Why I Left Google

No Google LogoThat’s right, I’ve left Google. No, I didn’t work there. I left their userbase. I no longer “google” search terms (disclaimer: I do still “google” maps, but that’s the only thing left).

  • Google’s search results are not that much better than Yahoo/MSN/Snap: Oh! The heresy! Why did we all start using Google? It really comes down word of mouth (WOM) and the fact they had a quick and easy (plain) search function. It did what it said it would do. Ok. So, copy that interface into MSN/Yahoo/Snap and then what? What’s the added value? Their algorithm for finding stuff? Nah, not really. I mean, how good can you get? Take an honest try at a different search engine and see if you get better or worse results. After opening up my mind for a second and testing it out, I find just as many good search results at one of Google’s competitors.
  • Google is not an angel: We all know that Google isn’t perfect. They tried dealing with communist China. They’ve got Adsense click-fraud (and they like it because it makes them money so they’re not really working on a quick solution). Better than their competitors? Nah. Not really.
  • Google is not helping solve social issues: I’d love to hear someone prove me wrong on this one, but this is the real clincher for me to switch. I’ll explain below.

Now, I know that we could get into a debate about how for-profit companies need only be concerned with making profit. But, that’s not what I’m talking about. If consumers have the responsibility to be concious about our consumer decisions, helping our fellow humans, caring about AIDS and Africa, then how much more should companies (also legal “entities” just like every other US consumer) be focused on that?

You’re a tree hugger, aren’t you?

Oh contraire. I am very far from a tree hugger, although my mom did go to Evergreen State College and I went to WWU, but that was fully a business-type decision for me. They were cheap. I was poor. I needed a degree to play the game. End of story.

So why did you leave then?

I left because I found a better search engine.

Better results? Maybe, but who cares really. They’re all pretty much the same anyway.

GoodSearch LogoI now search over at GoodSearch. I’ve got my Firefox Search Engine (you can get your IE toolbar if you’re that flavor). I’m all schwagged out.

The main reason I left Google is because I can choose whatever charity I would like, and have a penny sent to them for every search I do using GoodSearch. I don’t have to click on ads. I don’t have to pay anything. Just search. Something I do every day, all day anyway.

Why wouldn’t I use GoodSearch?

If you’re going to switch, I’d like to recommend Giving Anonymously (Bellingham, WA) to you. If you’re not sure of who to give to, give to them as your non-profit of choice. We’ve raised $1.11 in the past few days for them at the time of writing this article. Giving Anonymously is trying to get started. They’re mission is to help promote a new spirit of generosity by promoting full disclosure of all funds raised and given by the company (including administrative and transaction costs) while giving the donor anonymity (reducing social barriers to individual giving).

[tags]google, google.com, goodsearch, goodsearch.com, search engine, social, nonprofit[/tags]

Nate Ritter lives in the Pacific Northwest (U.S.), popularized the #hashtag and creates web applications for a living. He also does miles and point hacking to enable cheap travel for his family. More here →

19 Comments on "Why I Left Google"

  1. RyeBrye says:

    “It did what it said it would do. Ok. So, copy that interface into MSN/Yahoo/Snap and then what? What’s the added value? Their algorithm for finding stuff? Nah, not really.”

    You are a retard for asserting that. PageRank changed the way web pages relevance was determined – but # of links… etc. Prior to that it was all based on content – which was manipulated badly by people.

    Your whole article sucks.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Looks like Google has donated over $100M to charity in 2005 and continues to donate both money and free ads to charities. I don’t think GoodSearch can match that.

  3. nate says:

    RyeBrye: Welcome to my blog. Thanks for being so courteous the first time you have ever spoken to me. That’s wonderful. </sarcasm>

    If you wouldn’t mind refraining from calling me a retard, that would make me much happier. I don’t mind that you think my article sucks. I do mind name calling.

    The point is, what does Google do better now than Yahoo? So, they changed the way web page relevance was determined. So what? Do you honestly think that Yahoo doesn’t do that now? Come on. You’re kidding yourself if you think that they don’t.

    Anonymous: Thanks for the link. I stand corrected. However, I can say that GoodSearch allows me to choose my charity. Google just chooses whoever they want. What if I want them to donate the portion of my activity on their site to Giving Anonymously? They don’t let me do that right now. Hence the switch. I get control.

  4. Ryan says:

    While I probably won’t quit using google anytime soon, I can understand why you would. I really like the concept of GoodSearch and I will be sure to put it to use every so often.

  5. nate says:

    Ryan, thanks for the comment. I appreciate the fact you checked it out.

    Oh, and just as a disclaimer, I don’t work for GoodSearch. In fact, I have nothing to do with them at all (some people on Digg are claiming that it’s a ploy advertisement). In fact, I just saw it, and wanted to give to the charity of my choice. I think the idea is awesome, hence the article.

  6. ray says:

    Hey thanks. The idea of being able to donate to a charity is kinda cool but I have never liked the way yahoo search indexes sites. In terms of google, I have been trying, for months, to get my site indexed effectively with google but to no avail. Nothing I have tried really does much good. Oh well. I prefer msn search.

  7. josh says:

    I personally like Google for Gmail and Google Image Search more than anything else. None of the other webmail aor image search engine I’ve seen can match them. I generally seach Wikipedia more than Google these days. Unless I am purely looking for a link.

  8. Will says:

    If you’re not a tree-hugger does that make you a right-wing Christian?

  9. nate says:


    I agree. They do have some good stuff. I don’t use Gmail or images, but I do use it for mapping. It’s by far the quickest interface for that. Thanks for commenting.


    I wouldn’t define myself as a “right-wing Christian” either. And I certainly don’t think those two are polar or contradictory in any way. I will say that I am a Christian, but “right wing”? I’d debate that.

  10. poolitzer says:

    Hi Nate,

    It was a Google search that brought me to your site :) I am doing a search on “people who do good” and your site was the first link on the page. I went over to GoodSearch to look around and liked what I saw, so I’ll be adding a link to GoodSearch on my blog. And, I plan on using it, too.

    I’ll be back to check your site out more fully later, but now I’m on a mission and don’t want to break my stride!

  11. nate says:


    Thanks for letting me know how you got here. I appreciate it! If you’re interested in doing good things for other people, I’d also suggest reading my earlier post on being your own charity and Giving Anonymously.

    Thanks again, and thanks for the comments! You guys are great!

  12. JD Lady says:

    Hi Nate,

    I’m poolitzer’s alter-ego uncloaked for now just to tell you ‘thanks’ for the other net links you provided. I had no idea there were so many of your kind out in the cyberworld, just getting people in touch with many of the ways we can make a difference, too. Some of us operate extras out of a pennyjar instead of foundations, so for us, we need other ways to GIVE and it’s people like you who provide us with CHOICES, and for that I’m grateful.

    I’d like to provide my readers, via poolitzer’s OvertheRainbow blog, a link to this site of yours – you provide a lot of good reading here – and it would be my pleasure to direct people to this blog, too.

    Now, tell me, please, a little about one of my favorite discoveries on the ‘net – tinyURL.com. What else does this site offer?

    Thanks again, and I’ll be back!

  13. nate says:

    Hi JD Lady! Thank you for the nice comments. I appreciate them, and I would definitely appreciate the link as well. I’m glad my writings are helpful to folks. Thank you.

    TinyURL offers one thing – to change long urls into tiny ones. You give it some really long web address (like, say, a url to a product on amazon.com), and it shortens it into about 30 some-odd characters or less. Then, when someone clicks on that url, TinyURL.com redirects them to the amazon product – your original link.

    It’s much more reasonable when you have a limited amount of space, like we do at twitter.com, or when you’re text messaging or SMS’ing someone.

    Pretty simple service, but in certain circumstances it can be very helpful.

    Thanks again JD Lady. :)

  14. adelgazar says:

    You say you left Google because they aren’t as good as we all thought. Great. However, you keep on using Google AdSense. I don’t get it. Isn’t any GoodAdvertising or alike?

  15. Now, I’m not googlewashed like most everyone these days, but I do have to stick up for them when people knock them (I do it myself often).
    They have done a lot to solve social issues.
    Checkout gmail and tons of storage free for everyone. Now look at the fact that it will give you webmail for any of your other email accounts, FREE. This is a feature many email server companies are still charging for in premium services on the order of hundreds of dollars.
    There’s google chat, which while not my chat of choice, still put me in touch with some people whose sole online existence is their gmail account.

    Re: RyeBrye – PageRank in one sense is totally twisted and search should be based entirely off content. Let me explain.
    Many people are buying google ads because it will put their links on your page which will then boost their pagerank. They don’t care if anyone is clicking the ad or if its bringing them business. The real purpose of the apparent ads is to give them legitimate links that puts them higher on the search result list than their competitors. Isn’t it somewhat evil that people are motivated to pay for useless advertisement placement? Even an expert on a particular topic with a well read and linked to blog about it will not be able to beat someone determined with money. PageRank is responsible for about 10 emails a week asking if I will link to people if they link to me. I used to think this was ok, but now I’m not so sure.

    I decided recently I did not want to work for google. I had an opportunity and I passed it up. I do continue to use their search, though.

  16. nate says:


    I didn’t bash everything about Google. I just made a point about their search and if they’ve added anything to people’s lives because of it. I certainly do like the income from AdWords, and if there were something that I could use to generate both income for myself and for the non-profit of my choice, I would certainly use that over AdWords.


    How is storage of digital information a “social issue”? That is a want, not a need. It is not an “issue.” It’s a service to those fortunate enough to use a computer. Similarly, the ability to chat with people via online text is not a solution to a social issue in the traditional sense. Sure, it’s “social”, and sure you’ve found a way to talk to people who otherwise would only communicate via email, but that hardly constitutes and “issue”. I think you need to look up the traditional definition of “social issue” so we can speak on the same plane.

    Also, although there is an argument that putting AdWords on your site will get you a better ranking, I seriously doubt it will help you that much. Technically, it’s not because of the links either. The links from AdWords don’t show up until after the page has loaded, which means the search engines don’t count those anyway. The small amount of bias you get is simply because you’re using a Google product, and Google likes that.

    Now, you do have a point about the advertisements and money though. That has always been the case in a capitalist society. Those with more money have more power. More power means you can control where people put their eyeballs. Eyeballs and attention (in this day and age) mean more power. And, the cycle continues. Education and experience mean very little in a society like this, and Google hasn’t changed that. They’ve played to that point very well.

  17. Jeremy says:

    Once I was talking with a person far more educated than myself (mind you I have a high school education…) and he explained to me the single biggest difference we can make in this world is working to get humanity off this world. For as long as humanity is bound to this earth we are sitting ducks just waiting for total disaster in one form or another – its just how long.

    Population, resources, asteroids, energy, countless things have wiped out countless species.

    With that being said Google is more proactive than most with its involvement in helping move humanity off of this little planet and into space.


  18. nate says:

    Good point Jeremy. Very good point.

  19. ae says:

    Without humanity, there would not be love. Without love, we would not exist. Ask your parents about that, Jeremy Space Ranger :)

    Other than that, I appreciated your article, Nate.

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