Web search engines

This page was added to my site because I decided that it was foolish to place too much trust in Google Search. I have done so in the past, many people do. It has long been in the back of my mind that we all are too reliant on one search engine and that there is a danger in that.

I became particularly disenchanted with Google following April 2021 when I had to change the URL of my website (I changed it from ramblingsdc.net to comagecontra.net)

 
Search these pages

This is a search
of this site alone

In September I used the first group of search engines in the table below, including Google, in six tests. Yandex passed all six, Yahoo passed two, none of the others passed any at all! The results changed to some extent over time, but there was no significant improvement from Google search.

The search engines on the following line in the table were from Search Engine Journal; and finally two more search engines that I read of in The Conversation.

As of February 2023 I am inclined to think that Google is more interested in pursuing profit than in providing a service. My impression is that Yandex is the best available search engine at this time.

This page was started 2021/09/20, last edited 2023/02/04
Contact: David K. Clarke – ©


Search engine table

Internet search engines, in alphabetical order
Ask
Later additions, from SEJ, better than Google:
The search engines on the above row were listed in SEJ, Search Engine Journal
Baidu; a Chinese propaganda search engine
Ecosia; better than Google
Science Direct; a specialist science search

Special Google searches

As of August 2022 the more I looked into the matter the more it seemed to me that if our aim is to find what is out there, rather than simply what is the most often accessed, there are much better search engines than Google that are available to us.

If Google is failing to find the sites I've tested it on, how many more is it also failing to find? It is a difficult question to answer.

 





Tests

The trial strings I used, on 2021/09/20, were: These strings are the titles of six of my pages. The first four have been in place on the Internet for many years, the next is my home page which has been present in all but title for many years, the last was written on 2021/08/22. As mentioned above, Yandex found all six, Yahoo found two (the second and forth), none of the others found any at all!

If most of the search engines, other than Yandex, are failing to find my pages, what else are they failing to find?

More tests, 2021/09/22; again, on some of my web pages:

  • "Wind power problems" All failed to find it
    Yahoo and Yandex found "Wind power problems, alleged problems and objections", the full title of the page.

  • "morrison government" Only Yandex found it; placed it second, after the Wikipedia entry.

  • "end of coal" Yandex was the only one to find it; placed it first.


A serious failure:

Google lists a web site that is full of lies, but not another web page that details that lack of credibility.

 

Source Watch

Source Watch is run by the Centre for Media and Democracy's PR Watch. "The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) is a nationally recognized watchdog that leads in-depth, award-winning investigations into the corruption that undermines our democracy, environment, and economic prosperity."
The anti-wind-power site, Stop These Things, has no credibility, as noted in Source Watch. Quoting Source Watch:
"Stop These Things (STT) is an anti-wind website promoting anecdotes and pseudoscience intended to cast doubt on the effectiveness of wind energy. The website also promotes claims alleging people living in close proximity to wind turbines suffer assorted detrimental health conditions.

The creator and moderator of the website is unknown and unaccountable yet readily posts any unfounded, ill informed attack, distortion or blatant lie directed at pro-wind individuals or groups."

I wrote a page going into detail about the insulting, misleading and dishonest nature of Stop These Things back in 2013. Running a test of Google search in 2022/08/27 showed that my page, titled 'Some facts about Stop These Things' was not just given a low ranking, it was not on Google's list at all. Yet it did get a high ranking on Bing, Duckduckgo, Ecosia, OneSearch, Swisscows, Yahoo and Yandex.

My page on the dishonesty of Stop These Things was previously given a high ranking on a Google search, when it was under my old ramblingsdc.net URL, but following the change of my website to comagecontra.net in April 2021 Google seems to have ignored it.
 


Background to this page

About March 2021 Yahoo Small Business stopped supporting web hosting. They had hosted my web pages, ramblingsdc.net, for about 15 years.

I transferred by web pages to an Australian company, Ventra Ip. Yahoo Small Business were not cooperating, not replying to my messages at all. Ventra Ip needed Yahoo Small Business to release the name 'ramblingsdc.net' before they could use it. So I placed my web pages under a new name, 'comagecontra.net' (a contraction of 'A Commentary on an Age of Contradictions', which I thought described what they were about better than the old name).

Google search had previously given many of my pages under ramblingsdc.net a high rating. I expected similar ratings within a few weeks for my new pages, but after almost a year Google had still not picked up on the change.

Yandex has picked up on my new site, and Yahoo search has picked up on it to a limited extent, Google Search has almost entirely failed.
 



 
This section added
2022/08/16

Google page ranking

Barry Jones, in his book What is to be Done?, in the chapter on How the Digital World Changed Everything wrote about how Google's ranks web pages:
"PageRank works by counting the number and quality of links to a page to determine a rough estimate of how important the website is. The underlying assumption is that more important websites are likely to receive more links from other websites... A PageRank results from a mathematical algorithm based on the webgraph, created by all World Wide Web pages as nodes and hyperlinks as edges."
 

Suspicions about Google search

As mentioned above I suspect that Google is more interested in pursuing profit than in providing a service. And there are many pages that Google seems not to have indexed at all.

There are better alternatives.

Plainly a web page that has been in place for a long time would have more links to it than one that is relatively new. This system would seem to me to continually favour those pages that have been in place, under the same URL, for a long time.

Of course the ranking of pages can't be done properly without first indexing the great majority of the pages on the Internet and it seems to me at the time of writing that Google Search had not indexed many of my pages at all, well over a year after I had set them up under a new home URL, comagecontra.net.

If this is how Google's ranking is done it would result in 'catch 22' type of problem. A site is not going to get many links until it becomes well known, and if Google doesn't list it at all few people will find it and link to it.

 



Related pages

Related pages on external sites...

The Conversation, Suzannah Wood and Nicolas Suzor, 2014/04/09, Baidu’s perfect paradox: free speech and the right to censor; "China’s biggest search engine has a constitutional right to filter its search results, a US court found,,," "...search engines are not exactly like newspapers. While we expect and learn to accept the editorial bias of our newspapers, the bias of search engines can be much harder to detect. It can be hard to know what information is being left out when you don’t know what you’re missing."

More from The Conversation:

Is Google getting worse? Increased advertising and algorithm changes may make it harder to find what you’re looking for; by Mohiuddin Ahmed and Paul Haskell-Dowland, 2021/09/01

It’s not just a social media problem – how search engines spread misinformation; by Chirag Shah, 2021/03/11

Source Watch by the Center for Media and Democracy evaluates sources on the Internet. This particular article is about a very dishonest anti-wind-power site called Stop These Things. I have written a page on STT.

Related pages on this site...

Reliable information: Where should you look for reliable information?

Information sources: My sources of information