Is Google Dead? Searching for Recommendations

by Bradley Jobling on March 15, 2011

Ok Google may not be dead, but is it becoming less important at least when looking for recommendations or advice online.

Google Logo

Yahoo! and the other first search engines required humans to categorize the sites. This took time but it wasn’t that difficult to do because there weren’t that many sites on the Internet at that point. You might even remember that a few ambitious start ups tried to create a printed WWW Yellow Pages directory.

Forward a couple of a years and we have Google. It was a bunch of computers with spiders and robots which could crawl every web site and categorize everything. Once again the computer had saved us.

Go forward a couple of more years and we have social media! If you search for a new dentist, a web design agency or copier repair company should you trust what Google serves up? How about an approach where you find a group that talks about dental implants where you can actually ask someone what they think of Dr X.

I belong to some alumni email groups from Columbia University and even though these are mostly business focused, there is a “New York” group where people ask about dentists, nannies, insurance brokers and apartments. You wouldn’t want to just Google this, as anything could come up. Even with it’s all encompassing algorithm, the search result would be based on the calculations and not what you necessarily need. This very discussion came up in one of my alumni email groups when one participant who was being a jerk chastised someone else for asking about something instead of just Googling it. Others in the group explained to this jerk why just Googling wasn’t a good idea.

So what do you think? Is Facebook or social media the best place to look for advice and recommendations or is there room for both search and social Does social media bring human insight to the Internet searches? Many speak about the fire hose of social media information. I even hear that we now need another algorithm on top of the social on top of the original search algorithm.

What do you think? Have you ever used a social recommendation? If so, how did it turn out?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrew Walsh April 16, 2011 at 9:04 PM

Nice post! I definitely think that at this stage, Google has big limitations and that social networks/groups are vital for the type of advice you describe. But Google knows this too and is working very hard to improve and update their algorithms. You can see them try to get more social as they roll out new features such as the +1 button. On the official +1 page, Google explains the button is designed to “help friends, contacts, and others on the web find the best stuff when they search.”

All in all, they’re certainly fighting a tough battle, but I’m sure they have some more big tricks up their sleeves.

Bradley Jobling April 18, 2011 at 9:15 AM

Good point! I am sure that Google is not standing still, but given the many ventures they tried and those that have not been successful. Google Wave wasn’t a great success. I guess their strategy is try different things, hoping that some of them stick.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: