I believe it’s hard for Google to do its job even today, 20 or so years after their product has been out. Even after countless changes and updates — all for the better, don’t get me wrong.
Google have built trust, therefore people don’t question the results they receive. They have the utmost belief that Google knows best — and that takes years and years of continuous building.
For instance, if I search “Vikings”, I’m thinking how hard it might’ve been (at least in the first 10 years, if not now as well) for Google to grapple with this. I can mean:
- The tv show
- The actual Vikings, historically speaking
- Some cartoons
- Maybe something related to Marvel’s Thor
All I get out of it is this: the reason why they’re in business is because they give people the impression that their question is answered.
Google does not necessarily give the best answer — and that’s a philosophical statement, because it’s past any human or machine to judge that. But at the moment, since it’s the best we’ve got, we need to make peace with this statement, just like the “meaning of life” question. It can’t be answered.
At least not for the moment.
So what’s the conclusion: yes, pursue the absolute truth/value/answer when building your product. But maybe after a certain point, you need to sell more the impression of an answer than the actual perfect mathematically absolute answer.
That applies especially if it’s past the human limits (you have no choice, actually).
In other words: after a certain point, you might be selling something that has psychological value, since people can’t tell anymore the utilitarian value (given that it’s there, you know…).
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