diberry - 4:39 am on Oct 25, 2011 (gmt 0)
Reno's making the big point that it all keeps coming back to. If McD's isn't tasty, a child can know that instinctively and ask for Burger King. But search is intellectual. When you get bad results, is it that Google failed, or did you fail to use the right search terms? Or is there simply nothing on the internet about your topic? You don't know, so you don't immediately assume Google's the problem and turn to their competitors.
It's coming - users are getting more savvy. An older lady I know who only owns a computer to check email and shop recently informed me appropos of nothing that Google results are terrible anymore and so she'd switched to Bing. I think we'll see a lot more of this, now that entire generations are coming of age post-search.
Google is simply lucky in this regard, and their luck won't hold out forever. So for now, they're changing the algo not to better please users, but to better please themselves. They're knocking Yelp down because it refused to let Google scrape its content, for pete's sake. That's the height of hypocrisy, and it's not remotely about what's best for users.
But right now, they're in this magical place where they can screw users over completely, and the users won't realize it. For a while. But the day is coming.