A new search engine quietly joined the fray in another attempt to slice and dice search results in a way you didn’t know you needed.
This year saw the launches of engines like Wolfram Alpha, Google Squared and Hunch, and let’s not forget Microsoft’s “decision engine.” The only thing worse than the Bing commercials that seem to still run ad nauseum is that my mother thinks they’re some sort of PSA for internet addiction, never passing up and opportunity to say, “see, Kim? SEE?” when I have the misfortune of catching one with her. While Bing is grabbing a bit of a foothold, it seems from a broad perspective that all of these upstarts are going to have to wake up a bit earlier to grab even a few stragglers from Google’s massive throng of users. (Also known as the internet in general.)
The general premise behind Goby is cute, but essentially sounds like the same song all the other “new” search engines this year are singing. “Google sucks at returning X-type of results, so Goby will optimize your X-search. Of course, it won’t catch on ’til it catches on, so please keep using it while it gets to where it needs to be.” Goby’s singular focus (find me thing to do in place at time) may give it some foothold, but the internet has marinated in Google, and old habits are hard to break. Giving Goby an initial spin seems to indicate some potential in doing what it says it does, but do we really need another search engine to do it?
Test driving Goby returned mixed results. Checking out the pre-listed categories, I did a search under “family fun” for playgrounds near my hometown of Babylon, NY. (Nightlife and restaurants are well-populated and I wanted to see how I fared with something less chronicled on the web.)
Results were fairly useless in this regard, a list of schools which could have been easily located by a Google Maps search for schools.
Next I tried “Indian restaurants,” a cuisine that is sorely underrepresented in this region of NYC suburbs. The results I returned were mainly for restaurants that have closed years ago, something I’d not have known if I were from the area but not a curry slurping fiend or were I merely visiting Long Island, assuming anyone would want to visit Long Island. One last attempt was for general “events” this weekend in my area. The number one result, and one that repeated throughout the top ten (amidst results for a car show, a pumpkin festival and a kids’ play) was “soccer registration” in Stamford, CT. Connecticut is a constant annoyance in search results for Long Islanders, as maps generally don’t recognize the Long Island effing Sound that’s wedged between Long Island and Connecticut. So while it may technically be under 25 miles away, I’m not hopping in my boat to go get samosas and biryani in New Haven. Ain’t happening, Goby.
While Goby may yet find an audience, those who are a little skilled in returning better Google results will probably end up sticking to what they know.