Robert_Charlton - 10:48 am on Sep 29, 2010 (gmt 0)
For me it appears to be query-independent. I just tried some research-grade searches, still no pagination.
Thanks for the report. I still haven't seen this, so it's hard really to react to it, except to say that it doesn't make sense to me that it's query independent. Either the results have got to be so sparse that there's no point going beyond page one, or else so general that there's no point going beyond page one.
But to stop just at page one, after say ten results, with no interface going forward, is almost like clicking a button that says: "I'm Feeling Lucky, but not quite as lucky as I felt yesterday."
Is this happening on long queries?... short queries?... signed in?... not signed in?... etc? I've done searches on some possible overally general terms, for everything from the word "the" to various phrases targeting viagra... and at least here in northern California, Google is still returning page after page of "unrefined links", as Shaddows describes it. At a certain point, yes, they do get repetitious.
Why click through endless pages of unrefined links, when you can type another word and get exactly what you want?
It's likely that Google would like to clump these results into categories, but in part I feel it's an interface problem. I don't think that people quite have the vocabulary at their fingertips to select terms that make sense as a hierarchy, and the interface isn't quite pushy enough and probably can't be. It's almost as though it needs to make bigger jumps and suggest the concepts rather than follow a path described by literal search phrases, but that would break everything. I'm seeing Instant return only five suggestions, and that too isn't seeming like it's enough.