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November 14, 2020

Time Machine: Simple Search browser extension gives you Google circa 2010

Screen Shot 2020-11-12 at 7.27.50 AM

Above, Google search results for "crocs shoes" using the Simple Search extension.

Below, a standard Google search in 2020 for "crocs shoes."

Screen Shot 2020-11-12 at 6.58.09 AM

From the Verge:

Simple Search is a browser extension that gives you Google circa 2010

The raw search results, straight from Pagerank

For the last 10 years, Google has been building new widgets into its search results โ€” and now, a group of journalists has built a browser extension to show you what search would look like without them.

Built by The Markup, Simple Search strips out the information panels, shopping boxes, and search ads to show only the raw web search results.

It's a view of an older, simpler Google, one with surprising antitrust implications.

Introducing the extension, Maddy Varner and Sam Morris describe it as a conscious throwback to an earlier version of Google search, before the integration of the Knowledge Graph and its accompanying information boxes.

"The extension lets you travel back to a time when online search operated a little differently," they write. "Nowadays, you don't always have to click any of the 'blue links' to get information related to your search โ€” Google gives you what it thinks is important in info boxes of information pulled from other websites."

The extension works on Google and Bing searches and is available for both Firefox and Chrome browsers.

Google's antitrust critics (particularly Yelp) have long called for this kind of unbundling of search results from Google products like Maps or Shopping, arguing that incorporating infoboxes lets Google starve out competitors.

November 14, 2020 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


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