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Does anyone here still use Google to actually "search"?

     
10:36 am on Aug 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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It took quite a while for me, I kept saying "I'll never use Google again" because the search results were just so bad. But every time I was in a hurry I would always end up using them as their search engine was the fastest, best laid out etc.

But for a few months now I've been Google-free. The time I waste desparately hacking at the Advanced Search options on Google to try and get some sort of answer to my query is just too much and I'd rather wait the extra milliseconds for Yahoo/MSN pages to load.

I don't even use Google for commercial searches anymore as Adwords now only consists of ebay and PPC search engine ads. i.e. "Searching for kidufeiso? Find kidufeiso here!" - all the decent merchants seem to have gone elsewhere. (No big surprise with Google's ridiculous fraud problems!)

Just wondered if I was the last one to leave Google? I certainly am amongst the people I know. My wife left Google over a year ago, she's now a big Ask Jeeves user because it tends to deal with the sort of things she searches for better than most. Me, I tend to use both Yahoo and MSN depending on what I'm looking for. But everyone else (including my grandmother) has moved away from Google because they "just couldn't find anything, every page they got sent to was just a bunch of advertisements".

Is Google now just for the non-savvy web user and spammers clicking on their own links?

10:41 am on Aug 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I'm a heavy web search user for real research (i.e., not for commercial related stuff) that often appears in smaller websites in some random country. For me Google is still by far the best option. Since I frequently spend time looking for info that is quite hard to find, I do test the various major web searches at least once a month (generally anytime I can't find enough/any info on google). It is quite rare that any of the others return a page with good info that Google didn't have.
10:45 am on Aug 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Google is streets ahead of the competition; even most Google-haters use it, if they're honest.

Let's face it, they'd be pretty silly to use a second line SE, wouldn't they, just to 'spite' Google.

As if Google cared - I suppose it saves them some bandwidth :)

11:10 am on Aug 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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yes because I very much doubt that Google makes much money out of webmasters who use their search engine. I don't remember clicking any of their ads. Ever.
11:19 am on Aug 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Try the following: Let's say you hear the term "meningiomata" and you want to know what it is (it's a type of tumor but you don't know that it's the plural of "meningioma" or that it can also be written as "meningiomas" - both of which the search engines do fine with).

You search for it on the three search engines. Google gives the best results, Yahoo! is adequate, but MSN's results are almost useless (and even include a spammy page as one of the top results).

Now say you want an image of meningiomata. Google gives a bunch of them, Yahoo! one which isn't very relevant, and MSN none.

Bottom line, Google is "deeper" than the other search engines and there are times when that depth is a huge asset.

Personally, I use Google all the time and almost never encounter spammy results.

1:26 pm on Aug 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I use Google for all my searching. I think that the "bad results" returned by Google are not from Google errors but from the user's lack of knowledge on how to use the advanced search "operators" supplied by all SE.

What amazes me is after all this time, most searchers don't know that JIM CATANICH and "JIM CATANICH" will return different results.

May I suggest to those who are not experienced with the concepts of advanced search operators that they look at:

[google.com...]

Each of the SE's have the same thing.

2:15 pm on Aug 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I've found that when Google does return relevant results the first one is usually very good. It returns relevant results about half the time, and has the best image search too.

MSN has yet to return a relevant result so I rarely use it.

I've switched to Yahoo. The result I'm after is always somewhere on the first page. It might not be right at the top, but unlike some search engines, it will be there.

2:28 pm on Aug 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Google all the way for me, it's still the best by a long shot. I couldn't use the internet without it.

You can massively improve the search results using more advanced queries, but without using the advanced search form - negative stop words etc, all work very well for me.

TJ

2:55 pm on Aug 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I used to be a dogpile fan, but now all i use is google. Everything I need to find from unknown running process's on a clients computer to what digit my name is in PI, google finds it all for me. However much advertising there is...I've got my blinders on so really don't see it..and using the advanced search helps out a lot.
2:59 pm on Aug 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I use Google for all my searching.

Me, too. The results aren't always great, but they're better than I find in competitors' search engines, and often they're much better than they were a couple of years ago.

PERSONAL BEEF: Right now the problem seems to be clutter from worthless or nearly-worthless pages on keyword-driven, largely computer-generated review-and-link megasites, at least for searches that involve travel or computing. It's really annoying to look for destination info or reviews of a laptop computer and find pages from some corporate-owned, name-brand megasite that contain little or no real information. Google needs to crack down on such sites, perhaps by an across-the-board downranking of sites that have high percentages of template pages with very little content. (And if Google can't automate the process, how about a few judiciously-applied manual penalties, just to send a message that keyword-driven clutter of its SERPs won't be rewarded?)

3:08 pm on Aug 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I use Google for all my searching. I think that the "bad results" returned by Google are not from Google errors but from the user's lack of knowledge on how to use the advanced search "operators" supplied by all SE.

What amazes me is after all this time, most searchers don't know that JIM CATANICH and "JIM CATANICH" will return different results.

Google used to be much better at handling phrases without requiring quotes.

A few years ago if you searched for

BLUE WIDGETS REPAIR

Google would understand it as if you entered

"BLUE WIDGETS" REPAIR

But now it seems to have lost this ability and results for "multi-phrase" phrases are not as good.

-- Roger

3:13 pm on Aug 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I use Google for general searches or for those I know I can narrow using advanced operators. If it's a subject I'm not familiar enough with to narrow a search or if I'm trying to find a specific little bit of info I go straight over to Ask. I find much of its results to be much less cluttered and the refine results tools quite good.
3:17 pm on Aug 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I change to yahoo because i find different and more accurate result in first page. Google often offer the same site in first page (affiliate and subdomain), and I don't want scroll many result and loose my time.
More Competitor = More Quality Result

But I think that in the future the winner will be live.com

3:20 pm on Aug 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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There are other SEs?
3:20 pm on Aug 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I'm more inclined to share efv's views than that of the op.

I don't find myself having issues with G the vast majority of the time. I do however also make use of Y, MSN, gigablast and ask (growing somewhat after it became the iwon default.)

I suppose for now google remains as dumbledore, not perfect by any means, but worth more than a modicum of respect.

3:57 pm on Aug 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Right now the problem seems to be clutter from worthless or nearly-worthless pages on keyword-driven, largely computer-generated review-and-link megasites, at least for searches that involve travel or computing. It's really annoying to look for destination info or reviews of a laptop computer and find pages from some corporate-owned, name-brand megasite that contain little or no real information

YEAH! i hate the same. we work hard to make unique sites and they just auto-generate pages. it is like that since Jagger part 1

4:11 pm on Aug 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Addendum regarding something the OP said:

My wife left Google over a year ago, she's now a big Ask Jeeves user because it tends to deal with the sort of things she searches for better than most.

I don't think my wife knows there are search engines besides Google (or, if she does, she's never thought of trying them).

Webmasters and SEOs who get mad at Google like to bring up the example of AltaVista as a search engine that "lost the support of the Webmaster community" and was replaced by Google. They forget that AltaVista was never a mass-market brand and household name the way Google is. Heck, "google" is a verb these days. So it really doesn't matter too much whether we use Google for search--what does matter is that the non-technical people around us do, and they aren't any more likely to switch from Google to Yahoo or Ask than a typical Budweiser drinker is likely to switch from Bud to a microbrew.

4:12 pm on Aug 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I use google for almost all searches, however when I need to find something local (geographicaly), google is not so good. For example, 'estate agent, my town' or 'cars for sale, my city' - these produces pages of directory sites with every town/city name in the World, but with very poor page content. Yahoo! or msn win hand down with these searches.
4:13 pm on Aug 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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google results are absolute leap years ahead of MSN and Yahoo in relevancy still (HA I wont even comment on the other ones). even if results might be a hair off for certain terms, with spam scraper sites at the top, what do you expect its going to happen, google isnt god in this perfect world.

also who clicks on the ads anyways? obv. not the people who are reading this post right now. I personally dont care if like you said "ebay and PPC search engine ads" dominate the adwords market. go ahead. i still find what I am looking for 95% of the time instantly.

Like others have said as well. You need to learn how to search. If your seraching for the address of a store in NH. Dont just type in the store name and expect to find it.

4:23 pm on Aug 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Yes.
4:32 pm on Aug 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I still use mostly Google out of habit but I predict that Yahoo's recent move to bring social network and tagging information into the results will be successful and may even land them on top until Google relaxes it's "no human ranking" approaches.

This thread surprises me as most objective measures indicate that Google is the best, but not by much and certainly not always best if compared to good vertical search tools. Habit is driving SE choice, not careful analysis of result sets.

Also, I think there will be legal battles when Vista launches over default search in future versions of IE browsers, MS will win most of them, and Google market share will go down with new users.

Search dominance is not healthy for users or webmasters - this community should recognize that more than most.

4:39 pm on Aug 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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The stats for my sites show that Google is still heavily used while other SEs bring small fractions of my visitors. As long as that is the case I'll pay a lot of attention to Google Search.
4:45 pm on Aug 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Does anyone here still use Google to actually "search"?

Absolutely, in my area they are so far ahead of the competition it is unreal.
Y and MSN look a good 5 years behind.
G's results are excellent whereas the others are laughably bad.

No wonder that G accounts for up to 97% of search in my field!
They don't search for something they 'Google it'

Wish it was different as I hate the reliance, but I don't see it changing

4:52 pm on Aug 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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google produces, by far, the best results in my area. i tried yahoo for awhile, but still find google light years ahead for my own surfing. msn and yahoo are a distant second. the op's frustration is obvious, but i just don't see anything better than google right now, and their financial results don't seem to be showing any slowdown. (fraud: separate issue)
5:16 pm on Aug 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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These posts are probably not the answer the op was hoping for. But, they also track the overall search trend which has google taking market share at yahoo and msn's expense. The average web surfer seems to find google getting better.
5:18 pm on Aug 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Google is one of the best tools ever invented! The 'net wouldn't be the same without it.

Sometimes its just a matter of modifying your search terms to include some unusual or uncommon words. I use the - sign often to filter out terms or sites that are off topic.

MSN is an ok backup, but so 20th century in comparison.

5:58 pm on Aug 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Depends what I'm searching for.

If it's information on a subject for work, I'll go to yahoo as they tend to let the smaller sites be listed and I'm usually looking for an opinion from a person not something from a large commercial site which google puts up way too high.

If you are searching for a product, then google wins as its basically a portal to ebay without having to go to ebay and suffer through their worthless search format. If it's a product name, the ads are usually relavent as well.

MSN is just too stale for anything new, then again so is google unless its on about, ebay, or the like.

Yahoo wins hands down on numbers as well. If you have a unique model number, part number, or serial number, etc. Google usually shows no results. Yahoo seems to go deeper and returns pages. Must be their database management allows benign information such as uniqe phrases to be accessed easier.

I do wish yahoo and msn would set up a simple search page like google, something that doesnt have to load up all the other junk they have. That's the one thing they excel at, their home page is all about search, the others seem to want to do everything.

6:06 pm on Aug 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Webmasters and SEOs who get mad at Google like to bring up the example of AltaVista as a search engine that "lost the support of the Webmaster community" and was replaced by Google...

Completely different world back in 1999/2000 when this transition took place..AV was on a much smaller scale as a search engine then is Google and the WWW was a much smaller place, overall...

AV was, at that time, a dying entity...filled with horrific spam (webmasters/seo'ers) and not able to deal at all with the onslaught...
As they tried to counter their engine suffered huge losses...plus Google being the new kid in the game was ripe for the picking and many webmasters/seo'ers went after Google with a vengance...

Google has done a better job of countering the onslaught...and they are easily number 1 for most searches...(and if you really know how to search with advanced operators...you can find exactly what you want)...
...as for the general public vs. the webmasters...the general public (everyday users) will, of course, retain the bulk of G's attention over the small webmaster community...
But we, at least, have to have our say in the matter....

6:17 pm on Aug 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I use Yahoo, primarily because it suggests refined searches that I can click on. This feature alone has allowed me to obtain more relevance in searching than tweaking keywords at Google.

I'm extremely surprised that Google haven't implemented this yet. I do believe they experimented with it. But watch, now that I've said it, it'll be on my next Google search.

[edited by: Chico_Loco at 6:20 pm (utc) on Aug. 1, 2006]

6:30 pm on Aug 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I don't know, I kind of think you are crazy(no offense meant). Google is still the best search engine. And it has by FAR the best advertising system. I mean I get as pissed off as anyone when it comes to some of the things they do, but let's not pretend they are losing marketshare. Quite the opposite..
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