Why is Google Search horrible now?

I’m assuming there is a factual answer for this. If not this may be a GD.

I understand why they improved their searches to account for abbreviations so that looking for “Dr.” will also find sites using “Doctor” and vice-versa. The also will correct misspelled words so “vaccum” would trigger a search for “vacuum”. But the searches are getting ridiculous. First of all, it doesn’t use all of the terms in the search box unless you put a + next to it to tell Google, “Yes I’m sure I want to use that word that I put down” and it splits up a phrase surrounded in quotes so “terminal velocity” gives sites with terminal and velocity anywhere in it. The misspelling function changes the word completely, especially with names so if I want to find someone with the name Cheryl, it insists I really want to look up Sharon too. I was looking up: mystery diners fake to find allegations that the new show “Mystery Diners” is scripted. You would not believe how many sites about mystery shoppers came up.

So why is it that Google has decided to make searches that go far beyond what we are looking for?

In my whole first page of hits for mystery diners fake, every result is related to that show. Maybe it has to do with your location or something, but it’s working fine for me.

Do the same search and look on page 2.

I switched to Bing because I no longer am impressed with Google.

Ok, so by page 2 you start getting “mystery shopper” instead of “mystery diner”, but you can fix that problem by putting quotes around mystery diner.

I agree Google has gotten a little worse, returning crappier results higher in the list, but so far I still think it works, especially if you use quotes and such.

I would have to agree, but what I dislike is that now every search results, the top 3 results will be paid adds. And I have yet to figure out how to opt out of this: info from Google,

Opt out
If you don’t want to see personalized ads from Google, you can opt out at any time.
What it means to opt out

After opting out, you’ll still see relevant ads, but Google won’t use additional information to personalize those ads on Google search and Gmail.

The opt out setting doesn’t apply to ads on other websites, which can be managed on the Ads on the web tab of this page.

By opting out, you’ll no longer be able to block specific advertisers and your block list will be deleted.
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Back before Google, search engines like Excite used to treat what you entered into the search box pretty literally.

The first time I tried Google Search Beta (which will give you an idea how early on this was), I entered ‘Nadiuska’ as the search term and got back results for ‘Late Night with Conan O’Brien’, which was a pretty amazing leap of inference (Nadiuska played Conan the Barbarian’s mother in the film, so Google’s processing linked Conan-the-movie with Conan-the-late-night-host)*. This was long, long before “sponsored results” (ads).

Back then, they had an “unhappy with your results?” link which let you comment on an issue and it was actually looked at by a real human, and you’d get a personal response most of the time. When I saw people were using tricks to get higher up in the search results, I’d report them and the algorithm would be changed.

Somewhat later, that link disappeared and Google had grown enough that they no longer accepted input from outsiders. Occasionally they do something that sets off enough people that they end up reverting it - the “+” character for “I really only want results that include this term” started saying “you don’t need that, it’s magic” and popular revolt got the “+” reinstated.

Part of this is likely an honest attempt to help users find what they’re looking for, by looking at root words, trying plurals, etc. The problem is that users familiar with older search engines know exactly what they want and how to convey that info to the search engine. For example, Google ignores punctuation - if you wanted to look for an exact string of “WD-3ANQ-5” (made up) for example, Google would give you lots of useless hits. Before DEC divested AltaVista, they were one of the last engines that would truly process literal input.

It would be nice to have a Google search settings box for “I know what I’m doing - don’t help me”. Unfortunately, I think that a bunch of the processing going on happens when Google crawls and digests pages, not when you initiate a search.

For truly surreal interpretation of search queries these days, you can use inference engines like http://www.wolframalpha.com or http://www.TrueKnowledge.com

I started getting disgusted with google months, perhaps a year ago and switched to DuckDuckGo. I have not been disappointed.

The worsening of Google’s search is something that is regularly discussed here.

One thing I’ve used lately that helps is adding the “Yes, really” userscript to get slightly more verbatim results.

Should work with Firefox and possibly all other modern browsers. I use it with Opera.

Remember, it’s not Google’s goal to make sophisticated users happy, they are making money off the naive people. That’s their target demo.

What. The everloving fuck?

That is all.

As to the OP, having looked at all those searches it looks like the problems you’re talking about start after google has exhausted all the more directly relevant hits.

I’m not getting any ads. Can you give me an example to search for?

Thanks! I’ve been using that this morning and I’m going to keep trying it out. So far, so very good.

Thanks for the link to DuckDuckGo. I have also been disappointed in Google Search. It seems to ignore what I ask for. If I put something in quotes, it means I want the words to stay together! Why won’t it believe me?

I’m also puzzled about the comments here. I put mystery diners fake into Google and got a page with hits for the show Mystery Diners on top and hits on mystery shoppers mixed in lower down. When I added quotes to “Mystery Diners” the word shoppers doesn’t appear until hit #66 and a total of four appear in the first 100. There is not a single ad-based link either time.

What can you possibly be doing to get results like yours?

The question is why is it giving me ANY results with “shopper” replacing “diners”? If I wanted to look up mystery shoppers, I would have done something really stupid and searched for “mystery shoppers”

I imagine their research has shown that there are enough cases where people aren’t really sure what the best search term to use so that it’s worthwhile showing other popular related search results.

Maybe it’s because the description of the show *Mystery Diners *is:

I’d say that gives Google a great reason to return results with “shopper” in them.

And everybody else, since I found that on Duckduckgo.

On a related issue, Google only returns results in “my languages”, English first. This is nice, but I am limited to five “my languages” and sometimes I want pages in another language (or one Google doesn’t list as a possibility, like Cornish). Plus, not all pages have their language tagged correctly.

All I want is a “please stop trying to help, Google” button.

It showed you all the most relevant ones. Then it went on to show you (several pages later) less relevant ones which still might be helpful.

You have the privilege of filtering out the less helpful stuff by stopping once you hit “shopper” links.

It’s the Verbatim tool.