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New "Search Harder" button!
At the bottom of result pages.

 3:16 pm on Aug 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Interesting new conversation piece. Hitting this button shows a new result set with the following disclaimer:

"We interpreted your query more broadly and found new results. These new results are marked with [New] ."

A new parameter can also be found in the Google URL in the address bar.

"btnmeta%3Dtha%3D1%26seen%3D7d8882011a9da6f0% 2CpaQUq1BgsA8J%2CRVuszxD0ZLYJ%2CKWbRZb06QI8J% 2CRsWGZdkk_oUJ%2CEItB6rHmy6YJ%2C4DBTRhlVuqUJ% 2C8pAZTckoaBMJ%2CDk2ynlAPOA0J%2C8uBJ_n5AyTYJ% 2CXY7ep7ykeoAJ%2C=Search+Harder"

I don't know if I should be scared or happy. Should I be angry?

Let's play with it and see what the trillionaires at Google are throwing into out little rat cage.



 4:24 pm on Aug 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Interesting, when and from where do you see this?


 4:39 pm on Aug 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

1 [google.com]

2 [google.com]

is it some form of personalization?


 4:57 pm on Aug 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Please explain in more details folks, are you talking about the top result such as a built in news section SERP?

Hollywood - Confused


 5:06 pm on Aug 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Found this at about 10:00 AM this morning, August 30. I don't have any sort of personalization in regards to Google - default settings - 10 results per page.

Hollywood - at the bottom of your search results in Google there is a search box with two submit buttons - one labeled "Search", the other "Search Harder"


 5:10 pm on Aug 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

BTW, I'm in NYC, and pinging Google I get:

www.google.akadns.net []


 5:25 pm on Aug 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

I didn't see those buttons when I clicked on those links and I've tried searching for "cars" without any personalization. I haven't seen the "search harder" button at all. Has anyone else?



 5:27 pm on Aug 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Apparently, this feature button is only available to certain users. Either that, or I'm blind. I've tried looking for it with IE and Firefox, using both Chdru's links and KlausWright's Google IP address, but no luck.

Where on the initial results page would the button be if I could see it?



 5:36 pm on Aug 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Definitely not implemented across the board for all users. Looks like only some of you are seeing it. How about a quick screenshot?


 5:52 pm on Aug 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Ah - you beat me to it - my post go stuck with the mods.

Yes, it's here in the UK, (on google.com) only on the bottom search button on the results page, to the right of the ordinary search button.

On some searches, it finds nothing. On others, a few extra results that I think are simply brought up the SERPS from following pages as far as I can see. But I'm not sure of the mechanism for doing so, since it works on single keywords

Searching for Fred produces no new results, searching for potato does... (that's about as non-specific a real answer as I can give!)



 5:55 pm on Aug 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

We'll need a cookie from the users that see the search harder button. Then you can set your own cookie id to that one and you might just get the search harder button.

From the URL string, it looks like you get the IDs of the page terms you searched for... &seen=...


 7:16 pm on Aug 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Searching for Fred produces no new results, searching for potato does... (that's about as non-specific a real answer as I can give!)

I too saw behaviour like this (the button's gone again now) -- what's interesting here is that with the examples you give, and the stuff I tried, it is almost as if 'searching harder' brings more 'word variations' into play. (It's a shame that the button has gone now, I didn't get a chance to play with it properly -- I might even recall some kind of 'search within these results' functionality being there too)

Also, as if almost to back up this idea, it seems that the recent google ranking changes having devalued word variations vs. the exact word. i.e. I had some pages that were ranking well on searches for widget安idgets安idgeting (/etc) because of google's word-fuzziness (synonyms), and now, the pages that have crept past me over the last month (or so) to rank higher for some specific searches /seem/ to be beating me because they have more instances of a/the specific keyword.

This is why you can search deeper for 'cars' (it has plenty of synonyms/variations) but not for 'Fred' (it has few or no synonyms/variations).

Hmmm.. I don't know if I'm explaining myself very clearly -- to summarise..

Before, it seems some of our pages ranked well when searching for widget安idgets安idgeting, because we used lots of these variations in our text.

Now, it seems that some of these pages are being beaten by pages simply using more repetition of the exact keyword -- e.g. search for widget, our pages using widgets安idgeting安idgetery are now not ranking as well as they were, these words don't seem to score as high as the exact matching word.

Competitors using the word 'widget' more times than us now simply seem to be ranking better than us (yes, of course this isn't all that is involved in the ranking -- I may be overlooking lots of complex stuff).

I think google are still making changes regarding the synonym/stemming/word-variation functionality they introduced a while back (it's almost like they're still trying to re-balance their results) -- and whilst what I'm observing in my results might be considered somewhat off-topic for this thread, my guess (in the absence of presently being able to study/research the new button any further) is that this new feature may be using a broader match on synonyms/variations. Or at least: it may have been introduced in an attempt to enable the average searcher to better leverage google's synonym-power.

It's a tricky feature to just throw into the mix (word variations, that is) and it would make sense if google didn't always weight synonyms the same for every search (let's face it, it can have the effect of making a search less exact), but perhaps gave them different weights / broader matching under some kind of user control. I think it's likely that this new 'search deeper' button is an attempt to put some extra google-power into the users hands by allowing a different set of parameters to be used (behind the scenes) for the searching (albeit, a pre-defined set of params), whilst allowing google to tune how that feature is being used in the main search (effectively backing it off).

It allows them to take a little of something away from one place and add it in in a larger quantity somewhere else.

End result, two 'modes' of searching: tighter more defined searches on a general basis, but with the ability to go deeper (by broadening the terms, and possibly searching within the existing data set (-- can anyone confirm this part? ...or was I hallucinating?)).

Just my 2p's worth -- these changes in the results are something I've noticed over the last few weeks, and as I did, I thought I should mention it here on WW at somepoint but hadn't got around to it until now.

Sorry if this seems a little of topic (..getting into changes-in-results and all that drudgery) -- but this all seems connected to me!



 7:22 pm on Aug 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Actually, now I think about it, I seem to recall there being two distinct new features -- when I got bazillions of results I could search within them (by following a big obvious link), and when I got not-so-many results, I could go deeper.

I don't recall too well, I was at the tail end of a serious mega-long late-night coding session: sleep was long long overdue and my mind was on things other than search results / google changes.

(My brain is still recovering..)


 7:56 pm on Aug 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

frogg - it's still there for me...
When I search for Fred I get
"We tried to interpret your query more broadly, but we could not find any new results for your search"

So perhaps they mean "search more widely" instead of "search harder"

Which is good, because to my warped logic, if the buttons are marked
"search" and "search harder", it implicitly means
"search sloppily" and "search properly"

If I want a search, I want it done properly first time... <grin>


 7:59 pm on Aug 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

As a postscript, another test shows that if I "search harder", one of my sites moves from 14th to 10th - when it arrives there it has a little red "New" sticker, when actually it was in the SERPS anyway...


 8:30 pm on Aug 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Which is good, because to my warped logic, if the buttons are marked
"search" and "search harder", it implicitly means
"search sloppily" and "search properly"

well said. I hope google reads this statement as I think they will find many users will think the same.

If you put 2 buttons infront of someone, one says 'make money' and the others 'make more money' which one gets pressed first?

I think this kind of functionality will do more harm then good to google. One of their core competitive advantages is simplicity and most people are not going to know the difference between the two.



 11:37 pm on Aug 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

I haven't seen this SEARCH HARDER thing, but my guess, from the name, is that it is a slower, more CPU intensive search which means, perhaps, better filtering/sorting. Maybe Google has a slider that they can use to adjust filtering levels and someone decided to release a beta page with two levels.

Two questions
1) What extra parameter is passed in the url when searching harder?
2) Can those of us who can't see the button add this parameter manually?



 4:33 am on Aug 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

I would love to see this New "Search Harder" button
but still can't see it. I wonder if it uses a different algorithm.


 6:19 am on Aug 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

In reply to kaled's earlier question, I'm still seeing it (6.15am GMT, 31st Aug), and here's what to type to search harder on fred [google.com]


[edited by: DaveAtIFG at 11:52 pm (utc) on Sep. 8, 2004]
[edit reason] Fixed side scrolling [/edit]


 9:36 am on Aug 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

That's one strange url : punctuation chars such as = and & have been hex-encoded.

Tried it (30 results per page) and could see only two differences that could not be explained by normal data-center differences. These were : two results interchanged, and a BUSINESS SOLUTIONS link at the bottom of the attempted SEARCH HARDER page.

It certainly looks from the url that this is a restricted function, so I think we can assume it is a beta test of some sort. A snapshot of the source code may shed more light on the subject.



 10:23 am on Aug 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

I would prefer a button named "no spam please" :)


 2:13 pm on Aug 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'd prefer "Place Klaus's spammy over-optimized alt & H1 tag ridden pages above every other SEO"

As a side note, I think this could start a revolutionary new trend in button labeling, and I'm perfectly willing to sign over the intellectual property rights to the folks at Google for 3 billion dollars. (Just take it out of this week's petty cash, kids. I also saw pics of the olympic sized swimming pool at the 'plex which appears to have been drained and filled with cash. Tell the janitor to stop waxing his Ferrari for a minute and scoop up a few Heftys right out of that sucker. A poster hanging in the background suggests that the pool area has been chosen as a perfect motivational tool for next month's "How can we screw all SEOs and convert them into AdWords junkies" week-long think tank.) OK I think its finally out of my system.

I think they would do a dandy job at spearheading the movement. The media blitz alone would cause the stock to split within a week. Customer satisfaction: YES. Klaus has an affiliate-ridden page for virtually any product that can be legally shipped anywhere in the world, so it's pretty much a no-brainer, isnt't it?

I'm ready to talk Google folks, so please feel free to email my vague auto-responder for a few months and we'll see what happens :P


 9:55 pm on Sep 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

This thread's gone quiet. Are people still seeing the "Search Harder" button?
I've access to two different computers connected to the Internet via two different mechanisms.
It's still glaring me in the face on one machine, and I've not seen it at all on the other. And I've only seen it on Google.com, not Google.co.uk.


 6:40 am on Sep 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

Nope, never seen this button here. It must be IP related.


 8:11 am on Sep 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm with anallawalla, it's not happening for everybody.

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