G**gling useless

<rant>

Google are definitely “going Altavista” on us technical users. Their search results are becoming increasingly annoying and useless for technical queries. Some time back they changed searches so that broad match was the default. Now, even quoting search results to force exact match doesn’t seem to help. Google Instant could do with being taken outside and put out of its misery.

I remember Altavista going down the tubes.

Anyone wanna start a new search engine? I hear there’s money to be made …

</rant>

11 Comments

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11 responses to “G**gling useless

  1. Gabriel

    Adding a “plus” (+) before keywords stil helps. But you are right, things have changed: I have to do it far more often than in the past.

  2. So, Google, how’s the business going?

    “Well, we just launched our own netbook-based OS, we’re starting to dominate the phone OS market, the ad business is booming, and we’re working hard on tablets. As you know, both of our free and commercial e-mail services are growing, Youtube is more popular than ever; we just launched a not-a-Facebook-competitor social network, and we’re also making headway into the cloud office suite business, and more people than ever are putting photos on our network…”

    So, what about your search business…?

    “Wait…we’re still doing search?”

  3. I completely agree.
    We need a firefox extension to modify the search on submit until your search engine is done.

  4. Ben

    Yeah, sent a few feedback messages to them (one about having to quote certain terms, and another about something else that I can’t remember off the top of my head), but I doubt they’ll revert to the old behavior.

    I’d be interested in a new search engine–one like the old(er) google; good and simple. Good, meaning relevant results and logical handling of queries. Simple, meaning (little or) no javascript, and a subtle theme (with possibly (some) alternative dark or mid-gray themes).

    I could belt out something in HTML/CSS, just as a start, but I know nothing about search engines and their internals.

    • Ben

      Here, made this last night (…I think): http://goo.gl/lbvx3

      The $-variables would be replaced either server-side or via javascript. The results would be generated and their format would be determined by a template in the templates folder. I made three styles–bright, dark, and medium; the rounded corners are firefox-specific. That can be fixed, but it’s not a big deal. Still need to figure out how to make the expanded description visible when javascript is unavailable.

      The style is pretty generic, since I don’t have a name or anything to go by. Since I don’t know what back-end you had in mind, I haven’t coded any of that either (I messed around with PHP a while back, but I’d need to brush up. I know some Python too, but haven’t used it in a web/server environment before). I don’t know how to go about choosing a crawler/indexer, either. It’ll be interesting if we do it, that’s for sure.

  5. Shawn Lower

    My sentiments *exactly*. It was Google’s attitude of respect for their technical users that attracted and kept me in the first place.

    Maybe check out DuckDuckGo (ddg.gg)?

  6. bochecha

    I find DuckDuckGo to be excellent, both for regular and technical queries.

    For example, if I’m searching for some documentation on the os Python module, I could search for “python os”, and I would find it.

    But DuckDuckGo is better than Google on one front: it acknowledges that it can’t be perfect all the time.

    As a consequence it offers some nice features that take that into account:
    – try searching for “!python os” instead, and DDG will redirect you to the result page of the search for “os” in the python.org documentation.
    – try searching for “!youtube cat playing keyboard” and it will redirect you to the result page of the search for “cat playing keyboard” in youtube.com.

    That’s the “bang” searches, you can find out more there:
    http://duckduckgo.com/bang.html

    And when you search for something without bangs, and don’t find a lot of results, DDG will offer you links to run the same query in Google, Bong or others, only one click away.

    Those two (and the fact that DDG proudly announce that they don’t track or bubble us) are the features that made me switch from Google without looking back.

    • Don’t forget zero-click info – if a Stack Overflow/StackExchange answer, Wikipedia article paragraph, or other useful info source matches your query sufficiently well, DDG will display it at the top of the search results with a link to see more.

  7. You can take a look at seeks, the idea is to have a decentralized search engine.

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