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Google's reverse stemming going too far

   
2:28 am on Nov 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I did a search today and my query looks like:

something1 with something2 something3

I noticed none of the snippets had something1 in bold. It was almost as though they didn't include the most important word I selected to search on.

Sure enough, buried at the very bottom reads:

Tip: These results do not include the word "something1". <link>Show results that include "something1".</link>


Extremely annoying. Anyone else getting this?
9:09 am on Nov 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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



Yes. Google often returns what they want you to see, not what you actually asked for.
9:22 am on Nov 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I am using Bing more and more these days.
11:08 am on Nov 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I completely agree with you, Silicon. I also have trouble finding many things, especially when I include more than 2-3 keywords in my search. I'm having to come up with extremely creative queries just to be able to include the keyword I'm looking for.

I'm still not so convinced by Bing yet.

If I'm looking for a specific solution to x, it is imperative that the results include the term x. The loss of the + operator months ago made it even more difficult.

As for your question, I haven't seen <link>Show results that include "something1".</link> yet. It might make things a little easier.
11:24 am on Nov 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I was looking for some info on a wordpress plugin the other night on Google, in the end I switched to Bing and Bingo! Top of fist page. Relevance.
11:45 am on Nov 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Yes. Google often returns what they want you to see, not what you actually asked for.


The algo is so good that it knows what you want before YOU know what you want ...
12:04 pm on Nov 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Kidder: exactly! I didn't want to post specifics, but looking for a php function was almost impossible a few days ago and switching to Bing got me exactly what I needed :)
12:51 pm on Nov 8, 2011 (gmt 0)



What's Google?
1:29 pm on Nov 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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



Removing the + operator has made it nearly impossible for me to search.
1:56 pm on Nov 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I tried switching to bing for about 3 months a couple years ago. The reasons that I switched back to Google came down to 2 issues:

1) Google had map results for searching for town names such as "Anytown TX", Bing still does not.

2) I'd search for "<brand> <qualifier>" on bing, something like "widgetfoo manual" and get the widget foo home page, despite the fact that it didn't actually have the qualifier anywhere on it.

I may have to give bing another three month shot now. Google is playing the same games with my queries.
2:07 pm on Nov 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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This is getting pretty annoying... I find it helps if I'm getting keywordless results, (which is becoming really common these days) to put each keyword in quotes.
2:16 pm on Nov 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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



keyword in quotes

There's a whole other thread (about a week ago) all about that topic someplace around these parts.
3:18 pm on Nov 8, 2011 (gmt 0)



Just return the results for my query. Not what you want me to see, not what you think I want.

For me the biggest loss is the quotes, I just can't get phrases in quotes to return content that contains the given phrase. To me, this should be about the simplest, easiest, quickest, query to execute.

I still think they are shooting themselves in the foot with all these "improvements" and upgrades.
3:34 pm on Nov 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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



We're not the target demographic.
5:17 pm on Nov 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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What's Google?


Apparently Google is nothing more than a confidence trick...which is what I just realized today after Bing got it (and subsequent queries) right.
6:16 pm on Nov 8, 2011 (gmt 0)



This is what happens when you use an algorithm to decipher user intent. Sometimes, when you use a probabilistic approach you end up pissing off a small percentage of users.

This happened to me the other day when I was searching for something unusual and Google decides to show me results for similar but not related search query. I was stunned. Did Google just hijack my search query? Yes, yes they did.

Still, I classify this as a first world problem, wouldn't you?
7:43 pm on Nov 8, 2011 (gmt 0)



Just yesterday I did a search for a rather generic query (so I hope it's OK that I post it): [html q]

Rather than digging through the HTML spec for the details of the <q> element, I was hoping to use Google as a shortcut. The first four results were OK; they matched my query, but weren't quite what I was looking for. I can't blame Google for that because my query was rather generic.

However, the fifth result had absolutely nothing to do with HTML, let alone the <q> element. The only reason it ranked, as far as I could tell, was because the page URL ended with the .html file extension.

The sixth result was to a page on a 9/11 conspiracy theory website. Again, the only reason it ranked, as far as I could tell, was because the page URL ended with the .html file extension.

Two or three of the remaining results were related to my query, but I stopped paying attention after the sixth result. I think one of the others was a search page that ranked because "q" appeared as a query string variable in the URL.

I can accept that results for such a generic query probably aren't going to be exactly what I was hoping for, but that...? That's unreal.

--
Ryan
4:28 am on Nov 10, 2011 (gmt 0)



We're not the target demographic.



Hehe, yeah ok then. Classic and predictable.

It couldn't possibly be the case that the current algo has issues. Or, that google search is less than perfect, no that's impossible isn't it? "We're just not the target demographic", yeah, yeah, that's the ticket.

What "target demographic" do you see getting relevant, timely and accurate results? What search queries are you making or your mother or wife or friends?

There's even been threads on this very site reporting experiences from wives etc... That think google must be broken.

But, that couldn't possibly be the case, shame on me or anyone else for daring to even thinkthis could be possible. Google is perfect, google is the almighty, must obey and say only good things.

We're just not the target demographic. I knew it had to be our fault that we can't find what we search for these days.
6:55 am on Nov 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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



Rather than vent on Google's responses to queries, (no solutions that I know of), one can only test/use results from G and Bing to see what's out there. Yahoo, of course, is Bing these days, so if Yahoo gives it (results) up... you're getting Bing.

This unhappiness with G is understandable. These recurring rants, and I am equally guilty from time to time, do not help. HOWEVER, reports of failures to produce results are valid... one of those "circular" kind of things. But a report is not the same as the editorializing we see all too often.

</rant off>
1:15 pm on Nov 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



We're not the target demographic.


+1
1:22 pm on Nov 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



Rather than vent on Google's responses to queries, (no solutions that I know of), one can only test/use results from G and Bing to see what's out there.


Out of curiosity, whatever happened to the search engines that were supposed to be google killers?

I tried Duck Duck Go with the html q query provided above and the hit rate was pretty good (a couple of off topic ones further down in the results).

At one point, wasn't Wolfram|Alpha supposed to be the next big thing? I guess "computational knowledge engine" turned out NOT to be the intuitive catchphrase everyone had hoped it would be...
3:02 pm on Nov 10, 2011 (gmt 0)



Planet13 wrote:
At one point, wasn't Wolfram|Alpha supposed to be the next big thing?

Wolfram|Alpha [en.wikipedia.org] isn't a search engine; it's an answer engine. It doesn't even index websites to mine data for its answers. The datasets it uses are added by the company that created and operates it.

In other words, not a replacement for Google.

--
Ryan
4:05 pm on Nov 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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



We're just not the target demographic. I knew it had to be our fault that we can't find what we search for these days.


I'm sorry, I'll use shorter, clearer words so you'll understand.

Nobody said Google isn't flawed, or that it's anyone's fault. You pulled those out of - I'll restrain myself and say "thin air."

Sure there's a lot of people complaining about search quality here. I'm one of em (I want my + operator back) But we're still only the smallest blip on the percentage of overall daily searches. All we have (all we will ever have) is minute anecdotal data - a couple of wives can't find what they want in Google? Out of how many searches is that, again?

What's more, most of us here are involved in the search business in one way or another, or we wouldn't even be here in the first place. So no - we're NOT the target demographic. We know enough to spot the flaws, we're not average users, many of us are webmasters and/or SEOs, and Google is not trying to tailor the search engine to the way WE search.

They have a lot more statistical data than we ever will. And they're obviously going to go for the averages. And we are outside the average.

Hope that's a little less "classic and predictable."
5:30 pm on Nov 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



We're just not the target demographic.


This is true. However I believe that users can figure out that none of the results matched their *true intent* What do they do? Probably just leave to another search engine or worse, try about 10 more times. Yes Google has data and lots of it, so they can probably spot this happening however I don't think they can or will admit to the reason why. People want to feel they are in 'control', and its getting harder for Google to hide the fact they are taking away 'control'. So I believe more examples like my post will start to show up and its going to be interesting to see how well users fare with Google moving towards:

I actually think most people donít want Google to answer their questions, they want Google to tell them what they should be doing next.