Saturday, March 19, 2011

Google Search Isn't Broken

Results are polluted with SEO-targeted sites, yes. Content farms create mediocre content that gets significant play on Google, yes. Google has been creating "personalized" versions of results that end up sending us to Page 2 more than ever before, yes.

But it's not broken. It does what it intends to do.

Some things it does very well:

  • allows searching over multiple types of media. News is different from Aunt Mae's website, blogs are different from video, etc, and the results in each are reasonably good.

  • Google Maps as directory. I use Google Maps as a way to get basic contact info for businesses all the time. It's my number 1 local app, and yes I have foursquare, which isn't as much about finding basic place info.

  • Autocomplete. Lawsuits aside, Google's autocomplete is really amazing. I wonder if autocomplete is effected by personalization?

  • Commerce. If I want to buy something, I search for it on Google, which is the entryway to a ton of online and offline stores. I click on Google Shopping, and it does an adequate job of showing me prices and options.


"Adequate" is an important word. It means "good enough". Google supplies results that are "good enough" in enough categories that people don't go looking for new search engines. Some things Google doesn't do as well? Well, there's a long list, but I'd start with control over your search experience. Next I'd say I'd like more options in Gmail for viewing email. And I'm going to stop there, because there's plenty of others out there criticizing what's a pretty amazing company with tons of cool things, some of which might blow me out of the water.

Jawaya is not a new search engine, by the way. There are aspects of that, but really it's a tool for social discovery through search and sharing. There are a lot of copycats springing up already, and some that were in and around the arena. I don't care about that.

What I care about is creating a solid set of tools for people to make finding great content easier, and connecting to the people who have already found that great content possible. And there's a long way to go toward getting there.

Next week I start formally raising a Series A round. At the same time, I'm working on building in the business model early so we can (gasp) generate real revenue early on. I think what we're doing is compelling, and will help a lot of people get what they need faster and with a richer experience.

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