Financial TimesFinancial Times

Whatever happened to Google Search?

By Elaine Moore

06 Jan 2023 · 2 min read

Editor's Note

Google Search used to be one of the wonders of the internet, writes the FT's Elaine Moore. But that was before it became ridden with adverts, making it increasing hard to access non-sponsored results.

Google Search was once one of the wonders of the online world. Its clean, organised pages of results filtered the otherwise unmanageable slog of information on the internet. That was until it became cluttered with adverts. Now the world’s biggest search engine is less encyclopedia, more Yellow Pages.

Look up a search term that can also be a product — asthma inhalers, for example — and you will need to scroll past up to four large adverts before reaching non-sponsored results. Search for clothing and the entire first page will be companies hoping to make a sale. Even non-ad results can look like wrong answers, with links full of buzzwords so Google gives them a higher ranking.

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