Pato and Choosing Google

Life without Google sucks.  Here’s why: I am a big soccer fan, and my experience of the Web has been driven primarily by soccer.  For some people it’s music; for others it’s news, or porn, or whatever.  For me: soccer.  When I first encountered the Web in college, I remember using it for 2 things: looking up European soccer scores and finding Grateful Dead lyrics.  (I had long been using email via telnet/pine, and still find “webmail” to be slightly suspicious.)

Life for Americans who follow European soccer has gotten much much much much
better in the last 10-15 years.  There is now tons of soccer on TV and even more available through P2P on the Web.  Moreover people can post video clips of goals to various websites, which is completely awesome, since most games involve 85 minutes of relative inaction with 5 or so minutes of the best action imaginable.
Lately the central source for these videos has been YouTube (you may
see where this is going), despite legal threats from the English Premier League that the reposting of images is a violation of law.

Nevertheless, soccer fans can spend hours and hours on YouTube, finding all sorts
of compilations of great goals to crappy music from all of the masters, including
Del Piero, Zidane, Baggio, and even players who haven’t played for Juventus (Cantona, RonaldinhoMaradona, more Maradona, you get the point).

Careful readers may remember some of my hemming and hawing about whether
or not YouTube should be part of my self-imposed ban on all things Google. I have to say I have cheated once or twice, but for the most part I have also
Marched Away from YouTube too.

The brilliant exception that I found via Rocketboom is this: Chocolate Rabbit
.  It is rare to find such examples of pure comic genius.  Anyway.

Let me get to my point.  Last week Brazil played Sweden in an international
“friendly” (or exhibition), and won 1-0 on a goal by the latest greatest young Brazilian dude named Pato.  As with any overhyped young player, you sort of hope that he can produce the goods, and, according to a postmatch report that I read about Brazil-Sweden, he did.
The Swedish coach called the goal “flawless, a perfect volley” (Swedes I think
are not known for exaggeration) and the Brazilian coach tried not to get carried away with the goal’s brilliance.  So I went from the match report right to Yahoo and searched for “Pato Sweden Brasil” and clicked on the “video” tab.  Nothing.  Not only nothing good–NOTHING.  Just a computer wondering if I meant to write “Brazil.”

So I went over to Google, breaking my self imposed ban, typed in the same query,
and got at least a dozen YouTube links to the goal.

I didn’t watch the goal since my query was for research purposes only. But it made
me think about how quickly people can form impressions about how well one
search engine or another “works” – aka, helps them find what they want.
Perhaps loons like me try to go for a week or a month and use something new or
different (I have been toying around with hakia recently), but this whole Pato thing
was something of a tipping point for me.

I am sure there are plenty of comparisons of search engines conducted on a more
scientific basis (I assume this is what sites like Search Engine Watch do), but what will stick with me about Yahoo vs. Google is that Yahoo gave me NOTHING when I wanted Pato’s goal, and Yahoo usually features a link to target when I search for the title of a book.

Search engines don’t give you truth.  They give you their network.  They give you
what their partners have to offer.  If their partners have nothing, they either give you nothing or they give you the illusion of scraping far and wide to keep you happy.

Here, by the way, is Pato’s goal.  Good, but he’s no Zidane – yet.


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One Response to “Pato and Choosing Google”

  1. It’s almost (time to) March! « March Away From Google Says:

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