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Replace Google

The famous Search Engine Google could be Replaced with a new Good Search Engine

A long time ago, Google was a decent search engine. You could put in search terms and get relevant results. Websites, whether big or small, could appear in search results. Good website design was rewarded and more importantly good content was rewarded and encouraged. Those of us who made real websites with real content did well.

But that was in the old days before Google started misbehaving. I believe the end started when Google started changing your page titles. Other people have encountered other problems. Some of these are highlighted on websites, if you can find them! For example the Mystery of Stamp Demon highlights a story of a perfectly good website Stamp Demon which was approximately boycotted by Google, for a very poor reason, something to do with tables and background colours. There are likely to be a great many other cases like that.

It used to be In Google We Trust, but now, we don't. They can also take that off the banknotes too, because it doesn't represent people's view anymore. We don't trust ineffable allpowerful entities that can't be talked with. Ultimately power corrupts, and you can see this because of their behaviour. This applies to various entities that fit the form.

This goes further than Belief, and although there are many belief systems and entities to believe in, and there are some decent search engines which are Not Google, for example Yahoo and Bing , it's an odd fact that most search engines are very poor. You can see this by experiment. First you create a website and then use I Need Hits to tell various search engines about it. Then, a bit later, see which of them actually includes your website at all. Many do not, even for search terms that don't exist anywhere else. Those that fail to include you for such things in such circumstances are very poor. This is a crucial test of search engines. Google fails in this.

Google is not that bad in terms of search results. But it is increasingly poor. Partly it's because they've got too big for their boots, and they treat people with contempt, as if people are stupid. Also, they make unilateral irresponsible decisions and are unaccountable.

What I'm suggesting is that we Replace Google by creating a proper search engine, something which is like Google was in the early times when it was still good.

How to Replace Google: To build a new search engine from scratch is quite practical and requires getting things correct from the start. Linux, obviously, and plenty of computer hardware. Search engine infrastructure is readily parrallelisable, so it would probably be best to start with a set of computers, like a Beowulf Cluster. A search engine needs to have a decent Internet connection, so that's something else to consider. See How to Build a Search Engine - which is a guide to good practice.

Political problems with evil governments in the world are such that it's important to avoid there being the controlling centre in the USA as that makes the whole thing in the pocket of whatever secret government is in control. These days the people who still have their own freedom are distributed not centralised. Freedom of Internet has parallels with the situation of Tax Havens , where you can find freedom if you look for it, and you stick to your principles.

The Internet is freely accessible around the world, and as we've established the fact that the new search engine is to be based offshore, away from needless government meddling, the first thing to set up in the new search engine is a cache of the entire Internet.

Let's summarise some of the things that are required to create a new search engine:

1. Having a very large hard disc drive. How big is a matter of discussion. But if there were 10,000 million pages with an average size of 10Kbytes, then it would need to be a minimum of 100 terabytes. However, a larger size is required in practice, a few petabytes, because of the additional info that needs to be stored. In practice the parallel tasking makes it a set of disc drives on a set of computers.

2. Snaffling the entire set of data. A good start is the Linux command wget. Websites link to each-other, and that fact may itself be used for amassing a cache of most websites. Others, the ones that aren't really linked from anywhere, it's in their interests to be discoverable.

3. Having a decent Algorithm. This is something that's more puzzling. However, I think it can be done. It does, of course, require a large secondary database to be created from the initial cache. That's because it needs to come up with responses to searches in a few seconds. It doesn't need to be instantaneous, but time is important. A cute Microsoft Dog as a diversion really won't hide sifting through lots of disc drives of data in real-time.

4. Having a decent User Interface. That is, intelligent people being able to put in advanced search criteria. Let's not worry about the intellectually challenged folk, because they will make-do with poor quality search engines that make a big effort to get around people's inability to spell, the sorts of places that make guesses for them, and think they know better than them, etc. Instead, we want a decent search engine where you can search for what you want, how you want! Let's do it!

Also see How to Build a Search Engine

Other points:

There are other people thinking about replacing Google! There are some brave attempts going on. For example Blekko? Promoted as "the spam-free search engine" this is already showing promising signs. For one thing, I told them about my website, and to their credit they have now included it. I'm there at the top as I should be, and no stupid irrelevant videos and spam-based adverts! Well done to Blekko! Note that Blekko is set up with some ideas quite counter to Google, and has clearly learnt from Google's mistakes. I even saw a hint which suggests Blekko may be going to so something to rid the searches of Facebook Problems. Now that would improve things! (In my opinion Facebook is the enemy of freedom and personal privacy and is the biggest problem the world has faced since the Nazis and Communists tried to take over the world a while back). As a counterblast to Google's nasty Facebooklike no-privacy policy, rival search engine Duck Duck Go introduced a REAL privacy policy on their search!

Where Google went wrong:

It's not just the stupid page title changing. There are bigger mistakes, for example:

* Type-ahead / prediction / autocomplete. This is search for idiots. Although on rare occasions it comes in useful, for example when trying to find the spelling of the name of the martyr Ilya Zhitomirskiy (whose name is not easy to spell). However, for almost all searches, the "suggestions" are irrelevant and dumbed-down codswallop of the type that the low-end of the market types in. The suggestions can disrupt thought and can get in the way. So, in practice, I have to avoid looking at the screen when putting in a search! It's also quite difficult to turn off autocomplete, but it IS possible. For Google without annoying autocomplete, use www.google.com/webhp?complete=0&hl=en

* Making ridiculous "spelling corrections" on things you've typed in. This again is a dumbed-down search. It shows disrespect for the customer. It doesn't take a lot of doing to suss this out: Either a person knows what they are doing or not. If they do know what they are doing, it's wrong for the search engine to muck this up by assuming they meant to search for something they did not type in. It's an insult. On the other hand, if the person is genuinely mistaken, it's not the job of a search engine to correct things for them, or they'll never learn. Let people make their own mistakes and learn.

* Getting it wrong about quality versus age of a page. I believe that the older a page is, the better. Google seems to have the opposite view, and that seems to be why short-term fads and trashy temporary stuff appears ahead of quality reliable material that's been there for years.

* Video. Google buying YouTube was a mistake. Videos are often not relevant, and are in any case an inefficient way to store data. Also, videos can not be interpreted by search engines. Surely someone at Google must have pointed out at a Google committee meeting, that just as surely as "text as banners" is bad, videos are similarly bad.

* Social networking. Why should a search engine should go into the social networking business? And then to do it badly, makes it even worse. The "real name" policy is a killer in this as it goes against the Human Right of pseudonymity. Really, Google should have been more intelligent that that. Their excuse may be Facebook, but it's a very poor excuse. The world is suffering a serious setback because of the evil of Facebook, and it's no good Google following such a bad example.

* Mobile phones. So, Google's a mobile phone company now? Google Android. Nothing wrong with being a mobile phone company, especially as it's Linux. But then again, why do it? Just to expand the business? And how they've behaved to the Linux community is deplorable as some people have already pointed out. Is it really "Well we're Google and we can get away with it, so stuff you!"?

* Mapping the world. Yes, well it's very clever, there is no denying it. Google Earth is a brilliant software achievement. Note that at the time, the resolution was reassuringly poor so it wasn't a total invasion of everyone's privacy. Update: Alternatives to Google Earth. However, Google Streetmap is another matter. I have my severe doubts about this, as I consider it IS an invasion of people's privacy. It's not the taking of photos that's the problem. It's the searchability and accessibility. Taking a picture of your house, not a problem. No more harmful than a load of petrol lying around on the road. But as soon as the data gets connected from any kind of public council records, it will be like someone putting a match to it. Suddenly, no privacy. Beware! I told you it was a risk.

* Google Translate. Yes, it does seem to be the best translation system. But why can't someone else do something better? I invite anyone to try, and then we'll add another link on the page of Language and Translation

* Google Affiliate Network. I've been an affiliate for years, on various networks. However, when Bellacor moved from Commission Junction to Google Affiliate Network I was nervous. Having Google as an Affiliate Marketing Network is like someone being Judge AND Jury. So, not keen. But worse, when I tried to look into joining the Google Affiliate Network, I found that it was compulsory to have a Google Adsense account. Well no, that's a catch. I don't see that it's necessary and besides I don't do splat advertising. It would be like one of the early networks saying "To join our network you must agree to be a spam sender". It has also been pointed out, by another affiliate, that if Google ever managed to get a hold of the affiliate marketing market, it would be akin to The New USSR, able to impose arbitrary rules in a Leninist Stalinist style, and anyone who didn't immediately comply could be punished by draconian measures. Off to the Goolag of Search Engine Oblivion. Again, too much power in one place. In contrast to real affiliate networks, which you can talk to, you can't talk to Google. It's trying to be like God. But is it "In Google We Trust"? Do you trust it. With such a thing, yes there is a tendency to trust it initially, right up until you realise it is flawed. When you realise it's not righteous, it's time to pull the plug, dump your faith.

Also I feel that there is something sinister about all of the Google enterprises conspiring to have ONE privacy policy. This is deeply sinister and makes it a dangerous conspiracy. That is a hint that Google may be intent on becoming some kind of new "World Government". Presumably initially controlled by the US Government and then gradually taking over until it's a sort of Orwellian dystopian nightmare. Well no. We won't have it! Let's overthrow it. V for Vendetta! Anarchy!

(Note that to be the legitimate World Government, it is not sufficient to be voted for, because even the democratic mandate only means it's not as bad as the others, and the context of the voting has to be honest up-front to justify it. People do not realise that by allowing a huge corporate to persist unchecked when it's started to misbehave, they are sort-of giving it tacit agreement. To be the legitimate World Government, the crucial feature is the ethics, and a secondary factor is the accountability. Google fails on all of these counts).

We don't have to sleep-walk into letting Google take over the world. When Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany he was voted in democratically by the people because he wasn't as bad as the communists. However, let's avoid being caught out by "Google is not as bad as some search engines". You can already see some policies starting to come to light that have a hint of evil to them. For example the "real name" problem on Google Plus, which justifiedly earned Google a severe public humiliation by GrrlScientist in the Nym Wars as shown in the open letter and displayed in the political cartoonage in The Guardian. See Google Open Letter , and Nym Wars cartoon, and remember, the policy stinks like a rat. There's nothing Real about a "real name" policy. It is oppression and establishment-controlled conformity. Any "real name" conformity is an abomination. Who'd have thought Google would have been involved in a policy akin to having to wear those yellow Star-of-David badges as per the historical allegory aforementioned.

One of the problems with a huge monstrous monopoly is that anyone who goes against it is punishable by a blanket ban. Read GrrlScientist's open letter to see the sort of thing. Google's policy seems to be "If you don't agree with of all our edicts, we will banish you from ALL of our services". This puts the abuse of power into even closer focus.

I realise that by writing this page and speaking against the God Google, they might smite me. I could be killed, or banned from searches. (It comes to about the same thing). Totalitarians don't like criticism and typically respond by making outlaws of us. If they do, it will simply prove my point. It will then be an attempt to silence free speech, but it can't be a success at silencing free speech because there are other search engines. I hope Google reforms and learns by its mistakes. But I fear it will not.

I may not have long to live. We will see.

If you like this page, please link to it! Zyra has a proper deep-linking policy. Zyra's website is www.zyra.org.uk , and this page is www.zyra.org.uk/replace-google.htm - so go on, link to it if you dare!

Update: Since this problem occurred I have taken an even more extreme view of protest against misuse of power by search engines, as I have observed further disgraces and outrages. I am now of the opinion that the way to have visitors is to have actual links from other websites so even if search engines cease to exist, survival is still possible. If you'd like to join me in my protest against the misbehaviour of Google, give me a link. You can also write to me if you like, and if enough of us are involved, we may be able to form a resistance movement against the misuse of power.

Of course Google has the option of writing to me, but they probably won't. However if they do, it immediately negates the "no talking" situation and this page will be corrected accordingly. Slingbox was originally suspected of a similar problem and has since been reprieved.

Update: It may be there is a reason why Google searches have become so bad and why Google has then started banning decent websites such as to make matters worse. The reason is that Google searches have been swamped by stupid irrelevant results by Content Farms. Then, to counteract that, Google decided to tweak the algorithms. But like most such solutions, it has hurt the honest people and let the bad stuff continue to get away with it. Blekko had a quite different approach. They just banned the content farms.

Note: "content farms" are not the same thing as "real content sites". Real content sites (such as Zyra's website) have pages of meaningful material about subjects, whereas content farms typically have loads of twaddle, often inaccurate twaddle, which pulp authors are paid to churn out in bulk. The problem for any search engine with aspirations of sorting this out by an algorithm, even a clever algorithm with Bayesian neural nets, is that it is impossible, in as much as anything can be. However, this doesn't mean the intentions were bad.

The way to defeat search engine cheating is to get rid of the search engine monopoly, and have a grand multiplicity of search engines. Then it is not worth anyone's while trying to cheat the system. However, having what amounts to a "Google Monopoly" (or nearly so, at 90% in some places), makes it an easy target. If we are to replace Google, it needs to be with an open-source "build-your-own-search-engine" distributed approach (like Linux), so there are hundreds of search engines each with a different algorithm. This would remove the motive to have search engine cheating, in the same sort of way as legalising drugs would put drug racketeering criminals out of business.

Other people have been lamenting the diminishing quality of Google search results. For example...




More links to sites condemning Google can be found on the page About Google

Paranoid speculation: Could it be, perhaps, that the people at Google realised after a few years that they could never win against cheats and search engine obfuscation (SEO). So, that's why Google diversified into a great many other lines so they had a fallback position when the search business failed into irrelevant nonsense?

The Legend: Even though Google has since fallen into decline in the quality of results, it's worth remembering that when designing a new search engine to replace Google, the aim is to create it to be as Good as Google in 2005. You know you're doing well in your search engine when people say "Ooh look! It's like Google used to be before it became naff".

To see an example of this, take a look at Yandex, available in English www.yandex.com , and Russian www.yandex.ru , where searches are still high quality, page titles are correct, and independent Real Content websites are still encouraged. Yandex could take over from Google, because the search results are better. In this post-Soviet free-market-economy, fair competition could see Google seriously obviated. This kind of thing has happened before. Altavista used to be THE search engine and it got replaced by Google. It is only a matter of time before Google is replaced. Google can't get away with leading the world's search market and producing rubbish search results.