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Can You Replace Google Search With Reddit? I Tried It for a Week
你能用 Reddit 替代 Google 搜索吗?我试了一个星期

Googling isn’t what it used to be

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Frustrated by their Google searches, people are funneling their queries to a site that isn’t a search engine at all: Reddit. Earlier this month, that included me.

Reddit, which went public in March, is a social network with 82.7 million daily active users who gather and usually post anonymously in groups called subreddits. Users can “upvote” or “downvote” what others contribute, surfacing what are considered the best responses.
Reddit 在三月上市,是一个拥有 8,270 万日活跃用户的社交网络,用户聚集在名为 subreddits 的群组中通常匿名发布帖子。用户可以“点赞”或“踩”他人的贡献,展示被认为是最佳回复的内容。

The decision to turn to Reddit is happening because many people are unhappy with their Google results. This is partly because the importance of ranking high on Google has led companies to game the system, clogging results with unhelpful links. There are misleading ads, a barrage of sponsored shopping links, and dicey websites claiming to be experts when they aren’t.
决定转向 Reddit 是因为许多人对他们的谷歌搜索结果感到不满。部分原因是在谷歌排名靠前的重要性导致公司操纵系统,用无用的链接堵塞结果。有误导性广告、一大堆赞助购物链接以及自称专家但实际上并非如此的靠不住的网站。

Some people turn to AI chatbots like ChatGPT for answers, but others are now adding “Reddit” to the end of any Google search string to surface comments by real people.
有些人求助于像 ChatGPT 这样的 AI 聊天机器人寻找答案,但现在也有人在任何 Google 搜索字符串的末尾添加“Reddit”一词,以获取真实人员的评论。

Ryan Bender has used Reddit to see if tempting social-media ads are scams. Photo: Mallory Bender
Ryan Bender 已经使用 Reddit 来查看诱人的社交媒体广告是否是骗局。照片:Mallory Bender

Ryan Bender, a publicist working in entertainment and technology in Los Angeles, views Reddit as a “two-way Wikipedia” service. You can do research and also find a community to keep chatting about a topic. Reddit isn’t great for information like when a baseball game starts, but it’s helpful when you want various viewpoints. 
莱恩·本德(Ryan Bender)是一名在洛杉矶从事娱乐和科技工作的公关人员,他认为 Reddit 是一个“双向维基百科”服务。您可以进行研究,还可以找到一个社区继续讨论某个话题。Reddit 并不适合获取像棒球比赛开始时间这样的信息,但当您想要不同观点时,它是有帮助的。

Bender, 35 years old and the parent of a 3-year-old, recently came across a social-media ad for a sale on toddler clothing. He googled the name of the company with “ad too good to be true.” The first result was a Reddit thread where several people said they had fallen for the scam. Others pointed out site details that could indicate fraud. 
本德,35 岁,有一个 3 岁的孩子,最近在社交媒体上看到了一则有关幼儿服装促销的广告。他在谷歌上搜索了该公司的名称,加上“广告太好以至不真实”。第一个结果是一个 Reddit 帖子,几个人表示他们曾上当受骗。其他人指出了可能表明欺诈的网站细节。

“With Reddit, you are talking to like-minded people with nothing to gain outside of sharing their opinions,” Bender says. 
“在 Reddit 上,你正在与志同道合的人交谈,他们除了分享自己的观点外没有其他利益可图,” Bender 说道。

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Inspired by Reddit fans, I decided to do a general Google search and a specific Reddit search for every query for a week, then compare the results. First, I sought advice from search experts and longtime users. 
受到 Reddit 粉丝的启发,我决定对每个查询进行一周的一般 Google 搜索和特定 Reddit 搜索,然后比较结果。首先,我向搜索专家和长期用户寻求建议。

Trial and error 反复试验

Google dominates the search market—the Justice Department brought an antitrust lawsuit against the company. Even Google acknowledges that people often turn to Reddit for advice on topics such as product recommendations and travel advice. It signed a deal with Reddit in February to use Reddit data to train its artificial intelligence, while Reddit can use Google’s AI models to enhance its own search results. (Reddit has a similar deal with OpenAI.)
谷歌主导搜索市场——司法部对该公司提起了反垄断诉讼。即使谷歌也承认,人们经常在 Reddit 上寻求有关产品推荐和旅行建议等主题的建议。该公司在二月份与 Reddit 签署协议,利用 Reddit 数据来训练其人工智能,而 Reddit 则可以使用谷歌的 AI 模型来增强其自身的搜索结果。(Reddit 与 OpenAI 也有类似的协议。)

Worldwide desktop and mobile visits to Reddit in May increased 39% year-over-year to 2.4 billion, according to Similarweb. In the same period, Google visits decreased 2.2% to 86.2 billion visits, the web and app analytics company says. 
根据 Similarweb 的数据,今年 5 月份全球访问 Reddit 的桌面和移动端访问量同比增长 39%,达到 24 亿次。该公司表示,同期 Google 的访问量减少了 2.2%,降至 862 亿次。

“Google Search satisfies an incredibly diverse range of information needs,” says a Google spokeswoman. “We’re constantly innovating to help people find exactly what they are looking for.”
“Google Search 满足了非常多样化的信息需求,”一位 Google 女发言人表示。“我们不断创新,帮助人们找到他们想要的东西。”

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How do you search for answers online? Join the conversation below.

When it comes to product recommendations, people often view Reddit groups and social-media influencers as less biased—whether that’s true or not, says Ross Simmonds, founder of a content-marketing agency based in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  
谈到产品推荐时,人们常常认为 Reddit 群组和社交媒体影响者的观点较少偏见,无论这是否属实,这是来自位于新斯科舍省哈利法克斯的内容营销机构创始人 Ross Simmonds 的说法。

“People genuinely trust groups of people more than they do a singular source,” he says. 

Reddit’s anonymity means you may not know who someone really is, but it also can make people feel comfortable with expressing themselves. 
Reddit 的匿名性意味着您可能不知道某人的真实身份,但这也可以让人们感到舒适地表达自己。

Also important: People on Reddit sometimes joke around. A notorious AI-generated Google recommendation to add glue to pizza is believed to have started as a Reddit comment 11 years ago. (Google declined to confirm that.) 
同样重要的是:Reddit 上的人们有时开玩笑。据信,11 年前一条臭名昭著的由 AI 生成的谷歌建议在披萨上加胶水的起源是一条 Reddit 评论。(谷歌拒绝确认此事。)

Bryanne DeGoede, pictured with her husband and son, found a community on Reddit when her then-newborn child was in the hospital. Photo: In Joy Photography
Bryanne DeGoede 与丈夫和儿子合影,当时她的新生儿在医院时在 Reddit 上找到了一个社区。照片:In Joy Photography

The key to searching on Reddit…is not searching on Reddit. Instead, add the word to Google searches, say power users. Reddit is working to improve its on-site search, such as by surfacing snippets of whatever you’re looking for more prominently, says Serkan Piantino, Reddit vice president of product, AI/machine learning, search and safety. 
在 Reddit 上搜索的关键…不是在 Reddit 上搜索。而是要在 Google 搜索中添加关键词,一些资深用户表示。Reddit 正在努力改进其站内搜索,例如通过更突出地展示您正在寻找的内容片段,Reddit 产品、AI/机器学习、搜索和安全副总裁 Serkan Piantino 表示。

When her newborn son ended up in the intensive-care unit for 21 days in 2020, Bryanne DeGoede turned to Reddit. The founder of a public-relations firm in Hermosa Beach, Calif., discovered that people on Reddit could relate.
当她的新生儿在 2020 年在重症监护室呆了 21 天时,布莱恩·德古德(Bryanne DeGoede)转向了 Reddit。这位加利福尼亚州赫尔莫萨海滩一家公共关系公司的创始人发现 Reddit 上的人们能够理解。

“It opened the door to me where I started trusting it,” says DeGoede, now 37.
“现在 37 岁的 DeGoede 说:“它为我打开了一扇门,让我开始信任它。”

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But after her son had several ear infections in 2022 and had to get ear tubes the following year, she found horror stories about the procedure on Reddit. It differed from her experience. She now thinks of Reddit sort of like a rating app, where people who have bad experiences tend to post more than others. She is more skeptical and quickly dismisses posts she finds unrelatable. 
但在 2022 年,她的儿子多次患耳感染,并在接下来的一年里不得不安装耳管后,她在 Reddit 上发现了有关该程序的恐怖故事。这与她的经历不同。她现在把 Reddit 看作是一种评分应用程序,那里那些有不好经历的人往往会发帖。她更加怀疑,并迅速对她觉得无法产生共鸣的帖子不予理会。

Results may vary 结果可能有所不同

Here’s what happened during my weeklong experiment using both Reddit and Google. 
这是我进行为期一周的实验使用 Reddit 和 Google 时发生的事情。

Test 1: Restaurant information. Before a breakfast meeting at a local restaurant, I searched for reviews and photos to help me order. Google’s first result was a link to the menu, followed by images of some dishes.
测试 1:餐厅信息。在当地一家餐厅举行早餐会议前,我搜索了评论和照片以帮助我点餐。谷歌的第一个结果是菜单链接,接着是一些菜肴的图片。

When I added Reddit to my search, I found a few threads where most people recommended not eating at the restaurant. There were zero photos or reviews of what diners liked.
当我在搜索中加入 Reddit 时,我发现了一些帖子,大多数人建议不要在这家餐厅吃饭。没有任何食客喜欢的照片或评论。

Winner: Google 获胜者:谷歌

Test 2: Literary fan theories. I recently read “Fourth Wing” by Rebecca Yarros for my book club. I went online to see what other people thought about the surprising conclusion. (No spoilers!) Google surfaced several websites explaining it, but Reddit turned out to have a bustling “Fourth Wing” subreddit.
测试 2:文学粉丝理论。我最近为了我的读书俱乐部读了 Rebecca Yarros 的《第四翼》。我上网查看其他人对这个令人惊讶的结局的看法(无剧透!)Google 出现了几个解释它的网站,但 Reddit 竟然有一个繁忙的“第四翼”子论坛。

Reddit proved to be better for one big reason: It helped me avoid details about the next book in the series. Reddit results show the number of comments on a thread and when the thread started. People also flag threads with spoilers.
Reddit 证明更好的一个重要原因是:它帮助我避免了关于系列下一本书的细节。Reddit 的结果显示了帖子上的评论数量以及帖子开始的时间。人们还会标记带有剧透的帖子。

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Winner: Reddit 获胜者:Reddit

Google surfaced numerous websites diving into theories about the book ‘Fourth Wing.’
Reddit flagged threads that had spoilers for ‘Fourth Wing.’
Reddit 标记了那些含有“Fourth Wing”剧透的帖子。
The Wall Street Journal (2)
Google results didn’t warn about spoilers for ‘Fourth Wing,’ while Reddit searches did. The Wall Street Journal (2)

Test 3: Product recommendations. I’ve recently started to rethink my sleeping setup, such as whether or not I need a proper knee pillow to help with my back pain.
测试 3:产品推荐。最近我开始重新考虑我的睡眠设置,比如我是否需要一个合适的膝枕来帮助缓解我的背痛。

When I googled, I had to scroll past shopping links, sponsored related products, popular products and other questions people ask about the topic before finding what I wanted: people’s thoughts about what worked for them.

Adding Reddit to the same question, I quickly got several threads—some recent, some two years old—about pillows people have tried.
将 Reddit 添加到同一个问题中,我很快得到了几个帖子——一些是最近的,一些是两年前的——关于人们尝试过的枕头。

Winner: Reddit 获胜者:Reddit

Google showed several shopping results before surfacing websites that shared opinions about what makes a good knee pillow.
Reddit posts detailed what worked for people and what didn’t.
Reddit 帖子详细介绍了对人们有效的方法和无效的方法。
The Wall Street Journal (2)
Reddit showed posts of what people have tried, while Google surfaced shopping recommendations at the top of its rankings. The Wall Street Journal (2)

Google says 80% of searches don’t show any ads, and shopping ads are usually only served when someone shows interest in buying something. It also changed its rankings in March to surface less spam and unoriginal content.

Test 4: Plant advice. Despite my varied Google searches, I rarely came across AI answers. Google launched them in early May but refined them later in the month because of unsafe and inaccurate responses.
测试 4:植物建议。尽管我进行了各种谷歌搜索,但很少遇到人工智能答案。谷歌在五月初推出了它们,但后来在当月对其进行了改进,因为回答不安全且不准确。

A colleague suggested googling tips for propagating a philodendron. This is where Google shined. It gave a straightforward response. Adding Reddit to my search was useful in case I wanted to dig in even deeper, with additional tips from people.
一位同事建议谷歌搜索繁殖心叶藤的技巧。这正是谷歌的亮点。它给出了直接的回应。在我的搜索中加入 Reddit 是有用的,以防我想要更深入地挖掘,获取其他人的额外建议。

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Winner: Tie 获胜者:平局

Google provided a straightforward AI response when asked how to propagate a philodendron.
Reddit posts included more details about propagation, which could help people who want to advance their techniques.
Reddit 帖子包含了更多关于传播的细节,这些细节可以帮助那些想要提升自己技术的人。
The Wall Street Journal (2)
Google and Reddit both provided helpful information for how to propagate a philodendron, with Google giving an AI summary and Reddit showing in-depth tips. The Wall Street Journal (2)

As you can see, it isn’t clear-cut. But one thing’s certain: Googling isn’t what it used to be—for better or worse. 

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Write to Ann-Marie Alcántara at ann-marie.alcantara@wsj.com
请写信给 Ann-Marie Alcántara,邮箱地址为 ann-marie.alcantara@wsj.com。

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