Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Google Memory Loss

Tim Bray:

I think Google has stopped indexing the older parts of the Web. I think I can prove it. Google’s competition is doing better.


My mental model of the Web is as a permanent, long-lived store of humanity’s intellectual heritage. For this to be useful, it needs to be indexed, just like a library. Google apparently doesn’t share that view.

It’s hard to know whether something like this is just a temporary glitch. It doesn’t make sense to me that Google would want to skip some pages just because they’re old.

I have actually had a lot more trouble whenever I try Bing or DuckDuckGo. Some pages they don’t seem to be able to find at all, and others are in the list of matches but don’t have the relevance ranking I would expect.

Update (2018-01-18): Jonathan Poritsky:

I had a few little tricks to discover aging content back then, including using Google’s date range search tool. Trying to use the same tool again this week brings up precious few useful results. From the outside looking in, it feels as though Google is discarding the early web. Which is strange given the company’s supposed raison d’être of organizing the world’s content.

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