it all in. Cory Doctorow captures this scenario in his novel, The Makers.