Search is broken

Every day Google searches become less useful to me. Search has created a system where those vying for presence must sacrifice quality for popularity. Some search engines are better than others, but that is like saying some cars are more efficient than others, they are still fundamentally all designed the same.

The internet is like a city, there is a giant 20-lane superhighway running straight through the middle. The city sprawls out forever and even with a map it becomes difficult to find what you are looking for. Instead you pull over for a pit stop and end up watching videos in the YouTube district. Domain specific search helps in that it creates smaller highways, but often it simply feels easier to take the superhighway.

Most* search engines are fundamentally designed the same. Domain specific search engines are the same transportation, with smaller highways. Instead I think we need to move towards hyper-localized internet structures where you search and wander around your own network/community of people. You can bump into someone you know on a small street, The internet should facilitate chance encounters

*Today's search engines typologies:

  • Google model: Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, Qwant, Ecosia, etc.
    • Requires active input, returns ~dozen results
    • Only one way to query, small set of different channels (search, images...)
  • Predictive model: YouTube watch next, recommendation systems, twitter feed
    • Predicts what you will be interested in by what came before
    • Your history is your personalization, but you do not have agency over it
  • Voice model: Siri, Google Home, Alexa, voice assistants
    • The query is the program: beyond search
    • Only one result


  • Imagine good urban design, walkable streets, parks, old buildings, people and community everywhere. How can we design an internet like this?
    • Just like we preserve heritage buildings in cities, what about heritage websites? Yes, you can find these likely on internet archive, but what about through search?
  • What if everybody was their own search engine? When searching you connect first to the resources and articles in your network of people
  • How can we design new forms of transportation for navigating the internet? What could these look like?