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Using the Google Search Box instead of the Address Bar

No longer works the same, millions confused?

12:11 am on Sep 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Until a week-or-two ago, my father-in-law accessed our baby photos by typing the full URL (with the http://) of the site directly into Google - rather than the address bar of his browser. And because it was obviously a full URL, Google just sent him directly to the site.

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.
http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/changes-in-url-queries/ [mattcutts.com]

[edited by: tedster at 1:20 am (utc) on Sep. 21, 2006]
[edit reason] make the link live [/edit]

2:54 am on Sept 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Tell your Dad to use the "I'm feeling lucky" button instead of "search".
3:40 am on Sept 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I just tried it with the Google search box on Firefox and my own URL and it still producted a list of 4 choices - the first two being my site. The other two - I need to investigate as to why they come up!
3:42 am on Sept 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

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To add to the previous post: When I clicked the show omitted listings, it went directly to my site. Very weird.
11:36 am on Sept 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Tell your father in law to bookmark
8:12 pm on Sept 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Hi Robert,

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:

8:17 pm on Sept 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I agree with John.... bookmark it.

It's then even quicker. One single click of the mouse instead of reaching for the keyboard.

9:00 pm on Sept 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I also noticed this behavior as well and posted on Matts blog about it. I use the google search specifically for this particular issue.
I have a website that has alot of the letters "f" in it, and sometimes people hear the letter "s", so I found it alot easier to just have them type in the ip address since alot of them don't have the address bar. Google used to say, "sorry no information is available for the url, if you believe the url is valid try clicking on the following link: []
they click on the link, and bam, they are at the site, now google just gives a message of Your search - - did not match any documents.

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...

9:07 pm on Sept 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

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What google should have done is make it smarter...

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...


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