‘Not Quite Happy:’ Google Realizes Reddit Blackout Was a Disaster for Search Engine

not quite happy google realizes reddit blackout was a disaster for search engine
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When Reddit, the self-proclaimed “frontpage of the intenet” faced a wave of protests from users who blocked their content as part of a sitewide blackout, an unintended side effect emerged — the quality of Google search results dropped significantly for users seeking effective answers to questions. Google executives have realized that users are “not quite happy” and are desperately trying to improve their search engine in response.

CNBC reports that Google is taking desperate measures to improve its search experience in response to the recent Reddit blackouts. The tech giant has introduced a new function called “Perspectives” to address user discontent.  Prabhakar Raghavan, Google’s senior vice president in charge of search, acknowledged the user discontent during the Reddit blackouts. “Many of you may wonder how we have a search team that’s iterating and building all this new stuff and yet somehow, users are still not quite happy,” Raghavan said. “We need to make users happy.”

not quite happy google realizes reddit blackout was a disaster for search engine

Sabo mocks Google CEO Sundar Pichai (unsavoryagents.com)

To tackle this, Google has launched “Perspectives.” This feature is designed to bring to the surface discussion forums and videos from a variety of social media platforms, including TikTok, YouTube, Reddit, and Quora. The aim is to enrich the search experience, especially when specific forums like Reddit are off the grid.

The Reddit blackouts were a result of many popular forums going private in protest against Reddit’s decision to charge developers for data access. This move had a significant impact on Google’s search results, as users often include “Reddit” in their queries to find resources on specific topics.

In addition to “Perspectives,” Google is exploring other ways to enhance search results. They are experimenting with generative artificial intelligence to provide more sophisticated and conversational answers to text-based queries. They are testing a feature called “Search Generative Experience,” which is not yet available to everyone.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai and HJ Kim, vice president of engineering in search, also shared their thoughts on the issue. They emphasized the need for more comprehensive answers and authentic discussions in search results. Users don’t want “blue links” but want “more comprehensive answers,” Pichai said. That’s why they add the name of forum sites like Reddit to their searches Pichai said.

Kim added that users have been asking for more content from sites like Reddit. “Over the last couple of years, search overall has developed these large, cross-functional teams to go after this kind of content,” Kim said. “We could do a better job. We realize that. And over the last couple of years, we’ve actually developed quite a bit.”

Raghavan also pointed out that while the company is investing a lot of time in AI, it’s not the only solution. “Generative AI is one aspect but it won’t fully solve this issue – I want to be clear,” he said. “We actually have teams that are running experiments,” with Perspectives being one example. “We have to keep up and do a better job of addressing these new and emerging needs,” he added.

Read more at CNBC here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan

Authored by Lucas Nolan via Breitbart June 28th 2023