Now, the partnership is in jeopardy. Last Tuesday, the Justice Department filed a landmark lawsuit against Google — the U.S. government’s biggest antitrust case in two decades — and homed in on the alliance as a prime example of what prosecutors say are the company’s illegal tactics to protect its monopoly and choke off competition in web search.
The scrutiny of the pact, which was first inked 15 years ago and has rarely been discussed by either company, has highlighted the special relationship between Silicon Valley’s two most valuable companies — an unlikely union of rivals that regulators say is unfairly preventing smaller companies from flourishing.
The search market is entirely locked down. I’m a DuckDuckGo user, but DDG is just a frontend to Bing, warts and all. I’ve been having very negative experiences with DDG lately, but the only other real option is Google – I’ve got nowhere else to go. So either I accept Google’s filter bubble, or I accept DDG having terrible results filled with crazy conspiracy pseudoscience.
What choice do we really have?
The search engine is a tool, and like with any tool one needs to build the skills to use it properly. I still cannot fathom why people seem to think it’s okey to turn off their brains just because the tool happens to involve information technology.
There are four crawlers: Google, Bing, Yandex, Baidu. Doesn’t seem as though it should be difficult to build another, except that the internet is quite big now, so there’s a bandwidth price of entry.
You can probably get away without global search for most things though. Subscribe to a few actual news services for news feeds and use an RSS aggregator for the rest. Search for “known stuff” in Wikipedia. Search for products in Amazon or whatever your preferred local e-taler is. Maintain a favourites list and let your browser search that.
Google still mostly works for me, but it’s been getting steadily worse for tracking down specific technical problems or finding discussion of error messages, IMO. Replaced with lots of stupid beginner-level click-bait, which is probably more the fault of SEOs and monetization than google as such. Not bad enough for me to go looking for alternatives though.