Gijs Verheijke

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Search is broken

2 March 2022

I had been looking for better bed linen for years...

This could be another stoicism post, but it’s actually about Google.

🚩 With bed linen (or recipes, or travel, or anything really) Google results are completely gamed. Bed sizes are a total disaster, with US, UK and SG King Size all being different enough for bedlinen to be incompatible.

And most online stores don’t even mention which King size their King size is...

💡 It took just one dinner conversation with Seamus and Zoë and a direct recommendation from them to try a local D2C brand to make me a happy and loyal customer of this brand. Big shoutout to SOJAO btw*

🤔 Not only did google search fail to lead me to this brand, I did not even recall being targeted for it by ads. So the paid marketing products of both FB and Google failed to deliver me to this brand who has been spending on both platforms for all of that time.

🙌 I wish there was a way for me to know what stuff my friends have been buying, to which restaurants they've been going. I feel this is one of the biggest lost opportunities that facebook could have captured.

In the heydays of facebook I remember even using a feature like that, (I was probably part of an experiment) where I could see in a given city which restaurants had been reviewed by my friends. I thought it was great, but apparently it never took off.

I've been thinking about this on and off for a while, and I feel the cold start problem to build this from scratch is pretty much insurmountable unless you can leverage all of everyone's reviews on google, FB, Amazon and their social graphs from FB and IG to suggest friends. It seems like a very hard nut to crack. And a trend toward ‘re-anonymization’ of the internet isn’t going to help make this easier. Still, there must be a way to create a peer-to-peer search system to surface these trusted friend recommendations more easily..

☝️ Btw, my best google hack is to append “” to my queries. It’s not perfect but at least the opinions are authentic.

Do you have any hacks to find more relevant results?