Has Google Gone Gaga?

I've noticed in the last day or two that, suddenly, all of Google's search services have gotten ridiculously worse.


UPDATE:  I finally figured out that I had an ad malware called RocketTab that somehow got installed. It’s taken over the Google search pages. 


I’ve noticed in the last day or two that, suddenly, all of Google’s search services have gotten ridiculously worse. Standard Web search suddenly turns up like a dozen ads ahead of the actual results, not the one or two it used to. Ditto video search. Image search suddenly became all but unusable.

I recognize that monetizing ad units has always been Google’s main business and everything else is just data mining. But this is bad enough to drive me to Bing.

FILED UNDER: Science & Technology,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. M. Bouffant says:

    I think that Getty Images is to blame for this mess.

  2. mcain6925 says:

    And yet some analysts and companies are surprised by the number of people that adopt ad-blockers. I no longer call what I do ad blocking. I tell people I’m being selective about what I allow sites generally to download to my machine, what code I allow them to run, etc.

  3. Gustopher says:

    Maybe you’ve never clicked on an ad, and they decided to drive you off because you’re a worthless freeloader as far as they are concerned.

    I’ve always wondered why they don’t do this. Cut their market share so they don’t look like a monopoly, but keep the profitable customers. Let Bing have the freeloaders.

    It’s like a win-win, except it’s just them winning.

  4. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    Welcome to the post-net neutrality world. Advertisers are going to like it here. You, maybe not so much.

    And don’t expect Bing or Yahoo to be different for long.

  5. DrDaveT says:

    @M. Bouffant: So, if people violate copyright, that’s the fault of the perfectly legitimate search engine provider who paid a fee to be able to show those images to prospective buyers?

    That’s like saying that failing to pay sales tax on internet purchases is the fault of the vendor who didn’t charge the tax at point of sale…

  6. Hal_10000 says:

    I’ve noticed that suddenly a huge number of the top sites are Pinterest, which I have no interest in.

  7. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:


    a huge number of the top sites are Pinterest

    I hate Pinterest

  8. Kathy says:

    I get tons of Pinterest results when doing photo searches. And that’s frustrating because often I’m looking for more info on fashions I find on Pinterest.

    Irony is lost on AI. SciFi got that one right.

  9. Franklin says:

    @Kathy: I didn’t try it myself, but try adding the following to your search:

  10. Todd says:

    I think it probably depends on your search term, and how “commercial” it is. I’ve been home in bed all day, so after reading this post I went to Google and searched “is this a cold”. I got a useful result with no ads at all. Then I searched “vaporizer” and as expected, the top and right parts of the page contained ads for places I could purchase one … but that too, was useful information.

    These days, practically every website is trying to sell us something. So, if I type a “sell me something” type query into Google, I have no real problem if they directly serve me ads that may solve my problem … rather than making me wade through some webmaster’s attempt at “content marketing” before I finally get to an affiliate link which leads me to the product or service I’m looking for.

  11. James Joyner says:

    @Todd: I don’t mind the affiliate links, which I’ve gotten for ages. I’m suddenly getting a giant “RocketTab powered by Advertise” set of listings that take up the entire verticle content of a large screen, forcing me to scroll down to see the first real result.

  12. Todd says:

    @James Joyner: I recently had to purchase a Windows laptop because I needed Microsoft software for a couple of classes I’m taking. But outside of those college classes I am very cautious about what I use that computer for. Most of my web browsing takes place on a little $99 Chromebook I picked up in November. No worries about viruses or malware with that one. https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/2017/02/05/how-safe-chromebooks-malware/97463864/