Monday, March 21, 2011

Autumn 2010 - When Google jumped the shark

I cannot express the depths of my dismay at the "Search instead for..." misfeature that Google has added to search. From the dates of the earliest cries of communal pain on the web, this feature appeared around September 2010.

I am not the only angry customer. Google forums include multiple vigorous discussions of this topic.

TimInBC writes:
I agree, this is annoying, and not because I am promoting a site. I want to FIND stuff, and when I tell it to search for "Orangerie" I don't want it auto-corrected to "Orangutan" or anything else. I am a very good speller and I don't need Google to help me. Please give us a preference to say "Search for exactly what I tell you to search for".

Alensha comments:
It would be really good if this feature was optional instead of being forced on us. I encounter it every day, and it messes up my search results several times daily. Last time I was looking for the meaning of the name of the Egyptian god Atum and of the first 50 results 46 were about the name Autumn, explaining that it means, well, autumn. The "did you mean" function was mostly harmless, but _changing_ the word I typed to something else or filling the first ten pages of the search results with completely irrelevant results is annoying.

This problem seriously interrupts my work flow too. During my work day I run numerous web searches for information. Now that Google is broken, I often find myself concluding "Darn, there must not be any relevant information on this topic on the web." Then I notice that accursed, mocking, evil, cruel cancer of the web, "Search instead for ". The number of near misses convinces me that I must have actually been completely misled many times by Google's cruel practical joke.

Bing is the same way. Here's the deal: Bing, if you create a configuration option to never second guess my search terms, I promise to drop Google and use Bing for my searches. I recommend others make the same promise to Bing.