From time to time I do the unthinkable. Yes, I go into Google and search for “roger pearse”.
I’ve done this perhaps once or twice a year for many years, and I did it this evening. I must say that I was rather surprised by what I found.
Because the content in Google was rubbish. Yes, it brought back a handful of things that I have done. But it only gave 20 pages of hits — from someone who has put something online every day for the last 14 years — and most of these were of a very poor quality. There was garbage from identity-fishing sites (which are useful as a guide to stuff we need to hide, but not otherwise), and stuff like that. But there was very little that gave any idea of who am I or what I do.
Now of course I could just say, and truthfully, “Well, I’m not that important”. But because I have done this before, I know that my unimportance isn’t the issue here. The Google search results simply aren’t as good as they used to be.
As an experiment, I tried the same search on Bing. And … instantly I got better results. Of course many were occasional comments that I had added to blogs here or there, but in general the quality was far better. And it remained better all the way to page 21 of results, at which point I stopped.
I’ve commented before on the poor quality of Google Books search. It’s actually impossible to find volume N of the Journal of XYZ in there, even if it is in there. But this evening’s experience suggests that Google’s main search engine itself is no longer much good.
In which case, isn’t it time we all moved over to Bing?