What is it that causes some people to be so ignorant of the usefulness of an internet search, even after being shown repeatedly how easy it is to find exactly what they’re looking for? I’m not even referring specifically to questions posted to this board, though there are a hell of a lot of them here that make you wonder the same thing. It’s not 1998 anymore, isn’t google now even in the dictionary as a verb? So many people I know either never even think to try, or just give up after one attempt using the vaguest search terms. What particularly bugs me is people desperately looking for the name of a song that they know the lyrics to.Most people have no idea that putting some lyrics in quotes will give them their song title instantly, every time? Most people don’t even understand the concept of using quotes, let alone the power of it. I really don’t want to shame people here, but really, someone requesting a synopsis to a shakespeare play? Is it because they really don’t know how to find it? or just looking for some idle comunication maybe? i don’t know. I think a good step to fighting ignorance is somehow getting millions of people to go from “Gee I wish I knew that, but I don’t, oh well” to “Gee I wish I knew that, and in 10 seconds I will”

I had to tell a Manager how to get to Google and use it just a couple months ago. :eek:

I tried to show my Mom how to use Google, but she said she couldn’t be bothered; if she needed to look something up, she would go to the library. I think deep inside she thinks a computer is nothing more than a TV in disguise, and therefore a an evil waster of time that is to be avoided unless absolutely necessary. Mom is 86.

It’s not so easy to find what you are looking for IMHO. Perhaps I don’t optimize my searches as well as everyone else, but it takes quite a bit of sifting through irrelevant garbage for me to find the thing I’m after, and even then I often still can’t find it. It’s at its worst when the search terms involve common words.

Bootis, I think you and I are in the same predicament. I have friends – internet savvy friends, who are hip to lolcats and Rickrollin’ and all your base and the series of tubes – who still shoot me an e-mail from time to time asking me to flex my Google-fu. Some people (you, me, probably a fair number of Dopers) have what I think of as “machine empathy”: we understand what the machine wants us to ask so that we will get the answer we’re looking for.

Until I sat down and watched my wife, my dad, and a few other folks sort of haplessly flail at Google, I never really understood how bizarre of a skill it is. If you don’t have Google-fu, then it looks like magic when someone can type in three words and then hit TAB-TAB-SPACE (I’m feeling lucky) and have the exact result appear.

I’m the one who requested the synopsis to the Shakespeare play. I don’t recall who said this, but, not so long ago, a poster said something to the effect that, although there are, indeed, many ways to find the answers to your questions, it’s much more enjoyable and entertaining when posed to real people. I happen to agree completely with this. The first 2 responses I got re: Othello were links to Wikipedia, which did give me exactly what I was looking for; however, the posts that followed were educational and clever and offered insights and personal reflections.

Sure, you can google or wiki for a Bloody Mary Recipe…but isn’t it more interesting to see loads of people chiming in on their own little tweaks or their “Best” recipes.

Sheesh. How boring would it be if we all just googled.

I enjoy it (most of the time at least) when someone asks me to look something up on Google (or, quite often, Snopes). Then I feel useful, and I like feeling useful.

Ahh, sorry to single you out, the guilty party I was mostly referring to are those who do nothing or quit after 1 try, throw up their hands and say oh well. But, since this -is- the pit, and you did “Sheesh” me… I agree with your logic about getting interesting insight, but I don’t believe you- you requested the thread to close immediately after getting a googled link. Therefore, you ARE one of the accused!!!

Not to speak for anyone, but personally, when I am on the net I am usually on the dope and I think to myself, as long as I am here…

Google would require a new tab or window and I do not have that magical google-fu. It can be frustrating.

The problem with people understanding search engines (and this perception is largely due to poor early attempts by altavista and askJeeves) is that Google and other search engines are not there to answer questions.

They are there to match text. So the trick to beginning to develop good Google-Fu is not to think about the question you want answered, but to think about the words and phrases the answer is likely to contain.

I remember using Webcrawler, Hotbot, Yahoo! Altavista…heck, now there’s the Microsoft search. I don’t like any of them. I get much better, more accurate returns from Google.

But I have noticed a lot of people, even people who are otherwise net-savvy, who just don’t get the whole Google (or web search program in general) thing. I amaze them. And I have no idea why.

Dogpile is better than Google. There I said it.

OK, sometimes better.

(because it incorporates a Google search, plus some others).

I know they have to be there and everything, but I’m getting tired of the stupid adverts that appear no matter what I type in; search for “catamaran rhubarb detergent” and you’ll be told “Buy catamaran rhubarb detergent on eBay”, “compare best prices for catamaran rhubarb detergent”, “100’s of great deals on catamaran rhubarb detergent - click here!”.


When I’m searching for something, I always try to think “if I were writing an article on this, how would I phrase it”… then chuck those terms in.

My theory is that googling something gives an impersonal answer, and asking a real human being gives a personal answer.

I am fully aware of the powers of google, yet during my temporary stint in an IT department I preffered to ask the IT manager because a) I presumed his knowlege of our own systems would outclass anything general returned by google, and b) I guess I subconsciously prefered to get the personal touch from the answer. A real human being hearing my question and answering it not only with the facts, but probably knowing why I asked and therefore adding some customization to the answer to aid my understanding.

I have no problem with people that want interesting, diverse answers.

I DO have a problem with people who are just too damn lazy to do the research themselves. And they are out there.

Not that I usually ask for questions I can find, but sometimes Google just sucks. I’m also finding that a lot of search engines are starting to do the same thing. I’ve tried looking for a name, my name, and even with quotes I get shit like - and ; and all sorts of other crap inbetween the two names. I didn’t ask for symbols so stop putting it in there.

Hell a couple of weeks ago I was looking for someone names Joanne, fucking google cut it to Jo. I didn’t ask for Jo, I asked for Joanne. Ebay has gotten into the act too. I used to look for Golden Earring stuff, now it’s a pain in the ass as it adds earrings and a ton more items.

I still fail to see why when I’m looking for something it always wants to change what I’m looking for. While that might be nice, don’t fucking do it on the first page. Usually the stuff I’m looking for comes pages away, even though had it done as I asked it would have put it on the first page.

That one pisses me off too. For the search engine to assume something about my search. Dammit! I told you exactly what I want. So either cough it up or tell me you’ve got no results and I’ll try something different.

If I want dry information, I’ll Google. If I want opinions, ideas, the name of a movie I saw 30 years ago and can almost remember the plot, it’s to the Dopers.