Nothing quite like using Google News search to look at the results for “google results worse.”
I don’t think I ever have gotten truly more useful results than when I used AltaVista. It was such a raw text search, and maybe the web was small enough then, that as I slightly adjusted my search string I could feel the results getting better. As I narrowed down for an answer to what I was trying to find out I could see the results get better.
The power of the web is amazing. But sifting through it is a large-sized, but well understood problem. But there’s more and more of the web coming online that seems to be word salad or composed in various manners by machines with all parties incentivized to monetize every bit of every website. Money-making and high quality information, weirdly, are not necessarily highly correlated.
In middle school–or was it high school–they told us to stop using encyclopedias as research paper resource material. They had us instead seek more primary sources. Maybe let’s do that.