Is this from a Googler? The whole thing reads like pro-google propaganda at times of desperation, as Google search is noticeably degrading in quality and utility.
In #1, he never really negates what he is tryouts Ng to debunk. “It was always just to ignore synonyms”. Well, what it that equates exactly to always match that word as is? That claim was never negated.
It did do what people expected and it did it well. To reason about what the official communication from Google was, which mind you, was always scarce to put it kindly, is irrelevant.
This also makes subsequent points not true.
As for the last point, it limits the whole search query to a single string match. That’s a far cry from what Google search once offered.
I don’t read this as propaganda at all. Just a value-neutral history of how Google search has changed along one specific axis. I like history, so I enjoyed reading it.
I too have noticed the steep decline in the utility of Google search, but I think that’s mostly a separate topic from “the myth of the + operator”.
My hypothesis is that Google now ranks pages based on how well they can monetize visits to those pages.
Unless something has changed recently, no, he is not a Googler. Zarf is a luminary of the interactive fiction community, and has worked in narrative games for years.