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View Full Version : Is the Google search engine getting worse?


control-z
11-25-2008, 02:24 PM
Google has been a teriffic search engine. But I keep getting the impression with feature creep and more liberal search results that they're becoming less effective as a search engine.

For example, they have now added "Promote" and "Remove" buttons to every search result. Now the page of search results isn't so clean, those buttons are very distracting, at least to me.

If I search for 'run' google might also helpfully give me results with 'running' in them. I do know if you put "run" in quotes it will do an exact search, but many people may not know that.

I also did this search: renter's rights virginia outbuilding

See if you can find the word outbuilding in any of the first several search results (except, the PDF, I didn't bother with it.) I can't! Not even the cached copy. So what's the deal with that?

So the question as stated in the subject, is Google as a search engine getting worse?

Gus Gusterson
11-25-2008, 02:36 PM
I've (anecdotally, of course) noticed a downward trend in the accuracy of Google's results. It used to be that what I wanted was almost always in the top ten results. Now I often have to try my search several times with different terms before I find what I'm looking for. Perhaps Google is losing the fight against the search engine optimizers. There are a lot of people who do nothing but figure out how to outwit Google and get their customers' sites to land at the top of the search results.

ZipperJJ
11-25-2008, 02:41 PM
Yeah I agree with Gus. I don't think it's Google that sucks I think they're just fighting a losing battle.

I have a friend who works for Google and his job, as he puts it, is "Internet Janitor." I'm pretty sure what he does is make sure that the bad shit gets removed. I assume he's a part of a team and he makes a good wage doing this.

Conversely, I know people make living wages doing the opposite - putting crap on the Internet trying to get it INTO Google.

So as long as both sides keep making money, it's going to be a stalemate. The new buttons are there for, I assume, Google trying to leverage the power of Joe Searcher into helping their cleanup efforts.

I don't think it will end pretty.

Bayard
11-25-2008, 02:53 PM
I'm not seeing the "Promote" and "Remove" buttons, at least on my work PC. Is this a preference, or is it not showing up because I'm using IE 6 or something?

ETA: Never mind. It only works when you're logged in.

control-z
11-25-2008, 03:02 PM
That's good to know, I'll just log out....arg, except that will log me out of Gmail too. See they have you by the balls now. Maybe they'll make a setting to disable those buttons.

Purgatory Creek
11-25-2008, 03:27 PM
I use Google search scores of times a day when I'm working to look up medical procedures, equipment, tests, and whatever it is that doctor is mumbling while he eats his muffin, and I think it is getting much less useful as time goes on. There's so much crap to wade through before I can find the real content that I usually use one of my alternate sources and only google stuff if that doesn't work. For instance, if I want to find out the spelling of a hospital in Biloxi, I have to page through multiple "city data" sites before I get to any actual information, and a similar thing happens when searching on physician names.

Eventually finding the actual information within the "information" will make me look for another search engine, I think, but I'll stick with Google for their other services.

control-z
11-25-2008, 03:32 PM
All the crap pages existing isn't Google's fault, but of course they should try and keep the good listings higher on the list. I'm sure they work on that all the time. I saw a news story years ago and and it showed a big screen in a Google office, they watched the search terms flash by on the screen. I'm sure a lot of their efforts go towards making whatever inane search terms people enter produce good results. Effective searching is a skill.

What I have a problem with is them messing with your search words. Suggesting "Did you mean (whatever)" is very useful, but changing my search to get better/more results is not.

Roland Orzabal
11-25-2008, 03:55 PM
I don't know about the algorithm itself, but I do know that there are pages I used to be able to find using Google that it doesn't turn up anymore...but Yahoo does. Threw me for a loop the first time THAT happened, but now that I've started checking, it's occurred a few times since.

Nowadays, if I'm searching for something new (i.e., I don't have a specific site in mind), I'll use Google, but if I'm trying to find a certain page, Yahoo it is. How the mighty have fallen.*

*One person using a free service 50% less often than he used to counts as a fall, dammit.