Google the search engine
A couple of stray thoughts on this article from Chris Coyier, about search engine optimisation—itself prompted by this article on The Verge.
In terms of finding good results for searches online, Google has largely been superseded by three platforms that handle search better (though with varying degrees of veracity):
- YouTube searches still basically turn up what you want. Whereas on the textual web it's getting increasingly easy to generate huge volumes of SEO-optimised word soup to populate the first three pages of search results, it's harder to fake high-value video (or at least high-value-looking video). As a side note, YouTube’s Algorithm also seems to be the only one with acceptable approval ratings.
- Reddit is mostly self-congratulatory garbage and clickbait nowadays, but continues to be a good resource for people passionate about niche subjects. A tip: skip anything within a 10-mile radius of the “front page”. But do you want to compare vintage bicycle freewheels, or learn whether a sailmaker has a bad reputation? Nerds on Reddit hashed these things out ad nauseam 8 years ago, and 3 years ago, and 1 year ago, and 4 months ago, and 2 weeks ago.
- AI tools can cut through a lot of the cruft but—be warned!—they must be strictly supervised or else they start dispensing wild and borderline illegal advice. There’s also a relatively steep learning curve and functionally nonexistent affordances so the chances that someone gets into trouble go up with the exponential inverse of a user’s previous experience.
Alternative search engines have also gotten much better in the meantime: DuckDuckGo has a stupid name but their core offering is fine, unless you're recklessly dependent on Google's "Smart Cards" or "Quick Answers" or whatever they call them nowadays; Kagi has tens of thousands of paying customers singing their praises (on Reddit, natch). Phind (also a stupid name) puts search results through AI to try and get you to the answers faster, though previous disclaimers still apply.
The landscape of the web changes.