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imponderables

     
4:19 pm on May 27, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Unanswered question #1:

Why do search engines not understand the concept of variant spellings? Say I look for {word1 OR word2} or possibly {word1 AND word2} where word2 is an alternative spelling or older form of word1, and I'm specifically interested in both. Without fail, the search engine will come back with "Did you mean 'word1 and word1'"? No, of course I didn't, I'm not brain-dead.

Unanswered question #2:

Why does YouTube not know what the word "Act" means? If I am watching Act 1 of {some title}, then the most reasonable follow-up--particularly for AutoPlay, which it keeps turning on no matter how often I turn it off--will be Act 2 of the same title, preferably with the same uploader, from the same date. But this is the one thing that never shows up on the Suggestions list, and I have to stop and hunt for it. Especially troublesome when I am half asleep in the first place, and I'm asking myself what this number from Iolanthe is doing in the middle of The Grand Duke until I figure out that it's because, in fact, YT has officiously decided that the appropriate follow-up to Act 1 of First Title--during which I dozed off*--is Act 1 of Entirely Different Title.

Hmph.


* Yes, I realize this is a futile endeavor. If I am ever to make sense of the plot--using the term loosely--I will have to watch the whole thing from beginning to end while wide awake.
10:49 pm on May 28, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I think you're asking for AI (artificial intelligence computing) which is in early development at many companies, including Google, but still far from full implementation user-side.

The public continues to protest the very data collection needed (privacy concerns) to fully develop AI when it comes to daily online activities like Search.
2:25 am on May 29, 2016 (gmt 0)

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How much intelligence does it take to recognize that the form "word OR word" cannot possibly be right? :(

Now, what I would like to see is the kind of intelligence-- and this one really does require intelligence-- that would let me say: Show me pages about widgets, but I'm not interested in foobar. This is not the same as a -without operator, because the article might happen to mention "widgets are often associated with foobar" just in passing. In fact sometimes it's well-night impossible not to mention foobar; I just don't want a whole page about it.
4:11 am on May 29, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Well that's the point. Search programs don't *know* what you mean. They just follow the code and process your input via an algo.

AI is the ability to *learn* what you mean, usually from past user behavior. Much more personalized.
6:08 am on May 29, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Search programs don't *know* what you mean.

In this case they don't need to know what I mean; they only need to know what they mean. When you use a search engine's own operators to search for "A and B", or for "A or B", the operators are only meaningful if A and B are different terms. So by suggesting "did you mean A and A" or "A or A" they're invalidating their own functionality.
6:55 am on May 29, 2016 (gmt 0)

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So by circular logic, they don't know what you/they meant since they don't *know* things... they only process :)
8:09 am on May 29, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I'd like to see a search for the actual combination of letters entered and that boolean is honored. This second guessing (did you mean?) stuff gets in the way from time to time. Algos, of course, only do what HUMANS program them to do. I blame the humans. :)

Bing, at least, attempts that with a search for what you entered. Not always precise, but it appears they are trying.
 

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