Daily Archives: July 29, 2008

What’s so great about the Goog?

As we all know, Google is the best search engine and the most useful single site on the ‘net.  Not that it’s perfect, and outside of its core web-search function, it has some manure-grade junk out there too.

Now there seems to be a bit of a meeja fuss over some goog-killer-wannabe called cuil.  I can only attribute this to cuil having an effective bullshitPR department, to get so much attention.  The report on El Reg (NSFW) shows a snapshot of results, that leave me no wish to see more: for the first time in over 20 years on the ‘net, I’ve been exposed to … ahem … dirty pics (I won’t say porno, because I don’t see how two men masturbating is supposed to titillate).  Ahem, not what I want in my search results.

And don’t forget, El Reg is a regular Goog-basher who you’d expect to welcome – albeit not uncritically – a real alternative.

But what’s really so good about the Goog?

It is indeed a million times better than the other media darling, but then Yahoo’s indexing always was a sick joke, and I really can’t see how anything other than mindshare in the mainstream meeja ever sustained it.  But the same cannot be said for all the alternatives.  When Google was launched, Altavista was out there doing a great job – albeit with less hype than the big Y – and the Goog was no more than a comparably competent alternative.

I think the comparison to Altavista at a time when the Goog had yet to develop its pagerank (automated peer review) to give it a real lead in terms of results quality, can reveal what’s really so much better about the Goog.  It’s not that Google gave us what we wanted (which Altavista also did): it’s that Goog spared us what we didn’t want! No deezyner page with pretty graphics.  No crap.  Just the information we were looking for.  And – later – text-based ads that still don’t seriously detract from the useful results.

And that’s comparing Goog to the best of the pre-goog bunch: a good site with a logo that was at least pretty (wikipedia has it still), and incomparably less obnoxious crap than Yahoo inflicts on you.  Ironic that it now seems to have been swallowed by Yahoo and gone minimalist – a decade on from the opportunity it lost and Google won.