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I think the Similar Pages feature could really use some improvement. I find it only works for larger (higher PR) sites, often doesn't return similar sites, and doesn't display _enough_ results.
Google rocks.. I think it's great that you care enough to ask these questions.
(edited by: Marcia at 6:42 am (utc) on May 22, 2002)
<No specific site references, please. ~Marcia>
(edited by: Marcia at 6:48 am (utc) on May 22, 2002)
How many bridges are there over the Mississippi in the Saint Louis, MO metropolitan area?
How many solar flares occurred in 1999?
How many volcanoes are in the Ring of Fire?
Google ignores prepositions and question-adverbs in searches. In the case of almanac-type searches, these words are critical limiters (time, place, relationship, etc.)
I can find answers, but can a child (say age 10-12) find the information he/she needs for a school report? The information is likely somewhere on the Web, and Google probably knows the right page, but it can be a challenge to find the page with the factual answer you need.
Often, a good almanac or call/visit to the local reference librarian produces quicker results.
Google's strength in finding "hard", "objective" or "scientific" data is helped by their alogos especially their PR algo. But their algos are not good for finding the "best" commercial or shopping sites, - because PR is a terrible way to "rank" these when the reasons for other people hyperlinking to sites, and therefore higher page rank is far less driven by "authority" or "relevance". PPC and Adowrds actually does a much better job at finding good commercial sites.
It would help if the Open Directory had a category
for the island, of course, but even without that
it should be possible to separate the pages with "Java" on them into clusters and offer a choice between "Java (programming language)" and "Java (island)".
Even the Google Glossary lists nine definitions [labs1.google.com] - one for the coffee, eight for the programming language, and ZERO for the island.
(edited by: danny at 3:25 am (utc) on May 22, 2002)
I agree. Along with the Web, Images, Directory, and Groups there should be a Shopping section. Perhaps a paid inclusion system that e-commerce sites can submit to.
The sites listed there wouldn't interfere or blend in with the "Web Results", but users can click on a tab that would show shopping sites listed by relevancy. The relevancy would be determined by Google's various algos. Not just PR, but perhaps by various sorting methods: PageRank, Freshness, Popularity, and Editor-assigned topic/keyword categorization.
PageRank: This would allow people to view the sites that are deemed valuable by existing PR methods.
Freshness: This would allow people to view the sites that are updated frequently so that users can find sites that might offer better deals or special sales.
Popularity: This would allow people to view the sites that are visited the most by Google users.
Editor-assigned topic/keyword categorization: This would allow people to view sites for specific content that was found by the editors. (Would keep out the sites that people could artificially influence in the above factors.
However Java is part of Indonesia, same as Victoria in Australia, surrey in england, and borneo (which includes parts of Indonesia, Malaysia, and all of Brunei). I would use "Java Indonesia" and you should get a much better result. Other possibles are "Java island" "Javanese" etc. So we all have to "help the SE's" a bit to find what we are looking for as it is not all magic!
At that point I go to AltaVista and utilize Bablefish.
Practice and a reasonably good understanding of Google's algorithm makes it easy for me (and probably most people in this forum) to think of good searches, but most people don't have that skill. And Google has always tried to make things easy for people.
Fast and AV have no problem returning results from sites that offer information technology training. Google returns relevant ads, but the main results don't have anything to do with information technology.
It just doesn't seem right that I can't find an IT training course at the search engine most commonly used by the IT community.
Paid inclusion for shopping? One of the best commercial and PR advantages that Google has is its reputation for helping David against Goliath. Although that isn't strictly true, this would be a step which would damage that reputation.
I don't have a problem searching for items to buy on Google. Various people who want to sell me items might have a problem because they don't come as high as they might wish...
I've noticed this kind of thing a lot in competitive searches with "San Francisco" as part of the query... must happen for other cities too.
2. Fulltext indexing/searching of out-of-date copyright books. (search for a quote of Oscar Wilde, did Shakespeare ever use the word ....)
3. Search function for looking for similar images [webmasterworld.com]. (that is you copy a picture into the search field). Do not ask me what technical implications this would have.
4. Add the map(quest) function for foreign (non-us)addresses. BTW, why is this function disabled with other language Google versions?
5. Ixquick/Copernic for all sites that do not have a link from a site indexed by Google. (buy more servers with your IPO money, so what if they have a Pagerank of 0, you can still find these sites if you type in their company name with some kind of address/identification combination).
6. Donate the Google search funtion to Brett for internal site searches (the only time I go elswhere, to Google instead of WebmasterWorld ;).
On each of the first two pages, four or so of the sites returned have nothing to do with public relations... they're just very well-linked for "San Francisco" and happen to contain the phrase "public relations" somewhere on the page.
I come across variations of that problem all the time.
I really hope the powers that be down at the Plex have taken the time to read about the concept of Topic Sensitive PageRank [www2002.org]:)
3. Search function for looking for similar images.Trying to beat the Gizmo Quiz? ;)
Then I'd like to see a notification system so I can send advertisers the SERP of their sometimes poor choice of keyword selection. If I do a search on Gap Theory does the merchant really think I'm interested in a new pair of jeans? Am I going to shop for a "theory" at Ebay?
The save search feature is a good one, how about one for emailing search results as well? :) Top it all off with a Descriptionary and use the OED instead of the rag-tag collection of dictionaries that dictionary.com uses and...
people will complain that the interface is too cluttered.
As for falling down, I think the searchers do that more often than Google does. A friend of mine hardcoded the word tees as a substitute for teas and tease at his golfing site.
And I really look forward to the day, as WG says, when link relevance refines PR to a major extent. It will make for even more relevent SERPS and discourage this crazy PR "buying". I get sick of emails from people requesting reciprocal links... and most of the sites are unrelated in content as well.