A small rant about search engines

I still use Google. If you want me to change to your search engine, here is what you have to do:

1. NEVER take me to a page that I would have to pay to read. If a site shows up in your results and I click on it, I want to be able to read the article I clicked for. I realize this would mean removing some big-name sites from your results. Fuck ’em. They are wasting my time.

2. I want the ability to set some personal rules with cookies. Here are the ones I would set (the URL’s I list are from my imagination, although I didn’t look them up, so I suppose they may exist):

a. If I search for a name, and the name I searched for has an entry at any of the sports-reference.com sites, list that first.
b. If the name has an IMDb page, list that second.
c. If the name has a Wikipedia page, list it third.
d. If the name has a personal url, like amberheard.com, list that next.
e. If the name has an Instagram page, list that next. If there are multiple matches, list them in descending order of their number of followers.
e. Of course if any of the stages above are missing, move each of the others up one.
f. Of course I understand that you have to pay the bills. I’m OK with ads, and I’m OK if you sell my search history to others. Just make sure all paid search results are clearly labeled, and let me choose to whom you sell the info. Give me your full list of customers for that info, and let me check the ones that are OK with me. If you sell my history to Amazon or Coca-Cola or REI, fine. But don’t sell it to companies with web sites like cheerleadersinchains.com or tooyoungjapaneseschoolgirls.com. And don’t sell it to any political groups, right or left, or any governments, including my own.

13 thoughts on “A small rant about search engines

  1. I can’t meet those requirements. I don’t even WGAF what search engine you use. My prefs aren’t yours, so my tactics are bound to differ. There’s lots that I don’t know, & that I don’t understand. So I’m too paranoid, which you don’t seem to be, not as much.

    I’ll toss in a tool I don’t have enough experience with, & jump it to the top, on the grounds that it’s the only one I know of that offers the slightest hope of meeting some of your demands. Otherwise, I’ll just tell you about my own choices, on the off chance some components might also be to your advantage.

    1. Brave Search. I’m not using it. But it has a customization feature. Maybe that’s helpful to your cause.

    2. Duck Duck Go. I use the Cloud Save feature for my DDG settings.

    3. Brave browser. For its privacy features. I switch to a Tor window to talk to DDG. I’ve taken some pains to avoid such browser features as Brave Rewards, Wallet, &c. Many search hits won’t open in Tor. Moving them to a regular window is clumsy, but I do it, as needed.

    4. Opera. For AI chat. I set StartPage as my Home page. I use the free built-in VPN. Can turn it on & off at will. I’ve only used that Home page once or twice.

    5. SurfShark. I might switch to NordVPN, but likely not soon.

    6. Used BitDefender & Kaspersky, but didn’t renew bc I want to be able to shoot myself in the foot. That is, apps I use for my own evil reasons may coincide with tools that could be risky to leave around for intruders to use. Didn’t like how BD & KAV handle excludes. My own answer to the threat of “potentially unwanted programs” is primarily physical security. Now I just use Win10’s Windows Security. Supplemented with McAfee Stinger Portable & ESET Online Scanner. Neither of which is RealTime.

    7. uTorrent. Might be a good idea not to torrent at all. I take care not to accidentally launch any other torrent app. This is my main reason for a system VPN. I have Kill Switch turned on, but even so, I carefully set up client’s variables so it won’t circumvent VPN for any reason, including bandwidth. I have gigabit broadband.

    8. I have DDG features turned on so if there’s relevant info at Wikipedia or imdb, those links are shown to me first. I don’t share your other asks. For them, refer to #1.

    1. A quality VPN (such as SurfShark) generally provides an option to filter out some potentially-malware traffic.

      I also use a free Custom DNS, which not only secures the lookup, but all the leading providers let you pick a “safe” or “unsafe” server. Which means filtered / non-filtered results. I haven’t had so much trouble from the filtering that I’ve ever bothered with the “unsafe” server.

      “Safe” DNS lookup has the effect of blacklisting known malicious sites. I have such a blacklist hardcoded into my hosts file. But the Custom DNS safe server’s list is kept more up to date.

    2. That’s all good info for me and the other readers. Thanks.

      I understand you don’t care about my preferences, just as I don’t care about yours. That’s the whole point. I want the ability to set personal rules. Yours and mine will be different.

      That would be easy to program. In fact all of the things I asked for would be simple to code, but Google doesn’t do it. I suppose that has something to do with their business model.

      The most important thing I want from a search engine is this: stop wasting my time. I click on an article on Google and it leads to a page that shows me a few words of that article, then asks me to subscribe for more. Therefore, I have to search again to find another source. Sometimes it takes several tries. I would love a search engine that refuses to show any such page, or at least warns me that the link leads to a page that is almost totally behind a paywall (except for the little excerpt they show for free.)

      I know that would exclude big-time sites like the New York Times and many other newspapers from search results. Fuck ’em. If they want to put ads all over the page, I’m fine with that, but not INSTEAD of the page. I blame Google, not the content pages. They do it because Google allows it. If Google blocks those page, the content providers will stop doing it and find another subscription model.

      I know that I can easily by-pass the pay walls on about 75% of those sites (the rest are too technical for me, but I suppose an expert can work around them), but that again takes time that I don’t have.

      1. I have no suggestions how to find a search engine to meaningfully punish a publication’s business model.

        You might be able to affect which search hits reach you & how close to the top they are.

        The Brave feature I alluded is called Goggles. It’s a filter tool that lets you rerank Brave Search results.

        I don’t know if it gives you the ability to exclude hits based on detecting a paywall. Maybe, but I dunno.

        Goggles quickstart includes a link to a whitepaper.

  2. Could it also just assume that what I type is what I mean, and not try to “correct” me to some bullshit that I don’t want?

    I’m so sick of putting quotes on everything

  3. I understand your frustration with Google, but is that really any reason to throw shade at cheerleaders in chains? Those girls work hard, and by golly, they deserve to make a living too.

  4. Remember when the interwebs and all sites therein were going to be free because of ads? Me neither. 😛

    And don’t get me going re: cable! Cut the cord for the second and last time 14/15 yrs ago. Less is more, torrents, eMule, newsgroups, jdownloader 2, scraping scripts etc etc notwithstanding. Indeed, there’s always a workaround. Digressing.

    Yielding back the balance of my time …

  5. Google sucks donky-assholes

    Still one of the best, but compared to what it was its awful. Whatever you search for, the top 20 hits are some paid bullshit

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