The lead of Google, Marissa Mayer, insists that the problem isn’t with Google search and claims that it’s the web itself.
The ex-CEO of Google, Marissa Mayer, also mentioned on the Freakonomics podcast that asking why Google Search is getting worse is the wrong question. Her explanation of what is wrong actually points to a larger issue on the web itself.
It Seems Like No One Likes Marissa Mayer Anymore
Marissa Mayer was Google’s 20th employee and she was a driving force in the creation of AdWords, where she oversaw engineers.
At Google, Mayer worked on projects like News, Maps, and Gmail. She was in charge of Local, Maps, and Location Services at one point.
She left Google to become the president and CEO of Yahoo! for five years.
With her history in the industry, there are few people in the world who would have a better understanding of the current state of search engines than her.
The host of the podcast started out by describing their experience with Google in recent years. In their experience, Google has gotten worse over time and is no longer as good as it use to be.
Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything is a nonfiction book by University of Chicago professor Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner.
“The power of that revelation fades with time, as revelations do. Before too long, we had come to take Google for granted.”
When you needed some information, all you had to do was type a few words into the search box, and you got the answer you were looking for. It could be an authoritative source like Wikipedia or Bing.
But these days, it doesn’t seem the same to me.
I find Facebook promoting photos that are months old instead of the latest updates.
You might be seeing more ads and spammy links.
Marissa Mayer has just announced she is retiring from Google.
Marissa Mayer agrees that the search experience is different today.
But Google’s not the problem, it’s just a window into the Internet.
Mayer shares her opinion:
I do think the quality of the web has declined.
…When I started at Google, there was only 30 million pages. It was easy to crawl and index them all because there wasn’t many.
All of this may seem like a lot now, but it’ll be over before you know it.
Google has seen trillions of URLs today.
The host of the show asks if the increase in the number of URLs is making search results worse.
“When you see the quality of your search results go down, it’s natural to blame Google and think they’re doing something wrong.”
To me, the more important question is what if we’re not looking in the right place for the answer. The real question is why are web sites getting worse?
The web is getting worse because people are using it less responsibly.
The host of the show agreed with Marc’s idea that the Internet is getting worse, which led to Marissa explaining why the web is getting worse.
Mayer’s explanation deflects blame from Google and instead leans on the web itself for poor search engine results.
She explained that the web was actually worse:
With a lot of money at stake, there’s a strong financial incentive for misinformation, clicks, and purchases.
With the rise of the internet, there has been a huge increase in fraud on the web.
There are many different reasons the internet has grown and developed so quickly, but one of the main ones is that it doesn’t have to abide by a number of regulations like television does. Another reason for its success is because it’s international-minded.
But that also means we can’t change.
A relatively unconstrained market can lead to economic incentives that may degrade the quality of the product.
This is tougher for brokers, who need to search for that information in order to find it. But it’s doable – and it’s an important part of the job.
“In my opinion, this correction has to be a more complicated reaction, rather than just a simple correction from one actor.”
If your website is struggling to grow, have you considered that it’s not the internet itself that’s the problem?
The idea that the Internet is low quality because it’s not regulated is debatable.
Online consumers are often subject to fraudulent activities. One government agency that helps protect them is the United States Federal Trade Commission’s guidelines on advertising, endorsements, and marketing. These rules are why websites will disclose if they have an affiliation or partnership with a company. This disclosure protects the consumer and prevents false advertising.
Google makes a point of regulating everything on the Internet through its publishing guidelines. Failing to abide by Google’s guidelines can result in being excluded from search results.
Google works aggressively to ensure that the quality of content on their search engine is high. They’ve recently made six major updates focused on regulation, spam and demoting unhelpful content.
Google’s algorithm updates shows that they’re more focused on fixing Internet content than improving the technology for returning relevant search results.
Marissa Mayer has noted that Google’s problems with search lie with the websites and not their algorithms. This is the same idea behind an ecosystem-style reaction, which encourages a single website to carry content from another site.
Isn’t the problem with Google’s search algorithm? With all of the major changes over the years and increasing difficulty in ranking, it seems that Google’s unable to find quality content.