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Google’s Engine Not So Hot

MELBOURNE: Australians trying to stay up to date with the news by searching online may be better off ditching Google and using its competitors, Monash University researchers have shown.

The Monash University Climate Change Communication Hub took the top 10 search terms used by Australians on Google on two days last week, and compared results delivered by Google, Microsoft Bing and Ecosia, a search engine based in Berlin.

On Australia Day, “Grace Tame” was the most popular search term used on Google – reflecting the fact that she had just been made Australian of the Year. The top 50 results delivered by Google included only 70pc of professional news websites, compared with 94pc for the same search term on Bing and 82pc on Ecosia.

Last Sunday, Australians rushing to find about the announced coronavirus lockdown in Perth made “perth lockdown” the most popular search term. Google delivered only 80pc of news websites in the top 50, compared with 90pc from Bing and 86pc from Ecosia.

The director of the hub, Associate Professor David Holmes, said the results demonstrated the importance of news media to search engines. “These results suggest that Google’s competitors are well able to deliver that kind of professional content,” Holmes said.

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