What is even worse than this - and this is pretty bad already - is that terms are no longer included by default.
Google will leave out terms you are searching for, if it so chooses, unless you purposely put the plus (or now quotes).
The engineers are not in control, it's pretty darn obvious.
added: Doesn't the use of quotes prevent stemming? Didn't plus allow stemming?
As a software engineer, I take offense at that. This is precisely the right decision to make if you observe that this is how your customers are using your product. You don't need a product guy to tell you that.
This is what customers remember and do? I highly doubt that.
Or are they trying to reserve the plus now for another feature in the future?
And this behavior is what provoked the statement that the engineers are no longer in control- branding trumping usability.
I can't believe it's been almost 10 years of using Google. Default search changed to Bing on all Laptops. I'm done. Fuck Google.
I'm not sure how to go about the log configuration. If the users prefer it I can just disable logging altogether, although I'd prefer keeping some information (not IPs) at least for a single day so I can get basic usage statistics. I promise not to do anything evil with the little information I may get in any case.
Also: don't only promise! Put privacy page right there and explain what you explained here (maybe even in greater details, people love transparency), so every user we'll be able to obtain same information.
I agree that an extension may be better, although this may come handy when you're not using your computer or main browser.
Additionally, they run their own crawler so it's not just rehashing Bing results, etc.
I have the impression that Google likes to collect data. If you are indeed interested in fixing the recent quality dip of your search product, example queries where plus (now quotes) are necessary can be automatically collected by inspecting all searches where quotes are included.
If these are too many, filter by those that had a recent similar search without quotes. I doubt this is necessary, though. Who puts quotes in their search string the first time?
If I worked at Google, I'd be interested in the growth of use of the plus-operator lately. It has become a necessity for nearly all technical searches I do. Make a chart of it. Show it to the people in charge of this recent trend. Google search has seriously gotten worse. Forcing quotes instead of plus highlights this problem because it's twice the work.
I needed `+pyinotify` on this one to get the results I requested. I've come across this problem with quite a few other python packages but I can't recall them at the moment.:
Search: pyinotify thread
Result: Aggressive correction; wrong
`Showing results for inotify thread. Search instead for pyinotify thread`
Search: win 7 processor not +downclocking -gpu
Result: bad autocorrect
Showing results for win 7 processor not +downclocking -cpu.
Search instead for win 7 processor not +downclocking -gpu.
An example for you: "libtelldus no symbols" gives me three absolutely unrelated results for my top hits, confusing me enough not to register the following five related hits.
- "isomac logo kerning" (w/o quotes). I wanted to know if someone had specifically written about the kerning of the logo for the company ISOMAC (it's horrible, by the way). I got a very general search for "logo kerning" instead -- I had to put "isomac" in quotes.
- "hvordan bli kvitt olje" (w/o quotes, in Norwegian). The three first words are "how to get rid of" and the last one is "oil". Again, I got a very general search for how to get rid of stuff -- oil was omitted. (I rarely search in Norwegian, so this isn't a big one, but it shows the same pattern)
I want to search for Ubuntu's go-compiler package.
But if I search for "go-compiler" (with or without quotes) I get a bunch of hits for "Go compiler", with my dash turned into a space. That's a bunch of hits I don't want, and now I have to go wading. None of the top 10 hits are about what I asked for.
To me, the + operator meant "I know what I'm doing and please turn off the fuzzy help".
So how does one turn off fuzzy searching now?
Dammit, sometimes dashes have meaning.
Quite often I have to prefix every term with +. Quote-based syntax doubles annoyance of this pointless task.
Also, I know from considerable experience that the plus operator had a distinct meaning from the quotes operator so this change definitely implies that Google queries will be less fine-grained no matter what quotes means now.
Yes, Google is worse and worse for anything technical.
Not an alternative, but BlindSearch (http://blindsearch.fejus.com/) is interesting.
I intend to give it a shot. Seems there's some reasonably powerful query syntax: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff795667.aspx.
Some of those other operators look promising, though. I'll have to try them out.
It doesn't work with Google Instant enabled.
May need improvements!
I am so tired of this. I do mistakes (after all errare humanum est), but I do it rarely, yet I am enforced to use quotes practically all the time (I am doing it since many months at least, don't remember exact moment, but I think in 2010 there wasn't automatic I-know-better, but only suggestions, correct me if I'm wrong, please). It's such a PITA. Is there maybe some secret search switch that can be used (and turned on in Chrome by default hopefully) to allow me avoiding typing quotation marks (") more than many hundreds times a day. And I still unconsciously always write without them for the first time, and, surprisingly, sometimes get correct results when the terms are ultimately known by everyone.
Before Google only suggested what I am possibly searching for. Why it is so sure now (i.e. this year) to make my original queries second-class citizens? Unbelievable and abominable poise.
I agree, it is incredibly annoying.
I touch type and I know how to spell.
I rarely make typing mistakes, and when I do make a typing mistake, I see and notice it because i'm staring at the freaking screen.
(Conversely, when I don't make a typing mistake, and Google randomly changes my search, I don't notice, because I didn't do anything).
Particularly when you are searching for something and google changes it to an off by one that looks similar. For example, today i was trying to find libbcrypt, but Google kept changing the result to libgcrypt, which is not what I wanted, but they look similar enough that I clicked through some irrelevant results before I noticed.
Searches that would have taken one attempt, if Google had done what I told it to, now regularly take at least 2 searches.
Google needs to introduce a www.google.com/adv interface that doesn't respond, "I think you meant salt water, Dave," when you query for [sat water].
When you search google for a small phrase, for example, oauth authorization:
search query: oauth authorization
About 525,000 results
search query: oauth "authorization"
About 1,470,000 results
How does the result not only increase, but increase nearly three-fold?
I've always thought the quotes were meant to be more exact. For example, if you search for Web Design without the quotes, you will find results including web design and website design, but if you search for "Web Design" with the quotes, you will not find the entries that say "Website Design" so that reflects less results than the latter. So why am I seeing this oddity, does it make sense to anyone else?
Usually, the search phrase is hashed and the phrase sent to a backend server based on the hash. So 'oauth authorization' and 'oauth "authorization"' hash differently and get sent to different backend servers. These two calculate the 'number of results' figure differently, and hence you get the difference.
That is my guess at how you're seeing these numbers; I don't work for Google (but have some knowledge of another search engine).
Sorry, double quotes don't mean what they used to. We'll need to come up with something else for that.
At least "oauth authorization" seems to behave more normal.
oauth AROUND(3) authorization
Where do you find the fnlist + manpage? Is it possible to search for "foo <at most 3 words> bar"? Aka "around(3), but order matters".
oauth "authorization" looks for oauth, with "authorization" nearby, in the page.
So you will get more hits for the latter.
(Am obviously joking, but I agree with your sentiment that G+ integration does seem to be... going quickly; I can understand why from a business POV though)
It seems that this is just inviting ill will for no reason. At least if they did both at the same time, they would be able to say "But we did this other new thing instead! Isn't it neat?!"
It seems like recently Google has started to return more results which don't include some of my search terms. It gets really frustrating when trying to track down error messages.
People switched on the strength of that alone. Now they've gone to this deeply frustrating method of ignoring hard-to-find words in queries, and compounded it by making your actual search even harder to carry out. For marketing reasons. Brilliant.
Florin_Andrei refers to so called scare quotes. Wikipedia explains them as follows:
"Scare quotes are quotation marks placed around a word or phrase to indicate that it does not signify its literal or conventional meaning."
Raphael is obviously right here (but mind that sarcasm is only one of scare quotes examples). Let me quote (w/o scare) Wikipedia again:
"Use of the term "scare quotes" appears to have arisen at some point during the first half of the 20th century. Occurrence of the term in academic literature appears as early as the 1950s."
It's only about academic existence, but even considering real existence, it won't be much earlier.
For the first time since switching from Alta Vista to Google, I'm going to change search engines. Google has jumped the shark for me.
I could see such an engine having both a human readable output and a json output, suitable for chaining into some other analysis pipeline.
1st hit: Coffee Drinkers Have Slightly Lower Death Rates, Study Finds
2nd hit: Stieg Larsson's Death: Coffee Or Conspiracy?
The first one doesn't even have the phrase "death coffee" in the page! And in the second one it's split up with a colon in between (technically correct, but not a single phrase).
And only after that, come the expected results, where "death" is a modifier of "coffee" (coffee was so strong we called it "death coffee"), which is what you'd expect when you put a phrase in quotes, no?
Results I'm sure the old Google of a few years back would have presented me as first hits, too.
Ok Stieg Larsson is still the first hit, but as I said, it's technically correct. And now so are the rest of the results :D
BTW, to whoever made that Finderr.com page: It doesn't work quite correctly, if you search for `"death coffee"` it doubles the quotes. You probably need to re-think your query regex. Maybe you could modify it so that it includes the `allintext:` operator when you search for an exact phrase?
hacker.news == "hacker news"
Qualification: Ultimately, your customers define what "fucking" means with respect to your product.
Especially since if you do a search with "+", Google points out that's it's abolished but doesn't change your query for you (i.e. surely it'd also be good for usability to change [hacker +news] into [hacker "news"]?)
In the first link more is inexplicably bolded. Okay, maybe people sometimes confuse more and most, I'll try double quotes:
Basically the same result. Let's try plus:
Well that seems to work. I guess I'm not part of the A/B test. Any input? I think everyone needs non-fuzzy matching out of their search from time to time.
I hate this Google feature. It's getting worse and worse, making my searches increasingly fuzzy. And yes, that's occasionally helpful when I'm not sure what terms to use. But the vast majority of the time, what I type in the box is exactly what I want to find.
This just dumbmifies Google search a little more...
If you think from the current perspective many changes and constants we've seen or we're seeing now in the world (not only IT-related) were predictable, yet not everyone had courage to express them to others. You have to be careful when laughing at others views and ideas.
I mean, Wikipedia manages to run itself on donations only.
How hard would it be for, say Mozilla to launch a search service?
I just wrote that thing that I'm running on my localhost, so I can search google the "old" way. I made it as my default search engine in Chrome, so it's transparent. This will not suit everyone's needs, but I'd rather share it anyway.
Also, requiring the quotes is really painful on a mobile browser keyboard.
If you want me to quote a string, make it easy. Allow me to highlight the string and quote it with a single keystroke ", textmate-style.
yours faithfully etc
I hope that Google is not doing anything evil here, but the fact that all the words you searched must be in the resulting pages is a very good contract with the user from the point of view of transparency. But for default it is not in this way since long time.
Forcing "you" "to" "type" like that makes it even worse.
Despite all these left-handed actions, Google is still the best search engine and it rather won't change in upcoming future. The thing is while I criticize Google, I still use their search engine daily, gmail, reader, etc., because after all they have really useful products.
I am totally lost now.
Not counting on it though, after seeing what happened to code.google.com. If Bing or anyone else having decent web converage implements a proper search, I'll be all over it.
I'm personally going to give it and DDG a try over the next couple weeks, just in case either is currently significantly better for tech related searches.
So far Duck Duck Go is looking like a potential win.
So what DOES + mean now? double-quotes? quotes around individual words vs. phrases?
How do I now say I want to find an exact phrase, nothing between the words, no variations in spelling?
I always found it weird when I saw others using plus instead of spaces in their search queries. I always used double quotes to mark phrases to search for exactly.
I really want this +"exact phrase", and it must appear.
I appreciate that Google works better for regular users now. But I'm struggling to cope with Google's changing search techniques. Combined with content farms; link farms; lousy quality web pages in general; a weird amount of ads and other un-wanted content (youtube, images, etc. Why bother with the tabs if they just get pushed on top of my search anyway?)
There really truly is a niche for a different Google version for advanced users. Allow optional stemming, don't just automatically drop stemmed words in. Allow bracketing of terms +(this OR that) +(up OR down). etc etc etc.
I use (or used to use) + to strictly require a single word in my results, when I notice for some odd reason my results seemed to have skipped that word entirely. Conversely, and it appears this still works, I use - to strip out words that are clogging up my results.
Can Google try and make + a double operator? We know that G+ only allows you to have your real names on your profiles and the '+' for G+ is to specify a person. Maybe Google will treat the '+' as a G+ only if it has a relevant profile to show and otherwise leave it like it is?