Mahmoud Al-Qudsi at NeoSmart notes that Google search is kind of starting to suck. “As most people are aware, Google search results are constantly changing and evolving. In the past couple of years, there has been a conscious and very deliberate shift – and not just by Google – to go from showing you what you want to see to showing you what they want you to see…. in the past week or so, I’ve personally picked up on a rather annoying and dramatic uptick in incidences of Google’s penchant for – much like a three year old – understanding perfectly-well what it is that you want and pointedly doing anything but that.”
Personally I think Google has stopped caring that much about Web search; that’s the only reason I can imagine that the YouTube search function has been so horrible for years and years. (Facebook and YouTube are at the top of the video game – a media type that is supposed to explode in popularity in the next few years – and search on both properties stinks. Yay.)
As Mr. Al-Qudsi notes, Google has started removing words from search queries and putting “Missing: Search Term” under individual results. This is annoying. You can fix it by clicking on Search Tools under the search box, and then click on the All results option. You’ll have the option to choose All Results or Verbatim. Choosing Verbatim will, as far as I can test, eliminate the missing-word search results. If you’d rather hack the URL, I tested adding &tbs=li:1 and that seemed to invoke verbatim search results as well.
Google has branched out from its beginnings in search to dozens and dozens of enterprises – robots, AI, health, etc. And let’s face it: self-driving cars are a lot sexier and get a lot more media attention than a search engine for the content of the Web. And what’s the big deal about a search engine for the Web, anyway? It’s only essential for finding the content of the open Web, as more and more attempts at “walled gardens” like Facebook keep coming forward. It’s only critical for discovery of content by those publishers who refuse to give in to those walled gardens.