Linked by snydeq on Mon 8th Aug 2011 22:14 UTC
Google InfoWorld's Neil McAllister questions whether slowing product development, legal woes, and rising bureaucracy will signal trying times ahead for Google. "With Google's rapid growth have come new challenges. It faces intense competition in all of its major markets, even as it enters new ones. Its newer initiatives have often struggled to reach profitability. It must answer multiple ongoing legal challenges, to say nothing of antitrust probes in the United States and Europe. Privacy advocates accuse it of running roughshod over individual rights. As a result, it's becoming more cautious and risk-averse. But worst of all, as it grows ever larger and more cumbersome, it may be losing its appeal to the highly educated, impassioned workers that power its internal knowledge economy." Note from Thom: Are Apple's Microsoft's Google's days behind it? I don't think you can call yourself a technology giant without a '[...] is dying'-article.
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What about search?
by deathshadow on Tue 9th Aug 2011 09:58 UTC
deathshadow
Member since:
2005-07-12

In a lot of ways, I think Google is just loosing sight of what made them great in the first place; simple, clean, unobtrusive search.

You look at their search pages today, especially after the most recent reskin -- and it basically throws accessibility out the window, is doped to the gills with javascript/ajax bloat, sucks on bandwidth like candy with the search as you type asshattery... and on the whole pisses all over everything that made Google search THE place to go compared to the alternatives.

If I didn't know better, I'd swear they were trying to implement what flushed "jeeves/ask jeeves/ask/whatever the hell they're calling themselves this week" down the toilet.

I mean just go to their home page now -- the search buttons are now absurdly undersized px metric fonts, the menu at the top is absurdly undersized px fonts in dark gray on darker gray (yeah, that's legible), and it's 161k of bull (AFTER compression, 376k uncompressed) for what 99% of people visiting the site is one input box, two submits, 400 bytes of plaintext and a handful of anchors... 103k (289 uncompressed) is javascript asshattery for christmas only knows what!

You view source, it's 44K of HTML -- FOR THAT?!? This is made worse by the outright ignorant idiocy of not even TRYING to leverage caching models; Static scripting in the markup, static CSS inlined in the markup, scripting hooks manually in the markup with a total lack of scripting off fallbacks, TABLES FOR LAYOUT, endless unneccessary/redundant classes, tags that have NO BUSINESS in any HTML written after 1998 like CENTER and FONT... This current incarnation is a laundry list of how NOT to build a website and I don't even want to THINK what it's costing to host that; especially when I could cut that cost in half or more with ease.

Of course what do you expect from a company that's actually trying to deploy the fat bloated useless HTML 5 specification while it's still in DRAFT -- NOT that I'd even suggest using that idiotic train wreck of unneccessary and pointless new tags since it really is just the new Tranny. The target audience for it definately NOT being anyone who embraced the concepts of HTML 4 Strict, separation of presentation from content -- and in fact appears to be determined to set coding practices BACK a decade. It truly appears HTML 5 is for the people who over the past decade have still been vomiting up HTML 3.2, slapping a tranny doctype on it, and saying "close enough"... Now instead of a tranny they're just giving it lip service -- net change zero.

In any case, one of the best litmus tests for any type of major service like this is to look at the folks who work with it professionally. Take IE -- in 2002-2003 the ONLY question web developers were asking about sites was "does it work in IE? Yes? Screw the rest" -- we've come a long ways since then. As Steve said, "developers, developers, developers, developers" -- we rag on him for that, but it's true. You target the people who make stuff, and the people who just use it are forced to follow!

When it comes to search engines, that means SEO professionals... Now, there are a LOT of SEO scam artists out there giving it a bad reputation, but working for the engine IS an important part of buiding a site. (I just think it should be part of the coding and promotion process and NOT a cottage industry unto itself) Looking back two to three years ago the ONLY question most SEO pro's were talking about is "How does google handle it" -- now we're starting to see murmers about other engines. Bing is making a dent, but it's not the only one. I'm now hearing English language SEO folks talking about Yandex and Baidu... Those are Russian and Chinese!

The time is even ripe for brand new engines to give a little shove -- see DuckDuckGo, which more and more people I know are abandoning Google for because it's leaner and faster.

Bottom line -- when it comes to search Google is getting too fancy for it's own good; I think all their useful scripting and AJAX on things like maps and docs has gone to their heads -- and they're flushing their own search pages down the crapper by trying to implement that there...

Completely forgetting that needlessly complex scripting, excessive images, and convoluted page behaviors are exactly why people stopped using other search engines and switched to google in the first place over a decade ago. They are now repeating the mistakes of the search engines they took over from.

Edited 2011-08-09 10:00 UTC

Reply Score: 5