Last month I was working on a constructed language, and needed to read up on some linguistics concepts. The results I got from DuckDuckGo were hardly relevant, and the ones from Google even less so. A few years ago, I remember doing similar searches, and the results weren’t that bad. But now, everything I pulled up barely scratches the surface of what I am researching, and a lot of it sounds like it was written by a robot. Occasionally, I’ll see a linguistics research paper in the results, but it will be behind a paywall.
I had a similar experience when doing a Bible study, with even worse results. You won’t find any academic or historical info on page one, because it’s dominated by junk like “Answers in Genesis”.
I have to give credit to Wikipedia. In both cases, Wikipedia gave me somewhat relevant information. But if you want to go further than the Wikipedia article, search engines are of little use.
I find it alarming that some people think libraries are obsolete, or that for so many people, “research” means “Google it.” Googling means wading through ads, spam, and clever SEO by people with an agenda.
We need to support libraries. We need to expand our own personal repertoire of research methods. And developing more curated alternatives to search engines wouldn’t hurt, either.