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Google seems to be getting more difficult to use for me

     
7:12 pm on Feb 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I am finding Google more and more difficult to use. I don't think Google is any worse or any better in that regard than it was a few years ago. However, I do expect more from them today than previosly.

This isn't anything new really, it's just a level of frustration setting and waiting for Google to come up with an easier way to search than they have at current. It feels like they have stopped dead in the water on search and settled for what they have.

I really didn't even know there could be a faster, more accurate way to search until using that 'other engine' with it's nifty suggestions. They cut search time by multiples and make the actual process much less of an intellectual brain teaser. Instead of figuring out the right keyword combos to get Google to generate the result I want, I could be putting that effort into viewing information I want, or getting back to work.

In alot of ways, Google today is feeling more an engine from the pre-Google days. I sure hope they have something up their sleeve.

7:43 pm on Feb 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Light the blue touch paper and stand well back :)....
7:49 pm on Feb 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I agree. Google is still very good, but it seems they are resting on their laurels a bit ... at least with their search product. Most of their energy seems to be focused on other areas: news, blogs, etc. Nifty features perhaps, but they shouldn't forget what made them number one.
8:18 pm on Feb 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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deep searching? use ATW
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8:29 pm on Feb 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Perhaps you should come out and say what that "other engine" is Brett. All I can say is Google is way at the top in the #1 position at the moment. They're doing something right. I do agree that in terms of user friendliness Google could do better. In particular, most people don't seem to be able on their own to come up with the right search terms without suggestions.
8:34 pm on Feb 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>deep searching? use ATW

True enough, (not)just for fun I often do the Opera supersearch with ATW and Google side by side. With complex queries it's often ATW bringing up the answer faster.

The only gripe I'm having is they don't seem to do the Fast Topics anymore.
Have been complaining some months ago, but never really got an answer as to why.

This is something Google is missing, but AV, Fast, and the other engine have.

8:58 pm on Feb 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I have to agree in that Google is becoming quite primative compared to what else is out there.

The other day I was looking blue widget cases but had a hard time finding what I was looking for. I tried adding multiple words to the phrase to narrow down the results but only ended up with either non-relevant sites or no results at all.

Only when I trawled through results pages after searching "blue widgets", did I find that the widely used phrase was "blue widget containers."

Both Google and Froogle did not help in pointing this out to me.

Now if I go to Vivisimo and search for "blue widget cases", they will display "blue widget containers" in the clustered results column.

I would much rather see clustered results recommendations at labs.google.com than Google Sets and Google Viewer.

Fun time is over fellas, it is time to get serious.

9:09 pm on Feb 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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My big problem with the other engines is that they just do not seem to take their spidering seriously.

I agree that several of them have much nicer features for doing advanced searches. I don't generally need help coming up with search terms that work, so that really isn't and issue for me, but I imagine it can be for others.

As a webmaster, I am greatly biased towards Google, simply because they are the only ones that seem to condsider my site worth fully indexing. I was completely indexed by the third month with around 2000 pages in google.

Now we are at 6 months, and these are the number of bot visits I have had so far this month

Googlebot (Google) 3616
Inktomi Slurp 1444
Road Runner: The ImageScape Robot 523
Scooter (AltaVista) 344
Fast-Webcrawler (AllTheWeb) 86
Alexa (IA Archiver) 69

Ink discovered my site and started going nuts about 2 days after yahoo bought them. Before that they had 2 of my pages.

AllTheWeb has 54 pages, and so far it looks like they only added 2 more to the pages that they crawled this month. ATW simply does not live up to their name.

I ran some tests between ATW and google on several of the sites that I frequent, that are all content rich and major players in their industry. On sites with less than 100 pages, ATW generally had slightly over half as many pages as google did for the site. On sites that have hundreds, or even thousands of pages, ATW rarely had over 100 of the pages indexed. The only time that they seemed to have much more than that was for the true king of the hill sites like nationalgeographic.com.

It doesn't matter how nice their UI is, if they don't have the content to search.

And as a webmaster, I do take it somewhat personally that they don't seem to consider my site worth deep crawling. I will continue to favor the SE that favors me.

9:22 pm on Feb 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Well, I didn't want to turn this into a compare and contrast post - Google is top of the mountain and has to stand on it's own. It's only real competition at this point is itself.

Other se's out there are inovating quietly, but it's all evolutionary and not revolutionary.

9:48 pm on Feb 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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But Google does have competitors. From the point of view of the competetion, to attract people away from Google means they need to do something better. This easier way of searching you mention sounds like a good road for the competition to go down.
10:25 pm on Feb 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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When your the best at what you do, or rather so far ahead of your closest competitor. How do you inspire innovation? They direction I'd like to see Google move in is towards "relevancy", a seach engine truely dedicated to find the closest, if not exact results for a given search term, taking into account synonyms what a bold move that would be?
10:29 pm on Feb 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I'm with Dave. I have no problems in finding what I need in Google. That may be a matter of searching habits. And in the niches that I know best, Google have much more content than the competion. And they still do much more spidering though it seems that Yahoo did something very serious about Slurp's spidering habits.
10:46 pm on Feb 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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...using that 'other engine' with it's nifty suggestions came onto the scene.

It seems that now not only can one not link to useful resources from WebmasterWorld, but also it's inappropriate to even mention the names or identifying characteristics of them? Really, I don't see how this improves the quality of the discussions here or allows us to help each other out.

Brett, is it that you are afraid we are going to accuse you of spamming your board if you link to (or identify) a valuable resource, or is it that you're afraid to give some of the golden PageRank to this search engine that you say has "nifty features"? I would think that whatever implied endorsement comes from a link would be acceptable and appropriate if not actually desired in this situation.

If things continue in this direction, I don't see how WebmasterWorld can continue to be the board by which all others are measured.

I know this is a rather harsh criticism, but I am increasingly seeing this type of policy being more of a hinderance than a benefit. I'm hoping that the criticism will be constructive.

10:58 pm on Feb 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Board policy would allow mentioning the name of search engines. Many are mentioned already in this thread.
11:03 pm on Feb 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Well, I didn't want to turn this into a compare and contrast post....

Thats why he didn't post the name. He didn't want to start the debate of a particualr engine having better features. Without putting words in his mouth I believe he just wanted to bring attention to the competition in general catching up to google in many areas.

[edited by: JeremyL at 11:24 pm (utc) on Feb. 17, 2003]

11:05 pm on Feb 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Google is, and will remain, my tool of choice for the forseeable future. By and large I find what I want.... but...

When I am just an ordinary Joe Public searcher, I am starting to get ticked off with being offered sites that have poor relevance (what ever became of word proximity?) and I tend to dust off my arsenal of expletives when I am offered a site with nothing in it.

As a seo person I know there are links in the background that brought about that result.... as a viewer I have no idea why Google thinks I wanted an empty site.

The "links above all else" philosophy has spawned a whole link fabrication cottage industry that is starting to slew some of the results. A poor site with 500 links does not offer the viewer a better outcome than a great site with 5 links.

I now find myself occasionally going to ATW and elsewhere for sanity checks which never used to happen.

12:32 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

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From a normal surfer standpoint it's sure straight forward & simple.
But from a SEO standpoint it sure is plain, not enough tools & suggestion for better search. I think they are working on it probaly huh?
12:53 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Good thread--I'd love to hear suggestions about how Google can improve searching for average or power users. We get lots of suggestions from a webmaster perspective, but does anyone want to put on their "User Hat" and give concrete suggestions that would improve their searches? Brett, sounds like you would like a tool that suggested related search queries. What would other people want, as regular users? Or, are there types/genres of searches that you think we could do better on?

This is a pretty good chance to give constructive feedback on improvements--what would regular users like to see?

1:06 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>what would regular users like to see?

the index split up into topic-specific engines, or something like Altavista Prisma/Teoma related searches.

If google is tops for search, i want some of the bells and whistles too. You don't have to include them by default, perhaps some cookie work could let you include the things I want.

1:14 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

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<disclaimer>
This is not a refined thought.. but thought I'd toss it out there.
</disclaimer>

I've heard some of the "Google Talks" over the years, or seen the videos. One of the tings I tend to find fascinating from a psudeo-vouyeristic standpoint (Yeah -- I watch FOX, sue me. :) are the queries Google gets.

Now where this gets relivent is how the queries relate to their results. Or rather, how the results relate to the queries.

What I wonder if there is some way to use 'successful' historical queries to add relivence to the currently executing query.

For example, If I'm looking for 'big blue widgets' and the SERPS list 5 pages, the first 2 are affiliate pages (lets say they might be a little keyword heavy and content light), the 3rd listing has a page from a blue widget manufacturer. (They 'manufacturer big widgets that are blue') And the last 2 pages are pages from blue widget resellers.

From a discussion standpoint lets presume the manufacturer site has the most information...

Other users who queried 'big blue widgets' may have hit some of the other pages, but tened to 'land' or end on the manufacturer's page.

From that standpoint since poeple's search tends to end on that page, shouldn't that page have more relavance then it does have?

Now the $64,000 question is -- does this scale, and how do you do this? I think I'll leave this to the guys who have to 'joy' of manahing 15,000 servers. :)

1:30 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I also would like to see a feature that "suggested related search queries." Or something similar to Teoma's "Refine" feature - which seems not so much "related search queries," but more like a list of possibilities of what you might be specifically searching for.

For example, a search for "cardinals" would give refinement options of:
cardinals - team
cardinals - bird
cardinals - church
etc.

Sorry for mentioning the name of the search engine if that's not considered ok here. But I think just looking at the feature on Teoma is a lot easier than trying to understand my explanation. :)

Beth

1:39 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

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How about a fairly prominent "Get Local" button? I think there are a lot of users that do not search for the city name of something when they are looking for dealers and/or local products or services.

Besides, it would be even more convenient for me if I could press "Get Local" and then be returned sites in the immediate area (higher in the algo) then beyond (lower algo).

1:44 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

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GG typed:
>I'd love to hear suggestions about how Google can
>improve searching for average or power users.

When Big G tweaks the algo sufficiently that junk like:
barak20**.org/hermaphrodite-video-clip-free.htm
doesn't show up in the SERP's when someone is searching for a specific youth organization in a specific city, I'll be a happier camper.

On the flip side, and to Big G's credit, ya'll have far less of these stupid lame sites and ya'll don't land them in the top10-20 as frequently as some other folks do.

Just sign me
no fan of sites which gots nuthin better ta do than glom onto some other site's description and key words in hopes of redirecting unsuspecting folks to somewhere they do not wish to be.

1:45 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I think Google users would benefit by suggesting related search terms, and also possibly a refine search option. The problem is that a lot of searchers are very unsophisticated in how they search, and don't know about how to do advanced searches. This could help out those people.
1:53 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

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My biggest pet peeve with Google is it's plural discrimination :) "widget/widgets" ... like if I'm searching for "widget" pages optimized for "widgets" should also rank well.
2:01 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Just thinking.. could it be too much importance placed on pagerank in comparison to other factors? What good would it be if we were to search for various related keywords only to be given the few high PR sites as first pages. Many don't even have enough occurence of the keywords, like if I look for wig, I get some results like the owner of the site wears a wig only once somewhere on the page. <- high PR

Somehow, I don't seems to get the kind of results that I used to get in the earlier days when I use google. Google in order to prevent spamming becomes what it is today although we know spammy sites when we see it, we visit it once and never go back.

Maybe, to prevent webmasters adapting to their algo, they cannot come out clear with us in certain areas. There is alot of grey areas that we have to keep guessing. Who's fault is it? Google or the webmasters?

On the other end, google's index is getting updated very fast I think. Amazingly, warez sites with their trojaned machines gets into the index too using just ips.

kwngian

[edited by: kwngian at 2:18 am (utc) on Feb. 18, 2003]

2:02 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

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The problem is there are cases where adding or removing an "s" from a search term can create searching for something else beyond the singular and plural.

daamsie

2:06 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I agree, plurals being treated differently to singular is annoying.

The 'get local' suggestion is good, perhaps a 'map' type search on the site that would let you navigate your way through the world, by clicking on a map.. and use that info to generate a search term like 'accommodation melbourne australia'.

2:42 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Maybe even "Get More Local" and "Get Less Local" buttons after I press "Get Local" once. I'd be in heaven!
2:54 am on Feb 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

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The plural and singular search should have been fixed by now and should return the same most relevant results. Hopefully they will get arround to this soon.
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