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Rob Beschizza at 7:20 am Wed, Oct 26, 2011
Years ago they removed the wildcard functionality in their searches. I used to use that every day, and now Google is useless to me for certain kinds of searches. I don’t know why a search company would do something that only serves to make their searches demonstrably worse.
My guess is that they are doing that because the + character was messing up whatever automated systems they use to profile build on you and your search results, which is why the wildcard was axed too – they want to be able to create specific targeted ad feeds for you, and it is hard to do that when you can add buckets of information to your profile every time you search. They _Want_ you picking through the straw so they can figure out what you are looking for,
Awesome, does that mean Google has to look at my ads as I do their work for them?
Can we have the + back in the search engine? Googles + is currently wandering around the social network like an autistic superhero. It’s not going as well as he thinks.
Bring the + HOME!
They probably removed wildcards because it makes their searches demonstrably faster as well as demonstrably worse.
worse for their sponsored links. Google maps has ALSO been stinking the place up for the last few months.
What’s up, Google?
This along with the gutting of Google Reader– which I sincerely hope doesn’t happen– is really giving me a sour taste in my mouth.
When did they stop including cached results?
Regarding cached results: they are still available…
You have to hover over the link now, and a >> arrow appears on the right. Move the mouse over that and it brings up the “cached” and “similar” links and a rather pointless preview of the page.
Google has been continually downgrading their service these days.
They’ve made it harder and harder to turn off auto complete, which is just the most annoying “feature” I’ve ever seen. It was fine when it was just suggestions, but for it to actually begin the search when you’ve only typed a few letters… and then if you hit the wrong key…and then if you’re trying to convert between character sets…
Anyway, hello Bing!
absolutely! Autocomplete is a great OPTION
my guess is that this is a trade off for autocomplete. autocomplete is generating a lot of queries to populate that page as you type and those queries are way more resource intensive with the +, etc.
And while we’re all having a good moan, there’s something else that’s been bugging me for a few weeks. It really seems like Google hardly accepts any queries I give it, and says “No, I think you meant to search for such-and-such instead”.
Which is especially insulting because if it’s learnt anything about me, it should know I’m practically the Jesus of precision typing.
I’ve taken to logging out before searching. It seems to help.
It really seems like Google hardly accepts any queries I give it, and says “No, I think you meant to search for such-and-such instead”.
Oddly, no matter what I type, it always tries to add ‘shirtless’ to the end of my query.
I find the preview is useful (when I remember to use it). Some spam/SEO pages are good enough at getting meaningful text into their one-line text preview that I’m fooled into clicking on the stuff. The image preview gives them away though.
Of course it would be better if they just didn’t turn up at all, but some of the stuff is borderline legit content (expert-sexchange and its ilk, e.g.)
Argh, I’d noticed that it didn’t seem to be working but it hadn’t really registered. Fucking irritating.
I MEANT to search for GoodNES, dammit.
Google stopped using “and” by default in 2009? I knew _something_ was happening to my searches, and I thought that it was related to “and”, but I wasn’t sure exactly when it started or whether that was the extent of it.
Duckduckgo has been my default for a year now. Much less aggravating.
Google search have been increasingly less useful. The way Microsoft became the new IBM, Google is becoming the new AltaVista. Useless.
I didn’t realize google had stopped using “and,” but I knew my searches weren’t working anymore. The number of times I’d click on a link and it would not contain the search term anywhere on the page was astounding. Bing hasn’t really worked for me either; though I like the pictures, that’s not why I would go there. I’m going to try duckduckgo.
This article is sort of technically correct, but it’s badly confused, borderline trolling really.
Obviously they still use “and” because a search engine that doesn’t do that is not just bad, but simply broken.
They do however ignore a lot of words, and “correct” others, because experience has shown overwhelmingly that when people type “waht’s the best widget?” into Google, they’re not actually literally asking for pages containing that phrase.
Prefacing a word with ‘+’ used to force Google to search for that word specifically rather than trying to be smart, but now it doesn’t.
Instead, doing so prompts Google to inform you that the mechanism for doing that has changed to be consistent with the existing method of specifying an exact phrase search, which is to surround it in quotation marks.
There’s really no story here.
I’ve been trying to find my old posts on “site:boingboing.net” like I used to be able to do and I’ve found far less results than I used to. I’ve been wondering if it has more to do with censorship via Google than anything else.
Google is evil. We all know that now. I wonder how long before more and more of us find that we are “erased” from the Internet if we say things Google and their corporatist buddies don’t like?
Either way, for whatever reason it’s happening, I’ve markedly noticed how Google search results are becoming worse and worse.
The sad thing is Google is garnering tremendously better results than AltaVista (yahoo) and Bing for my posts on boingboing.net, so once Google gets rid of everything, they will all be gone forever, I suppose.
I hope that boingboing looks into this and begins to question who should to power their search or maybe use their own search system instead.
I suspect google is having hubris problems and not rotten core problems. But they’re never far behind, are they?
I hope you’re right. I’m tempted to script something up that automatically archives every post I make and I’ll just use Spotlight searching via my Mac to pull up the text and links at later dates. Google just can’t be relied on any more I guess.
Appending &nfpr=1 to the query string stops Google from autocorrecting your search, instead presenting you with the “did you mean…?” link that used to be the default (when it thinks you made a mistake). That, together with quoting each word separately, does indeed get you something similar to the old behaviour.
http://finderr.org does that (disclaimer: I made it).
The FUD is strong in this one. As google states itself if you try to use ‘+’, it has been replaced by putting the ‘forced’ term within double quotes. So ‘boingboing +fud’ would become ‘boingboing “fud” ‘.
While I understand that it’s confusing, they aren’t diminishing their functionality as everyone is so quick to conclude.
That’s right; the + operator was already weak and (mostly) replaceable by quoting all words individually (which is a little harder to type, though).
The real issue in my opinion is that around two years ago Google started changing their algorithms to what they think serves the majority better, even when doing so meant that getting specialized results became harder. And there’s really no (built-in) easy way around this. Try having to quote each and every word in multiple five to ten words queries and see how long does it take until it starts getting to you.
Tech workers are perhaps worse hit by this (I’m a sysadmin, so I may be biased), as when searching for technical stuff dropping a single word from a carefully crafted query may make the results worthless.
Here’s another thought: what if, by making its search too “smart”, Google starts shaping our world of knowledge a little too much? Making uncommon queries hard or even impossible seems a step in that direction. There’s a thread on Google’s search support site about a query about a semi-well-known physician that doesn’t return hits about him because his name is too similar to Stephen Hawking, the physicist, and by far the physicist is the more sought after.
They’re not removing functionality per se, but convenience. Google was quick. Google is now slow. There’s an incredible amount of clicking required now. I’m aware that there are new keyboard shortcuts, but people who’ve been using the browser’s shortcuts for years shouldn’t be punished for that. I still get caught out by fucking backspace. Of course they’re not going away and their results are still reliable, but they’re really shunning their traditional “power users”.
google did not remove the “+” feature silently - I used to use the “+” feature all the time, at least once a day – and the first time I used that feature after it had been “silently” removed, google went and told me to not use the “+” feature any more – and told me to use double quotes to search for the exact phrase
I’ve moved on to DuckDuckGo as well. Still use Google Reader and Gmail (through Apps), but since I have my own domain, I can switch at any time if they start demanding more data than I’m willing to give or requiring G+ profiles.
By the way, for those who use Firefox and would like to change the Location bar search engine to DDG (as opposed to changing only the Search bar), you need to follow the steps explained here: http://kb.mozillazine.org/Keyword.URL#Replacing_Google_with_other_search_engines_for_location_bar_search
They probably removed the “+” functionality because it collides with the Google+ or G+ naming… well played google: naming one of your services with a symbol that already has so many uses on the net, and is also not accepted in file names etc… REALLY SMART!
But google search has always been flawed in many respects: try searching for something that contains the EXACT STRING: “20-10″ if you can…
Crap. One of the things I liked best about Google initially was that it took your search seriously. Once upon a time, using “+” was unnecessary: it would *only* show you search terms with all of your keywords included. Eventually I found out those days had gone, and went back to using “+”. If this symbol is now simply ignored, I no longer have any way of searching with precision; not on Google, anyway… and even less than with AltaVista back when I switched. Google’s better at giving me a good distribution of results than AltaVista did, but that’s no excuse for making the product less usable.
I’ve been through this cycle of suck a couple times. I had hoped that it had ended, but after ten-ish years, I feel like I’m seeing the writing on the wall. I’m definitely on the lookout for the next company to take me at my word for what it is I’m looking for, and to provide quality results.