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  • Writer's pictureJustin Blattner

Episode 002 | Are you searching the internet correctly? What is the future for internet search?

Episode 002 | Are you searching the internet correctly? What is the future for internet search? [Transcription]

Justin: Hi everyone it is Justin your host of free coffee, a journey through the internet. And before we kick off of the episode, I wanted to play a little bit of the intro of the podcast festival that I went to two weeks ago. This intro is Tom Morley, who is the former drummer of Scritti Politti and I think he's gonna bang into us some truth and it's going to resonate with today's subject.

So I'm just going to play that now.

Tom : Hello, everybody. Welcome to the drum room. Normally I would invite you all over to play these drums with me. It's not a green screen, they're real drums, but we can't do that because of lock down. So, um, I've got to talk to you a bit about tension and release, because a lot of stories about tension and release, a lot of podcasts are about tension and release.

You create tension that you don't really know this. I'm going to tell it to you. There's the release I'm going to ask someone we are all worrying about that question. Here's the answer. It's the release

Now if were to play it on the drum. Like this it would go.

Now we dont need drums in order to get into that group, you just need to wooden spoons. So I'm going to show you like this.

Se how you get on with this.

If you have some pills or some rice in the jar, anything around that you've got. In the house that you could shake, that's where we're after . And we don't want you to do this because you can't really get rythm like that. But if you throw it out the screen

by that, and then if you get two, if it's really the advanced the platinum, course but

Justin: So right now Walk like and Egyptian is playing.

Tom, Morley's dancing with some shakers, the chat is going off a little bit. Some people were confused thinking they're going there. They came into a, some people were confused. They thought they were walking into a virtual panel discussion about podcasting and there's Tom Morley, who has dreadlocks, a top hat that has glitter on it.

Some feathers. And a second ago he was banging together some toilet brushes, but now he's shaking two bottles. I don't know what it is, to walk like an Egyptian.

Hi everyone. Welcome to free coffee. A journey to the internet episode, two brought to you by the LRNPOD network. What you just heard was my live reaction to the beginning of the virtual podcast festival, which was mentioned in episode one with Ralph Cochrane,

It was litttt

And today we are actually going to meeet one of the cofounders of the podcast festival Sam Sethi, who happens to also be an award winning radio presenter, and host of the podcast Sam Talks Technology. So I convinced him to give us some perspective on today's story. Which is internet search. Something that we do every day as a 2019, the indexed web was an estimated host of 5.85 billion pages. And that's just the activity reach via search engines. If you were to download the entire web, it would take approximately 11 trillion years.

Okay. Let's go back to Sam and to start asking some questions about the beginning of the internet and his relationship to search

that intro was incredible. Oh, what was it? Tom Moore. Morley.

Sam: Yes. Yes.

Justin: I was not expecting that.

Sam: Well, nor was I actually if I am very honest, um, a friend who, well, one of the partners on the festival, Andrew Grill. Uh, so now I've got a mate called Todd Morely ex band member member of Scritti Politti. I went, okay, how does that fit in with it?

He said, he'll just play some percussion stuff at the beginning. And I was like, when he got two wooden spoons out was like, okay, this is either going to go really well or really badly. And because I'd never seen him before myself

Justin: being a podcast festival host is something new to you, but how did you get into broadcast and to podcasting?

Sam: Uh, okay. So mine was, mine was a very serendipitous roots. I friend of mine just said, do you fancy coming in doing an eighties radio show. And I'm one of these people like Jim Carrey and the yes, man, like, yeah. Okay. Let's try it. I've never tried that before. Let's give it a go. And that was about three years ago maybe.

And I just thought. Uh, after I played Shalamar on the eighties show for the 50th time, I thought this isn't really for me. Um, so I'd always wanted to do a business and technology show cause that's where my passion is. And they said yes. So I started doing that and then, I managed to get it syndicated round to well it's now over 35 radio stations in the UK and, um, yeah, and last year I won best new presenter.

Justin: I saw that congrtulations

Sam: Thank you very much. I was very chuffed. Um, um, and so podcasting is where I'm spending my passion and time, unfortunately, or fortunately I put on a podcast festival last week or two weeks ago now. Um, and that was, you know, a six week start to finish, get it live.

Um, I'm really looking forward to the next one. We're about to announce it's called voices of the world. Um, we've got, um, Baratunde Thurston and then if you know him, he's an amazing speaker, uh, from the US but we've got George the Poet who's um,

Justin: incredible.

Sam: Yeah, incredible.

Um, and we've got similar speakers from South Korea, China, South Africa, and France.

Justin: Before we get to the search questions for Sam, let's go into some of the fundamentals.

An internet search engine is a software that's designed to carry out internet search, which means it will search the entire worldwide web for a specific information that you put into some textual web query or by voice ... actually is what we'll learn in a moment.

So usually the search results are generally presented in a kind of line or linear up to down matter. We're going to actually explore some other ways of, of a, how search results can be presented. So I know you, the audience knows most of this information, obviously. Um, but during the lockdown, I got to thinking what if we were searching the internet incorrectly?

What if there's a better way to do internet search and what is it that we're overlooking in search? Mmm. And more importantly, where what's the future for search

Sam: Yeah, I started, I started in, the internet when there was a wonderful search engine called Alta Vista. I dunno how old you are. And if you remember that, so. I remember the, the birth of Google and it seemed like, you know, why would you use something else? And then it suddenly became the de facto. Um, and subsequently even with the likes of Bing in duck, duck, go, there doesn't seem to be any real calm.

Competition to their dominance globally. Um, that said, I think Google now has got a real challenge on its hands.

Justin: Before we get to Sam's problem with Google, let's go back into the history of search. Archie was the first search engine and was a tool for indexing, FTP archives, allowing people to find specific files.

Um, and then there was Jughead and Veronica, those are real names. Fast forward a bit and you're in the midst of an avalanche of different search engines, like, uh, Excite InfoSpace Infoseek Ali web Alta Vista Lycos WebCrawler. Um, in 1994, it was possible to still purchase a book that had all the websites on the internet in it.

few years later, Google comes into the scene with a different way to rank search results on the page today, 90% of search is done on Google

Sam: voice assistance. Certainly I'm a very heavy user. I'll turn mine off just in case she comes on. Um, Alexa is going to change the landscape in the way that we find information.

I've got six in the house. And, you know, I think when I search for something with Alexa or ask her a question, that's not really search. I get a definitive answer often, you know, give me the telephone number for the local Chinese restaurant. I don't want 10 results. I don't want. Five ads around it. I don't that how Google's going to monetize voice in the same way to deliver the same revenue that they get from a single page, return their results at the moment.

Justin: Okay. So we're unsure about how to monetize voice moving forward, but what do you feel is the future for search overall?

Sam: I think the future such is less avatar a advertorial um, and I think the future of content is less advertorial. I think. People will pay to have less adverts . We do that already. In funny enough, we are paying for privacy as well.

So if you can afford an expensive iPhone, you're getting more privacy than if you can only afford an Android phone. So I think the future for search for advertising for the internet is actually. Slightly different to what we were talking about. I think people will pay for a flight to quality of content and no advertising.

I would pay $10 now to have Facebook, without me being the product and then selling my data. There will be a vertical search sites that I will go to. So let's, let's say I'm looking for a film, you know, it's IMDB or rotten tomatoes, you know, it's, it's not going to be Google. Um, so they're all rather indexable databases for searching content that is not generic,

Justin: which brings us to Fagan Finder created by Michael Fagan, which is I found on Reddit.

It's a search aggregator, very useful search tool that Michael will explain.

Michael: Uh, well, I, uh, I'm in Toronto. That's where I live in Canada. Um, who am I, Michael Fagan? Uh, I do this website that we'll be talking about is sort of a hobby that I started back in high school in 2001. So it's. Quite a long time ago.

Justin: Right. And can you explain what the site is for those who can't see it in front of them?

Michael: So there's, there's a number of different kind of topical pages. Uh, the homepage is a general purpose one and for each topic it's, um, kind of one search box that lets you type in something you're looking for and then search on a whole bunch of different search engines, databases, or other tools that, uh, you know, might be useful.

Um, so the, the one, uh, that we might be talking about, uh, if not all of them, the main one is general purpose resources. It includes things like, uh, search engines, encyclopedias, libraries, and archives, uh, high level resources. Um, the kind of idea is just help people find anything anywhere. Uh, you know, there's a lot of, um, think there's a lot of underlying assumptions that if you searched it once on Google, you found everything that could possibly be sound and, uh, that's not true. And I hope with this tool to both, um, to, to help people explore everything that's out there.

Justin: You, how did the, the idea for it, I guess, like, come about.

Michael: Um, well, initially it wasn't really, for other people. It was just something I made for myself.

So I just had a little webspace and I kind of put links to the things that I frequently accessed, uh, on that page. And a lot of those things were some search engines to be able to find things on the rest of the internet. Um, and I think at some point I thought, Oh, this collection of search tools is it's kind of nice.

Maybe other people than myself would want to use it. So I sort of reframe the site to be for anyone rather than just me.

Justin: So let's, let's unpack that a little bit. So you're saying that, um, just using Google, normally isn't the best way to search.

Michael: It's not that it's not the best way. It's just that you won't definitely find everything that way.

Um, there's a lot of things that aren't in Google for one reason or another. And even if it is in Google, that doesn't mean that you're searching in a way that will let you find it.

Um, you know, Google is, is an amazing, incredible resource, and I definitely encourage people to use it when they're looking for things, but, um, just want to expand people's horizons and realize that there's more out there.

Justin: Well, Fagan Finder was a meta search tool or search aggregator. What we're about to be introduced to, um, by Chandler is a different way to engage with search and search results, which I think is very innovative. And, um, I really feel like we're on the edge of something more along the lines of what I imagined the future of search to be.

Chandler : Sure. So I spent about 20 years in, I started off in 1983, et cetera. I'll go through the story quickly

in 1983, as a stock trader traded up until about 2000. Uh, during all that time, I was very involved in the trading technology, more of how the technology was helping the traders to do their job better. Uh, traders are very good at what they do, but the problem is they spend most of the time administering the systems I got into more of the technology by 2000, um, Um, I was kind of done a lot.

I was with a firm called Montgomery securities, which got bought out by Bank America. Uh, and then in 2000 I decided such get off more into the technology itself

Justin: and down the rabbit hole. Chandler goes.

Chandler : So, what I found was, even though I was working from the trading side of it, you know, how do you want to trade this?

You know, you want a better algorithm, you know, what's your access, you know, what markets you go into, you know, stuff like that. But I started to find was what they were really looking for was the information around what they were about to trade. Right? They're about to click a button on, you know, a $40 million trade, a hundred million dollar trade.

Yeah. You know, they want to make sure that they've covered all their bases. So between a couple of the products I work with, and especially most recently, Bloomberg. What I found was that by pushing relevant information to the trader prior to the trade, some type of thoughtful insight that the machine came up with that really does help to either affirm the trade they're about to make, or make them question what they're about to do.

Justin: So this is Chandler, Chandler's passionate about, uh, the concept of research versus search, the tool that he built. Allows for people to do more in depth research and have a, a more, a relationship with the search platform that they're using. So

Chandler : what I found was that search wasn't a consistent thing. If you're sitting there on your phone, you may go to Google right away.

If you're on your, your iPad or your desktop, um, you may use a more formal source that you have maybe something from you from your office. But what I always found is that there was a difficult starting point. Where do you go? Do you go to Google first? Well, 99% of the 95% of all the search go to Google first, you kind of get some answer there and then if you really researching it, you'll start to jot down what you're looking for.

But what I found was that without having something consistent, there wasn't any way that this research analyst can actually do his job well. Because then what are you looking for? You're looking for a document in Google drive. You're looking for something on your reading list. You're looking for, you know, in four or five different places for the information that you really just kind of need in one place.

And then when it comes down to it, how do you follow up on that? Right? How do you say, well, I had this idea three months ago. Where is it? Is it in my notes? Is it in my reminders?

Justin: What happens next is Chandler takes the research he was doing at his job. And then in out of necessity, uses it for himself in the job market, which later turns into him building this tool.

Chandler : So what I did was. I started to look for a new position. And in looking for that position, I was going through things like angel list, always going through all the job boards. I was going to all of the corporate career websites, you know, putting in the resumes, talking to all my contacts, my business and transaction services basically died.

Right. The, it consolidated became very mechanized. You hear about algorithms all the time. So human, all of a sudden, I'm 60 years old, uh, on that, the latter part of my career, and I'm obsolete. I got to find a new way of using what I've learned, um, into something that use for today.

When they started to look, I was looking at all these websites and going through the same problem that I found the researchers had had. So in my spare time, on my phone, there's something called Siri shortcuts. And in Siri shortcuts, I started to code up my thought process of how I was going through it.

Well, what am I looking for? How am I putting this information together? Um, you know, why do I need the document versus the picture, or it didn't even matter. Um, and what I found was all I really wanted to do was get the information first. So I created a search that wasn't really anything new or revolutionary.

It was just a different way of slicing and dicing. But what I did with the app, was I broke it down into saying, well, Reddit has one way of looking at information. Twitter has another way of work. You know, crowdsourcing versus, uh, you know, global conversation versus just news versus just search a Google search or Wikipedia.

I just added Wikipedia last week, like taking a subject, breaking it down to three words, right. Whatever that might be breaking it down into three words. And then looking at the segregated bits of information, the siloed information that came from these different sources, it helped me to structure better.

What I was looking for when I looked at Twitter, I realized what I was looking at was some random conversation, some odd opinions that people might have, maybe some interesting reference. When I looked at Reddit, it was more of a thoughtful conversation. When I looked at news, I was looking for press releases.

Justin: So at this point, it still sounds like it's just a meta search engine kind of like Fagan finder is, but what Chandler does with the search results, I think is what truly makes LOGRresearch his, his platform very special. And there'll be a link below in the show notes. For those of you who are interested in checking it out to any of these links, by the way,

Chandler : by taking all that information and kind of segregating it.

I realized that if I can take notes now on each one of those articles I looked at and it pulled down, each search that I did with this thing probably pulled down about 40 or 50 references. Um, I think the limitation was on the API, right? So it's not like when you go to Google itself and you get, you know, 14 million reference, 14 million results, right.

Um, top five of which are promoted anyway. So, what I found was here, I had a limited set of information coming back from segregated sources that I understood what that source was trying to tell me. And what I did then with Siri shortcuts was it said, well, I need a way now to organize this. So initially I did it with Trello.

So what I did was I took all of those articles that came down from those sources and dump them into a Trello board. Uh, each, uh, each list, uh, was one of the sources and each one of those cards was one of the articles that came out. So this way now I had, so now I can go to my computer, right. My laptop sit back, launch Trello and have a better way of managing all of those articles.

Justin: When I decided to look for different ways to engage with search and look at what innovations in the platforms we were we have today, both Fagan finder and LOGRresearch definitely lived up to the hype. They're both very useful tools if you want to do more in depth research on the internet. Um, but most of us just want to type into Google our searches and Ben from

has some insight for us. So let's check in with him.

Ben: Yeah. So, uh, my name's Ben and I actually went to college for computer information. So I kind of always, when I was growing up in high school, I enjoyed kind of helping people with computers. I would teach them, um, you know, how to avoid getting malware on your computer and what to do to make it run faster and things like that.

Um, so when I went to college, I knew I wanted to do something with computers, but wasn't sure what, um, and then about halfway through college, I had the opportunity to start writing for a tech website called make use of I was following them. Cause I'd heard about them through one of my professors and the class I took and they put an infographic on Facebook saying here's 10 signs.

You might be a great writer for us. And most of them applied to me. So even though I'd never really written a whole lot before I applied and they liked my article. Um, so I've been writing for make use of since 2014, I worked in IT for like, Six or seven months when I graduated college. And then I was able to go full time as a writer.

So I'm going to write her an editor for make use of since the end of 2016. That's my, that's my story.

Justin: By this time, in the episode, we know that Google is the powerhouse in search and they doesn't look like they're going to give up their throne anytime soon. So, I guess I'm curious about what are they doing to innovate?

What have they been doing to innovate what's going on behind this black box of search?

Ben: So a couple of things that I've noticed Google do kind of recently, and just to preface, make use of just a lot of traffic from Google, from keywords, you know, people searching for all kinds of stuff. You know, why is my audio and windows not working?

Or what are the meditation apps for iPhone, that type of thing. Um, so, so we use a lot of this and, um, some of the stuff that Google has done in general recently, I would say over the past couple of years, Google has gotten a lot better at understanding keyword intent. Um, so that means, you know, when you search for something.

Especially, if it could be taken multiple ways, Google's better at kind of parsing the meaning that you use. Um, so if you search for, you know, in the old days, you know, people, they would tell you, you know, don't Google something like you'd talk about it. So instead of typing in, you know, how do you fix a program when it won't install on windows hand or something like that?

They would say, you know, you key words that Google will pick up on, uh, Google has gotten a lot smarter in that regard to where, when you type in, how do you X or that type of thing, almost like you're speaking instead of typing into a computer. Um, Google's gotten a lot better at interpreting that intent.

So you don't have to use literal letter for letter key words. You can kind of just get, don't get the meaning as long as it's not too obscure.

Justin: Is there a future where Google isn't the main search engine?

Ben: I would say. I mean, just the, the rise of Google and so many ways. I think that it's going to be really hard to bring them down.

Quote unquote. Um, I just think when, when something becomes. This is kind of like cultural, I guess. But once something becomes just synonymous, you know, the fact that Google was now a verb, that means, you know, just Google, whatever. Um, that's really powerful on that. And like we were talking about earlier, where if someone opens up their browser and it's Yahoo search or whatever, most people, unless they don't know better, they're going to think, Oh, I don't want Yahoo I want to Google because in their mind, Google is just the search engine.

Um, I think that's really powerful and that's really hard to undo. Um, and one of the other reasons, too, like we touched on with the economies of scale kind of thing, you know, YouTube being the second, I think, I believe it's the second biggest website in the world after Google. Um, that type of endeavor is really, really, really hard for a company to try to mimic.

Um, so there's, you know, there's Vimeo and Dtube and other sites, but just the, the capital, I guess that Google already has invested in YouTube. I mean, think about all the video that's uploaded to YouTube every minute and all the server space that takes and sorting and algorithms. And every thing like for someone to try to compete with that head on is really hard.

And I've watched videos from YouTube that I liked that talk about, you know, I don't like this policy of YouTube or I'm getting screwed by the algorithm or whatever, and they want to go somewhere else on principle. But you know, most, if you want to watch. Videos you go to YouTube. So if you're a video producer and you're not putting content on YouTube, you're making it a lot harder for yourself, for people to find you

Justin: people to find you, you know, that's obvious when you're, so when you're searching for something, someone else is putting something out there.

For you to find. Um, but it's not something I've actually thought about in the future of search, which is the future for search for the creators, the writers, the people who are trying to optimize their websites, their, uh, their content, their meta-data. Uh, for ways that make it easier for the web crawlers and the search engines to actually find them and feed them to you.

When you decide to ask, uh, Google or ask Alexa, or however you decide to engage with search, let's meet Tina and Kannon, both writers with SEO knowledge from as well.

Tina: We're both. We both started writing for the website. Uh, I started writing for the website in late 2007. So it's been a long time.

Um, uh, I kind of gradually like went from being a writer to being an editor and then being an editor. We were rewarded for, um, articles performing. So you naturally look into okay. Where does this traffic confirm and how can you get more of it? Um, and that's how I ended up looking into keywords and SEO and learning more and more about it.

Um, it's basically self-taught and. Yeah, making all the mistakes you can make, um, and search, uh, and being like as a site as well, we made some mistakes before my time, during my time, um, that, um, with algorithm updates on Googles end we were punished for, and yeah, so you, you learn as you go things change pretty rapidly to in search.

Um, yeah.

Kannon: So I, uh, I got into search the exact same way that Tina did. Um, and I don't identify as an SEO specialist, even though, um, the majority of what I do now is SEO related. Um, I like search search for us for as writers search is a black box. Um, in that there's a lot of unknowns. In fact, the unknowns virtually define what search is because no one, no one except, uh, employees at Google really understand, um, how their algorithm works and they give us hints and they, they give us indicators.

Um, but it's, it's really, uh, uh, it's a completely proprietary system. And, um, Our role is to, is mostly based around answering questions that we find on Google. So, so, uh, to clarify, uh, I got into it because I was trying to do the best possible job at answering our reader's questions. Uh, Oh, by the way. So a little bit on myself.

Uh, I first got started, um, it's about 10 years ago. Uh, I believe in the fall, it'll have been 10 years. And, uh, I was, I was basically answering people's technical questions. So, um, we would, we would have readers submit questions to the site, uh, and they were, uh, they were tech questions and, uh, I, so I first got started in tech.

Uh, as a technician, uh, as a freelance technician and, uh, just kind of gradually, uh, my background is in journalism. Mmm. And I, I gradually applied journalism, um, to answering technical questions.

Justin: As a writer and content creator, how have the changes over time with Google affected kind of your workflow?

Kannon: So the, uh, the algorithm changes were not, uh, in my opinion, Um, we're not all that big an issue until, until fairly recently over the last few years and as Google has moved from, uh, so they're, they're, uh, the original model was, uh, basically basically primarily, uh, keyword related.

It's still keyword. Um, A keyword related, but right now they've switched over to something called BERT, which is, um, they're, they're applying deep learning, um, artificial intelligence techniques to semantic semantically, uh, analyzing the content of not just words but phrases. So the queries have gotten like they've, they've gone from single a or, or.

Um, they were more focused on single words. They're more focused on sentences

Tina: to build on that. It's, um, they're focusing on natural language processing. So now they can tell the difference of like minor, words like "of" or "in" where previously they like I couldn't tell what it put into context, what these, these little words meant, but the algorithm now allows them to interpret more complex sentences and interpret the nuances in the search.

So to becoming better and better at that. So we have to rely less and less on keywords. Um, Yeah. So they're trying to adapt to the user of the search engine rather than training the user , to use it in a right way, because that's when you said earlier, like, are we using search righ?. And my answer would be, don't worry about it because Google is trying to figure out how are people using search and then they're going to adapt to that.

That's their whole, a goal.

Justin: Okay. I worry too much. That's clear. Um, but it's good to know that Google is making all these innovations to better my search results without me having to think about how to search for something properly, but is Google it? Is Google the future for all of search. Are we stuck with Google forever?

Or is Google the best way to get. Um, news and search results, or is there other ways that you guys engage with search?

Kannon: Um, I, uh, I also use RSS. I don't, I don't know if you're familiar with that. Mmm it's it's become a deprecated technology over the last 10 years, but, uh, Alright, RSS, uh, for those who don't know, is there, it's a, it's a basically feeds like you can subscribe to individual websites and it's aggregated within what's called an RSS aggregator or reader.

And, uh, I, I oftentimes use that because, uh, if, if you, uh, if you've listened to, uh, Uh, uh, non-mainstream media sources, like, like a lot of the tech blogs I would consider to be non-mainstream or, um, Uh, news sites that, that are not like some of the smaller news companies that are getting censored right now on social media.

Um, RSS allows you to search, uh, all of their content with, uh, with, without, uh, actually having to look at their ads or having to individually go to the website. Um, and then there's also, uh, keyword filtering tools inside of RSS that make it a much more robust form of search than what you get on Google or Facebook.

Justin: What's the future like for search? Um, is there any trends that you're seeing or things that you would like to see for the future of search? So. We don't have to worry about how to search correctly?

Tina: There's also risks with that because when you are relying too much on one entity, this being mainly Google now, um, you rely on them being neutral.

I'm serving you the real news and not hiding things. And. That's that's, you know, you have to have to trust that this is actually happening. Um, I know that Kannon often searches for things he swears were easy to find a few months ago, and then he can no longer find them. Maybe you can speak to that himself.

Um, but we don't know, it's a black box. We don't really know what's happening in there. So it's good to have alternatives to know how to search. That's a question that Kannon should answer.

Kannon: Um, so I, I don't want to sound like, uh, like a paranoid conspiracy theorist, but, um, Google is fantastic. Um, If, if you know how to use it correctly.

And that's like, if you use boolean operators, um, and if you use filtering tools, but, uh, for like, for finding it's, so it's great for keeping up, like, if you, if you don't know anything about, um, the filtering tools, it's great for keeping up with the news, but like, let's say you wanted to find something that happens, uh, like a year ago or two years ago.

Um, it's, it's far more difficult to find something once it's rotated out of the news cycle. Um, and, and that's why, so, so one, I totally agree with Tina. Um, it's, it's extremely dangerous to rely on one single, um, gatekeeper for, uh, for anything. Mmm. But if you, if you, uh, If, you know, so if you know how to use those tools correctly, it, it mitigates the risk of having that single gatekeeper,

Tina: I guess, for people who.

Don't really, or can't be bothered with customizing their search environment. like Kannon advised using RSS or using Boolean search. I can learning all those intricate like methods of getting the results that you really want people.

Who just want to use search every day for harmless questions. Um, Try to ask Google in the way you would ask a friend.

So don't try to think of what terminology you should be using, what keywords you should be using, because Google is trying to figure out how people are interact naturally with a search engine. So I, my advice is not to worry about how you communicate with Google, but ask it like you would ask a normal person.

Cause that's what Google is trying, is trying to emulate. Just don't overthink it.

Kannon: Those are great search tips, by the way. Um, so, so I, I would strongly recommend avoiding using Google to get all of your news, um, avoid algorithmic processes. Uh, instead I highly recommend using local searches on websites that you trust.

And I, I would advise staying away from larger news sources. Um, if, uh, There's like there's, there's a lot of websites out there. It's that, uh, that because of Google's algorithm changes have gotten, um, on to page two, page three or page four, um, that, that will cover new sources from, um, a perspective you may not have heard.

Um, and, and there's, there's a lot of examples out there. I will get in trouble for mentioning any of them, um, like democracy now, but, uh, there's, there's the, the success of, uh, Of whether or not you get good content depends on a diverse range of news sources. And once you find a news source that you can trust it, stick with it, use their website.

Justin: So Canon brings up an interesting point about searching for news and using things other than Google and Google news to find out what you're looking for. And I , can recall a story riding my my I'm from originally from Miami, Florida. And I was riding my bicycle in the Key Biscayne . And it was very early in the morning and I looked up and there looked to be a UFO in this sky.

And I wasn't crazy because everybody else stopped and was taking photos and it really blew my mind. I had no idea what it was and it was bothering me all morning. And I went to Twitter at first. I went to Google actually, and I couldn't find any, any, anything to explain what I saw. Uh, and then I tried Twitter and I, it was explained to me it was a rocket launch from the Kennedy space center.

Um, but it would, what that taught me was that sometimes Google is not the best way to search for things. And especially when it's something hyper-local, uh, that Twitter seem to be. Uh, a better way to find out what I was looking for.

So let's meet James, the founder of launch pod studios in London. He has a story of what led him to search for news, which the way he does now.

James: Launch pod is a, an incubator facility for people to be able to develop their own shows, uh, but also for us to be able to create content and shows ourselves, uh, it really is all about discovery, about discovering new guests and about discovering new avenues for people to distribute material.

The internet is effectively the Amazon warehouse of data you have. The entire planet, throwing information into a black hole of storage that is. You know, poorly organized at best. Yes. You've got IP systems and domains, but you know, in general, general users throwing content onto Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. There's a lot of work to do to get it from that point. Sorry.

The analogy about the Amazon warehouse, you know, how they inventory items, they just Chuck it anywhere and it's given a location. And when it's called off, you go and get that location effectively that's data on the internet.

Justin: So I'm sure you're familiar with the term fake news. Um, so I'm trying to avoid fake news as I'm sure everyone in the audience is trying to do the same.

How can we search for news better?

James: I've got a slightly embarrassing, personal tale about why I now search for news, how I search for news? Um, back in 2012, there was a. Campaign run. Uh, to oust a horrific African dictator who Joseph Kony. K O N Y. And there was this big, it was almost presidential campaign of Kony 2012.

Created by these guys. That just caught the hearts and minds of the internet and spread like wildfire. And I am, I am anything but an activist. I really am not. I am a very keen observer. Um, and for the first time I remember posting. This link to this video about this guy, and these are trustees now, it was terrible.

And he had to be removed and I wasn't alone. And there was a, there was an enormous, enormous sway that both my friends, my colleagues, my peers, and many, many others who were outraged at this Joseph Kony character. Um, and I remember. Finding out, not long after, um, the, actually the whole thing was a hoax.

Uh, and it was a stump by, uh, by a marketing guy, I think, to prove that it was even possible that you could do this and that, you know, I guess if you were analyzing it in 2020, you'd be talking about outrage culture and all of this. The scary thing for me was that I had taken what I believe to be news and I had digested it being so sold by it without any form of, of real clarification. Um, and then punted it out to everyone that knew me. Um, and when Kony 2012 turned out to be fake, it made me completely reevaluate the best process of finding specific, reliable and accurate news reporting. Um, The the, the internet is full of sensationalism.

Now certainly was then, uh, you know, the, the news outlets are really rarely occupied by what we would have once considered to be proper journalists who are out to find things. And even when they do find things. Editors are creating headlines that are sensationalist, uh, and finding points of view that create that clickbait and so on and so on.

And I therefore find you get this like advertised form of news. Um, the often can be inaccurate. So my absolute default now for funding, any news, and I really don't believe there's any other way is Twitter. Uh, I just can't see there being a better outlet of getting immediate reaction. If I heard an explosion in my local neighborhood.

That's where I'd go straight away. And I guarantee you, there would be at least a photo, if not a video from human beings that have no interest, uh, other than relaying the fact that something has happened, um, almost immediately.

Justin: So I hope we've learned a little bit about the future of search. I know I have LOGRresearch uh, Fagan finder or both tools, which I will provide the links, which are super helpful with any of you who are doing more in depth research, or just want to have a different search experience on the internet.

Um Google seems like it is here to stay, obviously. I mean, I'm a big Google user. Um, but I wanted to leave off with a quote from former CEO, Eric Schmidt from Google, but she says, "we know where you are. We know where you've been. We can more or less know what you're thinking about."

And that's it for episode two, free coffee, a journey through the internet.

I will see you. I think it's like every other week at this point still. So in two weeks time, we'll see you in the next episode until then reach out. Contact me. Tell me what you like, what you dislike. Uh, I appreciate the lesson and yeah. Thank you.


Justin Blattner


Sam Sethi

Michael Fagan

Chandler Paris

Ben Stegner

Tina Sieber

Kannon Yamada

James Alexander

(Podcast Festival) Tom Morely

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