Dev-related search is difficult for a lot of reasons:
- you need to search for "<:<" or the F# "as" keyword
- there's lots of mailing list mirrors (gmane, osdir, nabble, markmail) with lousy UI's and google seems to push their Google groups search hits way down to page 2, or "Repeat search with duplicate results shown"
- new stackoverflow clones or whatever uncomplementary term keep popping up
Way way back the reason Google succeeded over other SE for me was that they required all terms and that they made sure relevancy by checking that the terms were used in proper context on the page (eg not stuffed, not font-color hidden, etc.).
Now, it seems I can't do a straight search, even quoted text returns results that don't contain the string I'm looking for it's highly frustrating.
It must be working for others but when I need to use Google for anything serious now (rather than a general query) it is a lot harder to get it to return good results at the top of the SERPs.
The worst are the 1st-result-has-none-of-your-keywords type queries. Aagh! At least they used to placate you with "pages pointing to this result use that keyword".
To me the worst was when Google would just silently drop a search term. I was getting a page of hits with none of them having one of my terms anywhere.
Google really needs to give a secret power user page, where there are no word substitutions or dropping.
But, like I say, that's not most people. For most people the fact that Google can search for C++ or can tell the difference between some words or can include useful alternates for search terms is fantastic.