Google Has Become Mostly a Product Placement Platform

Cliff Berg
3 min readNov 15, 2020

Have you noticed that Google search results have been getting worse and worse? That now they seem to be mostly product ads? And if you look for something obscure, that has a name similar to something that is “trending”, it is almost impossible to find what you are actually looking for?

The “trending” and pop culture things are pushed way to the top, so that one cannot find intellectual content — just popular content, even if the intellectual content is a better match for your search criteria.

Google is now driven mostly by popularity, instead of accuracy of search. And it seems that it is also driven by product marketing considerations:

On October 19 Agile 2 was announced. The domain was registered in Google’s search system that day, to encourage indexing.

If one searches today in Google for Agile 2, one gets a page full of ads for the “Agile 2 Set” product, whatever that is — some kind of running gear. The search results are not identified as paid ads — they are indicated as regular search results.

But if one searches using DuckDuckGo, one finds Agile 2 — the actual search term — at the top of the list:

And if one searches with Bing, one finds Agile 2 at the top, along with other related topics (but no unrelated products):

And if one searches using the European search engine Qwant, one first sees four clearly delineated ads (one is for that Agile 2 Set thing), but then following those ads, one immediately sees Agile 2:

This is really terrible. It means that people searching for something using Google cannot find it, unless the thing they are looking for is already popular. The fact that people specify the thing they are looking for precisely by its name does not seem to help.

What a terrible search engine. Let’s call it a popularity engine instead — and one that seems to prioritize commercial products over everything else.

Don’t use Google, unless you only care about pop culture popularity and product placement. Use DuckDuckGo or Bing or Qwant — anything but Google.



Cliff Berg

Author and leadership consultant, IT entrepreneur, physicist — LinkedIn profile: