An ex-Googler called Marissa Mayer appeared on the Freakonomics podcast to go over the subject of whether Google is becoming worse. Mayer suggested that asking why Google Browse is worsening is the wrong concern. Her explanation of what is wrong turns the spotlight back on the internet itself.
Why Marissa Mayer’s Viewpoint Matters
Marissa Mayer was employee # 20 at Google, managing engineers, ending up being director of customer web products and was a part of the three-person team that worked on developing AdWords.
Mayer dealt with many jobs, consisting of Google Images, News, Maps, and Gmail. She was at one point in charge of Regional, Maps, and Location Providers.
She ultimately left Google to end up being the president and CEO of Yahoo! for 5 years.
There are few people worldwide with her level of professional understanding of and history with search, which makes her views about the existing state of search of great interest.
Freakonomics Podcast: Is Google Getting Worse?
The host of the podcast started out the show by explaining how in their experience Google is not as excellent as it used to be.
“The power of that discovery faded, as revelations do, and all of us started to take Google for granted.
When you required some details, you simply typed a couple of words into the search box and, really quickly, you got the answer you were looking for, generally from a reliable source.
But today? To me, at least, it does not feel the very same.
My search engine result just do not seem as useful.
I seem like I’m seeing more advertisements, more links that might as well be ads, and more links to spammy websites.”
Marissa Mayer Says Google is Just a Window
Marissa Mayer agreed that the search experience is different today.
But in her viewpoint the issue isn’t Google. The method she sees it, Google is only a window onto the Internet.
Mayer shared her viewpoint:
“I do believe the quality of the Web has 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, but it’s small.
Today, I believe there was one point where Google had actually seen more than a trillion URLs.”
The host of the program asked if the boost in the variety of URLs is the reason search engine result are even worse.
Mayer responded to:
“When you see the quality of your search results decrease, it’s natural to blame Google and be like, ‘Why are they worse?’
To me, the more fascinating and sophisticated thought is if you state, ‘Wait, however Google’s simply a window onto the web. The genuine concern is, why is the web getting worse?’ “
Why is the Web Getting Worse?
The host of the program went along with the concept that the issue is that the Web is getting worse and, as Marissa suggested, he asked her why the web getting worse.
Mayer provided a description that deflects from Google and lays blame for bad search results page on the web itself.
She explained the reason that the web is worse:
“I think since there’s a great deal of financial incentive for false information, for clicks, for purchases.
There’s a lot more scams on the web today than there was 20 years ago.
And I believe that the web has had the ability to grow and establish as rapidly as it has due to the fact that of less policy and since it’s so global.
But we also need to take the flipside of that.
In a fairly unregulated area, there’s going to be, you know, financial mis-incentives that can sometimes degrade quality.
And that does put a lot of onus on the brokers who are browsing that information to try and conquer that. And it’s challenging.
It kind of needs to be more, in my view, an ecosystem-style response, rather than simply a simple correction from one star.”
Is the Issue Truly the Web?
The concept that the Web is poor quality due to the fact that it is relatively uncontrolled is arguable.
There are federal government agencies committed to securing consumers from deceptive online activities. One example is the United States government Federal Trade Commission standards on marketing, recommendations and marketing. These rules are the reason that sites divulge they are benefiting from affiliate links.
Google itself likewise manages the Internet through its publishing guidelines. Failure to abide by Google’s standards can lead to exemption from the search results.
Google’s ability to regulate the Internet reaches the quality of material itself as evidenced by the reality that out of 8 algorithm updates in 2022, six of them were focused on spam, item evaluations and demoting unhelpful content.
It could be stated that Google’s algorithm updates proves that Google is more concentrated on fixing Web material than it is on enhancing the innovation for returning relevant search results.
That a lot of Google’s efforts is concentrated on motivating an “ecosystem-style reaction” lines up with Marissa Mayer’s observation that the problem with search is the sites and not Google.
Is Google Browse worse since websites today are worse or is the issue with Google itself and they simply can’t see it?
Listen to the Freakonomics podcast:
Is Google Getting Worse?
Included image by Best SMM Panel/Asier Romero