An ex-Googler called Marissa Mayer appeared on the Freakonomics podcast to discuss the subject of whether Google is getting worse. Mayer recommended that asking why Google Search is getting worse 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 worker # 20 at Google, supervising engineers, becoming director of consumer web items and belonged of the three-person team that dealt with developing AdWords.
Mayer dealt with many projects, including Google Images, News, Maps, and Gmail. She was at one point in charge of Regional, Maps, and Area Services.
She eventually 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 professional understanding of and history with search, which makes her views about the current state of search of fantastic interest.
Freakonomics Podcast: Is Google Worsening?
The host of the podcast began the show by explaining how in their experience Google is not as great as it used to be.
“The power of that revelation faded, as revelations do, and all of us started to take Google for given.
When you needed some information, you just typed a couple of words into the search box and, really rapidly, you got the answer you were looking for, usually from an authoritative source.
However today? To me, a minimum of, it does not feel the very same.
My search engine result simply don’t seem as helpful.
I feel like I’m seeing more ads, more links that might too be ads, and more links to spammy web pages.”
Marissa Mayer States Google is Just a Window
Marissa Mayer concurred that the search experience is different today.
But in her opinion the problem isn’t Google. The way she sees it, Google is just a window onto the Internet.
Mayer shared her opinion:
“I do believe the quality of the Internet has actually taken a hit.
… When I started at Google, there were about 30 million web pages, so crawling them all and indexing them all was relatively simple.
It seems like a lot, however it’s small.
Today, I believe there was one point where Google had seen more than a trillion URLs.”
The host of the show asked if the boost in the number of URLs is the reason why search results page are worse.
“When you see the quality of your search results decrease, it’s natural to blame Google and resemble, ‘Why are they worse?’
To me, the more interesting and sophisticated idea is if you say, ‘Wait, however Google’s just a window onto the web. The real question is, why is the web getting worse?’ “
Why is the Web Becoming Worse?
The host of the program went along with the idea that the issue is that the Web is getting worse and, as Marissa suggested, he asked her why the web worsening.
Mayer used an explanation that deflects from Google and lays blame for poor search engine result on the internet itself.
She discussed the reason why the web is even worse:
“I think since there’s a lot of financial reward for false information, for clicks, for purchases.
There’s a lot more fraud online today than there was 20 years back.
And I believe that the web has actually been able to grow and establish as rapidly as it has due to the fact that of less regulation and due to the fact that it’s so global.
However we likewise have to take the flipside of that.
In a fairly uncontrolled area, there’s going to be, you understand, economic mis-incentives that can in some cases deteriorate quality.
Which does put a great deal of onus on the brokers who are browsing that information to attempt and conquer that. And it’s hard.
It kind of needs to be more, in my view, an ecosystem-style response, instead of simply a simple correction from one star.”
Is the Issue Truly the Web?
The concept that the Web is poor quality since it is relatively uncontrolled is debatable.
There are federal government firms committed to securing consumers from deceitful online activities. One example is the United States federal government Federal Trade Commission standards on marketing, recommendations and marketing. These guidelines are the reason sites disclose they are making money from affiliate links.
Google itself likewise regulates the Web through its publishing guidelines. Failure to abide by Google’s guidelines can result in exclusion from the search results page.
Google’s ability to regulate the Internet extends to the quality of content itself as evidenced by the reality that out of eight algorithm updates in 2022, six of them were concentrated on spam, item evaluations and demoting unhelpful material.
It could be stated that Google’s algorithm updates proves that Google is more concentrated on repairing Internet material than it is on enhancing the technology for returning appropriate search engine result.
That so much of Google’s efforts is concentrated on motivating an “ecosystem-style reaction” aligns with Marissa Mayer’s observation that the problem with search is the websites and not Google.
Is Google Browse even worse since sites today are even worse or is the problem with Google itself and they just can’t see it?
Listen to the Freakonomics podcast:
Is Google Getting Worse?
Featured image by Best SMM Panel/Asier Romero