Google Web Search Is Starting To Suck

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.

Using Google's "Verbatim" Option

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.

That’s all.

No big.

Categories: Rants

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7 replies »

  1. I, too, think Google has stopped caring about providing the best possible web search results and find a lack of focus and consistency (on so many levels) increasingly frustrating. A friend and I were discussing the state of google SERPs yesterday afternoon and wondering if it’s nearly prime time for DuckDuckGo or Bing or a whole new player to step in and ramp it up and take over the general web search market share by concentrating on search.

  2. Google search started to suck a long time ago. They don’t care about search, and haven’t since the mid 0’s I reckon. If you think it thru, if they are good at search, you get what you want, and leave. No money for big G. if you don’t find what you want, you’re more likely to look at ads, and that makes their money. So it’s a basic paradox for them. Secondly, the emphasis has moved away from the traditional site/page concept and more towards social media. Google has never understood social media because it listens to its engineers, not end users. It can’t create the walled garden that Facebook can, and the only reason that G isn’t already crashing and burning is because Facebook is even worse at search than Google.

  3. I love the author’s sarcasm that getting poor search results for the un-walled internet is no biggie. I’ve written about this same issue, Google intentionally degrading web search & more in my piece entitled. “HOW TO SEARCH THE INTERNET PLUS GOOGLE’S EVIL POLITICS AND CONTROL OF THE WORLD’S KNOWLEDGE – A VERY BRIEF INTRODUCTION.” It’s a blog post at my website: http://www.WhatNewsShouldBe.org Here is a direct link to this piece:

  4. That’s what happens when a capitalist marketing company is in control of things. It’s all about making more money instead of providing actual, useful information. Pardon my French, but fuck Google.

  5. I think it’s getting worse and worse. It has been since 2011. In 2011 everyone cared about the internet. All of the best forum posts, information, and overall content entered the scene. And then something happened and everyone flocked to social sites almost exclusively. So now, the only time search is useful is if you want information on random facts, or if you’re looking for an emotionally charged article that’s relevant to 2015-16.

    If you try to search anything that’s not a hot topic or random information, you get results that only resemble the words in your search. Like the most recent example I have is when I tried to search “concussion hurts to think”. I got results where the cached messages were along the lines of “The type of brain injury called a CONCUSSION has many symptoms. ….. And to top things off my head HURTS bad, I can’t sleep, my vision is messed up and the kid who did it was only ….. I THINK my headache will go away”

    It has nothing to do with the idea behind what I searched. It only looks for words. Which is frustratingly stupid. I used to like search cause you could use phrases to find what you want. Now the only way to do a phrase is to use quotes and that’s just as useless cause no one writes “concussion hurts to think” and “It hurts to think because of my concussion” is way too specific to get a variety of results.

    What I want to know is if that is a normal reaction to concussions, which I think is pretty obvious. And it was one of the highly typed in searches so it’s something that SHOULD come up with results, but Google doesn’t care. And Bing is like Google’s lesser mimic, so it’s results tend to be depressingly similar. Clearly the general focus is on different things, and the people who want to use google for useful information because they don’t have money to talk to doctors, or any knowledgeable people in their lives (who seem to be in the minority, cause as far as I know I’m the only person with this particular complaint) are s-o-l.

Whaddaya think?

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