Google's forgetting the early web


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/01/16/try-duckduckgo-or-bing.html


#2

I do find that computer people seem to have a different idea of what the words “permanant” or “forever” mean than I do…


#3

Related to this, i had this come up with a few searches i attempted to do through Google recently. I tried searching for specific information pertaining to certain topics… what i wanted was to find articles about something that had been reported say… 3-4 years ago, but searching only pulled up articles from the last 1-2 years.

Two examples: I was trying to find articles discussing the early interactions between Assange and his staffers but it only found current information about him becoming a citizen of Ecuador. I spent some time trying to refine my search but gave up, i likely could’ve gotten it but it was just too much effort.

The other was kind of a spur of the moment internet delving, but i recalled reading an article discussing the outfit and headpiece that Maleficent wears in the animated movie and what that’s based off of from a historical perspective. Guess what nearly 100% of my search pulled up? links related to the live-action Maleficent movie and merchandise related to it. I was unable to find exactly what i was describing but i ended up getting close enough by looking up medieval headwear for women.


#4

Google tries to guess what links will be the most useful to you and put them at the top (they still have the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button, after all). For the vast majority of cases that will be newer information. Indexing historical links is a societal benefit, I think, but it’s not really Google’s primary purpose and might be better done through another site (archive.org?)


#5

I have recently found that some guitar tutorial videos that I had been using and subsequently forgot to bookmark, completely disappeared from the youtube (owned by google) search function 8 months later, since there were a few different people, it’s odd that literally ever single one I was looking for were gone. Some had been up for 5-6 years at least. So I think the general pruning is even worse than stated above. The stuff is there, it just won’t turn up in the search.


#6

Mainframers, code along with me!

// label=retpd=99365


#7

The top results, even when refined with Google-Fu, are always going to be for lowest-common-denominator stuff.

In addition to DuckDuckGo, archive.org and Wikipedia’s reference links can be good places to find stuff Google may have deleted.


#8

I haven’t really had this much struggle finding what i was searching for using Google until this month, which is curious but not surprising. Will have to remember to try other alternatives.


#9

If you don’t want Google to “guess” what you are looking for maybe try a search engine that doesn’t track you. May I suggest DuckDuckGo?


#10

Are the videos you’re looking for monetized? Keep in mind that YouTube and Google have very different search and index algorithms, in large part due to the completely incomparable media format they deal with, not to mention YouTube having significantly higher costs associated with the hosting costs of every video on the service and thus requiring a much more steady stream of ad revenue per viewer hour compared to Google results, so non-monetized videos frequently slide out of the search results.


#11

I have two rules for browsing the Internet:

  1. Everything you put or do on the Internet will be there forever.

  2. Anything that you access on the internet can disappear permanently without notice.


#12

They must have fixed it since he posted this, because a search for “tim bray rock and roll animal” gives this for the first search result:

https://www.tbray.org/ongoing/When/200x/2006/03/13/Rock-n-Roll-Animal

But no love for Brent Simmons’ post about London Calling. Seems like Google give preference to how new a post is vs. how how accurate a result is, because the top results are about Trump canceling his trip to England.


#13

Not surprising. A couple of months ago I was trying to find something very specific and regular search wasn’t cutting it so I started running Boolean queries. Guess what’s not supported on Google anymore?

PS: Anyone remember how the were going to maintain and archive UseNet?


#14

A person from Google agreed that something weird is going on (at least with Bray’s site) and he has let the people who deal with this stuff know. I would expect a response soon.


#15

"What Google cares about · It cares about. . . " It cares about revenues from sticking advertising in front of your face.


#16

I don’t think they were monetized, they were pretty modestly viewed, but they were published at different times by different people and every one of them disappeared over a fairly short period of time. I realize that youtube search and google search aren’t exactly the same thing, but its weird they are all gone.


#17

Use the WayBack Machine, Sherman.


#18

Hmm, makes me think there’s a/some very popular series by a single/several channel(s) that are monetized that YouTube would rather you watched over those folks.


#19

Also, I have found that I can get different search results when signed in under different google accounts, especially for arcane or ambiguous topics. Try using another browser or another account, as well as another search engine.


#20

This is depressing to me since I still use some of the Yahoo groups (mailing list) to keep up on certain topics dealing with shortwave radio. If that information were to go away I’m not sure there’s any place that has a reliable copy of it. Lots of those groups have schematics and links that are very important if you wanted to recreate an HF preamp for a receive antenna. And it’s not like books on the subject are approachable to the novice like me. It’s literally a treasure trove of data that just about anyone can pick up and use with little issue. Wipe that all out? Well then people would have to start over again. It’s that kind of thing that scares me that if we ever get to a point technologically while still maintaining capitalism that we’ll run into a situation that one bad solar storm wipes out half of our basic knowledge then we’re toast. We’d have to go back and redo research, experiments, and the whole lot to get back to where they were at. A real dark age scenario.