Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 188.8.131.52
Not any more! Presumably as part of a change to get more advertising revenue, you now get results based on the URL. In our case, where the page of private photos is not indexed by Google, it now says "your search did not match any documents". That's it, no ads, no help - and a confused father-in-law who calls me to say the site is down.
I can only guess that millions of people who have been using Google for navigation purposes are now very confused.
FAIR ENOUGH: Google is a for-profit company, and people entering URLs into the search box would have cost it a lot of bandwidth, for zero gain
NOT COOL: At least Google could display a message saying "Our search engine does not know that page/site, to go directly to it, click here"
Matt Cutts explains the changes at his blog, but typical GoogleSpeak, mentions nothing about what I have described above.
[edited by: tedster at 1:20 am (utc) on Sep. 21, 2006]
[edit reason] make the link live [/edit]
Sorry about your father-in-law's confusion.
Our intentions behind the change actually were to HELP folks like your father-in-law and many other non-power users... many of whom were frustrated with our old way of showing results in this context. In particular, the old way confused folks who wanted information ABOUT a particular site (reviews, testimonies to its legitimacy, etc.) AND stymied the huge number of people who frequently mistyped popular domains (e.g., [myspce.com]).
Based on our research and experience thus far, the new way of showing results for URL searches is serving our users better. If you'd like to learn more about the change, you may want to check out Matt Cutts' informal commentary on the issue:
Since most of the clients are using I.E. I now just have them go to the File menu and select "Open", but using google was so much easier because it confirmed to me that they did have internet access, and saved the frustration of trying to spell a phonetically difficult domain (not of my making btw.)
my 2 cents...
When URL is entered into the search & by some algo it determines that user is trying to go to that URL (i.e. there is only 1 result, and it's not a common mispelling) - it would redirect to that URL.
But if the algo determines that there are few results, or the URL maybe a mispelled - it would display the list of results...
What google have done is that it made a life of few people slightly more convenient, but totally screwed it up for few thousand. Unfortunatelly, this type of thing goes on in many companies (including mine) - I call the it the CEO-dribble - cause it's usually some CEO's bright idea like that...
.. just another rant on the same topic... whose bright idea was to put the number of results at the BOTTOM of SERP's (in the logged mode)?! When I do site: - I want to see the # of results right way - and not to do the scroll... scroll... scroll... thing...