freejung - 10:58 pm on Sep 7, 2011 (gmt 0)
I agree that the spam filters could use some rethinking - I also think the whole business of guessing what you're really thinking could use a bit of work. From talking to people who are not experts in search but have been using search for a long time, I get the impression that they're having trouble finding what they want in Google because of habits that Google caused them to adopt over the years.
People got used to searching for the sort of phrase that might appear on the page you want rather than the generic topic of the page. So it seems that people who are used to that sort of searching will type in very specific, long-tail phrases and get general-topic results, and get frustrated that they can't find the specific thing they're looking for any more.
Maybe all that is needed there is a bit of refinement of the idea of user intent. Clearly some searches are intended to find something similar to the search phrase, not something general on the same semantic topic as the search phrase.
If they are indeed giving more credence to the "algo nerds" then rewriting these things from scratch might just be the way they decide to go. There are a lot of cases where developers would prefer to rebuild rather than try to continue pasting things on top of the existing code, but are prevented by management.