What’s really going on with Google

By Brian Livingston

Google.com is a search engine, not a Windows program. But Google is running on so many desktops — and so many computer professionals use Google to look up technical-support information — that it almost seems at times like a built-in Windows applet.

That’s why I’ve taken a very public interest in the quality of search results that Google is providing to Windows users (and everyone else).

The news hasn’t all been good. I published a column in eWeek on Feb. 17 providing several examples of searches on technical subjects that no longer produced very relevant hits in the top 10 results at Google. I followed that by printing several readers’ comments — most of them critical of Google — in the Feb. 26 issue of Brian’s Buzz.

After several weeks of study since then, I’ve learned several little-known details about the ubiquitous search engine that so many of us have come to rely upon. I’d like to share them with you now, in hopes that the art of Web searching can be improved for us all.

The problem with “junk” pages
Google is by far the most popular search engine in the world, handling 35% of all Web searches, according to a recent story citing comScore Media Metrix figures. That compares with 27% of all searches conducted from Yahoo’s network of sites, 16% from AOL/Time Warner sites, and 15% from Microsoft sites, such as MSN.

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2004-04-08: