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Google, Please Stop Thinking For Me

   
3:43 am on Jul 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Google's getting really brash with their search modifications these days. The husband told me of a search he did three days ago that nearly had him taking a club to the computer.

He says:

I searched for:
blue widgets.

And I got:
Here is the search for red widgets. Did you mean to search for blue widgets?

Yes, actually, I did mean to search for blue widgets. I clicked on the search for blue widgets.

And I got:
Here is the search for blue wadgets. Did you mean to search for blue widgets?

Yes, as a matter of fact, that's why I typed it in in the first place. So I clicked on the search for blue widgets yet again.

And got:
Here is the search for blue widgets..

Oh, happy day. But wait - there, in the last position I saw that Google had slipped in a page about blue wadgets after all. As if I couldn't really be serious about wanting to search for blue widgets.

I searched for:
blue widgets -wadgets.

And got:
A search for blue widgets with a page about red widgets somewhere around the bottom of the page.

I then search for:
blue widgets -wadgets -red.

And finally am looking at search results I had hoped to get in the first place.

Now I think, do I quote each term? Will that get me there faster?

Google please stop trying to help me.


So I've been noticing I'm getting highly converting traffic these days. Could it be because people are striving so hard to get their search understood that they're pathetically grateful for any relevant page? And if so, how can this be sustained?

Or are we in the minority? Are searchers really liking Google's superconfident search modifications?
6:32 pm on Jul 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Google's not going to give up on this - but at least they are trying to improve it. For a while, some query revisions didn't even give you a choice to revert to your type-in version.
7:56 pm on Jul 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Though I don't use G for search anymore, in the past I have often wished that they had a button "NO" to click next to "Did you mean to search for"
8:38 pm on Jul 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jimbeetle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Though I don't use G for search anymore, in the past I have often wished that they had a button "NO" to click next to "Did you mean to search for"

That might give them too much data that shows that people don't want Google to give them what it thinks they need instead of what they want.

Much of its research the past few years has been in this direction, and as Ted says, it ain't going away -- at least not without a lot of pushback from users.

And with all the testing they do they're apparently still convinced that this is the way to go.
8:54 pm on Jul 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Google's definitely heading toward becoming the first widespread application of artificial intelligence. And sometimes I like it.

What I wish, though, is for a "sic" option at times - the option to say, "Okay, wiseguy, for this search I want you to stop being a mind reader, and act like a tool, taking my input and giving back predictable results."

If users had a choice to use the search engine as a smart machine for some searches and a plain old simple tool for others, you'd get two very different sets of search results and a lot more happy searchers.
9:01 pm on Jul 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Recently several people have drawn a parallel to the HAL 9000 computer in 2001 Space Odyssey:

"Sorry, Dave, I can't let you search for that term. It's for your own good, Dave."
7:26 am on Jul 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



I'm not the only one that feels like throwing my computer out of the window then. :)

I am finding this search behaviour to be more and more unhelpful. In particular, I am finding more and more that pages with an exact title match are nowhere to be found in the SERP.
10:50 am on Jul 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Ain't that the truth g1. It seems the importance of the title tag isn't what it used to be in so far as being seen in the SERPS unless the site is on a powerful domain. Many of those good informative sites, and not built for adsense ones that came on the web years ago without any real effort in SEO (backlinks) aren't there anymore. I find myself looking at urls more than titles in many cases.
11:19 am on Jul 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



And with all the testing they do they're apparently still convinced that this is the way to go.

You are quite right Jim, however, I'm not chained to G so I went away. I'm now using duckduckgo (not related to or affiliated with) just because whatever I search for I get it above the first or second fold including title match g1smd ;)
12:01 pm on Jul 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



"Sorry, Dave, I can't let you search for that term. It's for your own good, Dave."

A slight modification...
"Sorry, Dave, I can't let you search for that term. Be wise and click those AdWords ads first."
12:36 pm on Jul 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



This is something that hasn't gone unnoticed by competitors. Here's a Bing advert that is obviously having a go at this very issue: [youtube.com...]
12:47 pm on Jul 23, 2010 (gmt 0)



Amazing, duckduckgo is pretty much spot on.

Good one! Thanks for the heads up!

I'm so sick off Google...so useless nowadays. This search engine is fast becoming a sad joke (with spot on ads around).
1:57 pm on Jul 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jimbeetle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



What I wish, though, is for a "sic" option at times - the option to say, "Okay, wiseguy, for this search I want you to stop being a mind reader, and act like a tool, taking my input and giving back predictable results."

Yeah, I always considered myself a pretty capable Google searcher, fairly fluent with the advance operators, able to suss out some pretty arcane stuff.

Nope, no longer. That arcane stuff remains hidden. All the world's information is no longer accessible. And if you can't access it, it ain't usable.
3:26 pm on Jul 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Google is not thinking for you and they are definately not thinking of you.
4:25 pm on Jul 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



It's actually pretty sad. Google used to be the absolute best at giving you a result for exactly what you typed in.

Now, they give you a result for what THEY think you want, not what you really typed in.

This is the result of too many smart people in one building all trying to justify their pay checks and stock options.

It's only going to get worse.

Pesonally, I have not used Google for anything other than to check positions.

I find everything I need with Bing.
7:50 pm on Jul 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member themadscientist is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



arizonadude I'm so with you it's not even funny, but what I do find a bit humorous is all the people who complain about Google and don't just switch to another search engine... I find everything I need with Bing just fine too. Took me about a week to get used to, and now I don't even like visiting Google... Really it's a bit humorous to me people seem to really and truly believe there is only one option and sit with a headache and complain when all they really have to do to solve the problem is use a different search engine, not try to get Google to change what they've decided to do or wait for them to figure out how to do it.

You're right, they used to be by far the best; no question, hands down. But IMO that's simply not the case any more, because when using a site gives me a headache I didn't used to get from it I need to do something different... It's their site. They decided how they wanted it to be. If I keep using it when I can't find what I need or don't like it, the problem isn't them, it's me.
8:30 pm on Jul 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Well, it's about SEO, really. You keep using Google because your visitors use Google.

There are so many ways it could go.

Other search engines could become real competition and Google's dominance could go away.

Google could hit the right note again and resurge even more powerfully based on innovation rather than largely on momentum.

Or things could come to a standstill. Maybe Google's so firmly entrenched that, in a short time, they've become like the major highways. I mean, you know you shouldn't take the highway in rush hour, because navigating the smaller neighborhood streets will probably get you there faster, but it's the way you know, so you do it anyway. (Until enough people at work start talking about a quick route past the supermarket and you decide to try it, and like it, and the highway's history. Or maybe you do try it and then find out some places you could only get to on the highway, so it's back to rush hour traffic for you.)
5:20 am on Jul 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



So the spouse proceeded to try the same search now on several different search engines: Bing, Cuil, Duck Duck Go, Kosmix, Yahoo! Search and Yebol. All of them offered the "Did you mean red widgets?" suggestion, and most of them slipped in some red widget results too, and at about the fifth one he uttered a word we try not to say in the presence of the kid.

Still, he was maddened enough that when he said he was going to take a shower, and I said, "Don't you want to take a bath?" he looked at me in disbelief and said, "Don't treat me like Google!"