Google Search: A Hellscape? Nah, the Greasy Mess Is Much Bigger

January 23, 2023

I read “Google vs. ChatGPT Told by Aglio e Olio.”

The write up makes it clear that the author is definitely not Googley. Let’s look at a handful of statements and then consider them in the context of the greasy stuff and, of course, the crackling hellscape analogy. Imagine a hellscape on Shoreline Drive. I never noticed pools of flame, Beelzebug hanging in the parking lot, or people in chains being walked by one of Satan’s pals. Maybe I was not sufficiently alert?

How about this statement:

A single American company operating as a bottleneck behind the world’s information is a dangerous, and inefficient proposition and a big theme of the Margins is that monopolies are bad so it’s also on brand.

After 25 years, the light bulb clicked on and the modern Archimedes has discovered the secret to Googzilla. I recall the thrill of the Yahoo settlement and the green light for the initial public offering. I recall the sad statements of Foundem, which “found” itself going nowhere fast in search results. I recall a meeting in Paris in which comments about the difficulty of finding French tax form links in search results. I remember the owner of a major Web site shouting at lunch about his traffic dropping from two million per month to 200,000. Ah, memories. But the reason these anecdotes come to my mind is a will group of people who found free and convenient more valuable than old-fashioned research. You remember. Lycos, libraries, conversations, and those impedimenta to actual knowledge work.

Also, how about this statement?

I am assuming the costs and the risk I’ve mentioned above has been what’s been making Google keep its cards closer to its chest.

Ah, ha. Google is risk averse. As organization become older and larger, what does one expect. I think of Google like Tom Brady or Christiano Ronaldo. Google is not able to accept the fact that it is older, has a bum knee, and has lost some of its fangs. Remember the skeleton of the dinosaur in front of one of Google’s buildings. It was, as I recall, a Tyrannosaurus Rex. But it was missing a fang or two. Then the weather changed, and the actual dino died. Google is not keeping cards closer to its chest; Google does not know what to do. Regulators are no longer afraid to fine the big reptile again and again. Googlers become Xooglers and suggest that the company is losing the zip in its step. Some choose to compete and create a for fee search system. Good luck with that! Looking at the skeleton, those cards could fall through the bones and fall, scattered on the concrete.

And what about this statement?

the real reason Google is at risk that thanks to their monopoly position, the folks over at Mountain View have left their once-incredible search experience degenerate into a spam-ridden, SEO-fueled hellscape.

Catchy. Search engine optimization, based on my observations of the Google’s antics, was a sure-fire way to get marketers into dancing the Google hand jive. Then when SEO failed (as it usually would), those SEO experts became sales professionals for Google advertising and instructors in the way to create Web sites and content shaped to follow the Google jazz band.

Net net: The Google is big, and it is not going anywhere quickly. But the past of Google is forgotten by many but it includes a Google Glass attempted suicide, making babies in the legal department, and a heroin overdose on a yacht. Ah, bad search. What about a deeper look? Nah, just focus on ChatGPT, the first of many who will now probe the soft underbelly of Googzilla. Oh, sorry, Googzilla is a skeleton. The real beast is gone.

Stephen E Arnold, January 23, 2023


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