What makes you love Google is Google giving you the right answer.
If you live in the US, do a google search for dmv.
Did it pull the one from your state?
Do you really want an averaged across all searchers answer? California is probably the state the generates the most Google searches for dmv, but the California DMV is likely relevant iff you are in California.
This idea of one best search page for one query, independent of any other factors based on the user or users geography is really overly romantic and simplicistic.
On the other hand, the filter bubble stuff is a nice narrative, but it mostly makes for an interesting story rather than real problem. Having worked on search personalization at Google about 5 years ago, it's just hard to make that big impact on search results with personalization. "dmv" is a nice example where it's works brilliantly, but those ambiguous queries are pretty rare, and hence the more bread and butter stuff is still really driving most of the quality.
First of all, no, it doesn't give me the DMV for my state first.
And second, why would I do that when I can easily search for "$statename dmv" and have that search universally do the right thing regardless of location? I don't want hidden inputs to my search based on my location; I want everything that determines the results encapsulated in the query.
In the end, it might be optimal for the world to have multiple, specialized search engines/apps to please as many wants as possible.
Hackers prefer the latter. Everyone else? That's up in the air.
I might search for pizza in order to find a place to order it from. Or I might become curious, and search for pizza to learn about its origins and history. A personalized search would only answer the first option.
That becomes even more frustrating when you (temporarily) are in another country and suddenly get smacked in your face by incorrect location based search results. If google wants to really retain traction with people who want to search for what they type (don't even get me started on the "showing results for: $bshere, if you want to see results for what you searched for, click here"), then they will soon have to provide a switch for it.
I really hope that google goes that way but I think it only crop up when people working at google find themselves using a different search engine to find (esp. programming related) specific topics.
For the overwhelming majority of my typos, "$bshere" is exactly what I wanted to search for. I particularly appreciate this when I'm searching from my phone (where typos are more common). There have been times when it has gone the other way (searching for "WiDi" aka Intel Wireless Display is the most notable example I can remember), but those are rare enough (and understandable enough) that they don't bother me.
> we found that users typed the “+” operator in less than half a percent of all searches, and two thirds of the time, it was used incorrectly.
Check my arithmetic but that means only 1 in 600 searches used + correctly; 2 in 600 used it wrong, and the other 597 searches didn't use it at all.
0.5% == 3 in 600
2/3 == 66% = 2 in 3 are wrong
No it's not. What I loved about Google is giving me the ability to search the web. If my answer wasn't on the first page (or even the second), I'd refine my query until I would get it. Which was easy because Google was very deterministic, just your basic "AND" keyword search engine. Try a few synonyms maybe, different angle, synecdochical approach and if all that didn't get you your answer, it probably wasn't there.
Today, you type in your query, Google tries to guess what you need, and shows you your results. If your answer is not there, you can try different queries, synonyms, whatever, but you'll get mostly the same results again. The web being unimaginably bigger than 10 years ago when I used the approach described above, I refuse to believe my answer's not there. Google is just being dumb.
Anyone know of a proper Search Engine? (I love Duck Duck Go but its index is rather small)
actually, you were probably not trying hard enough. Pressing on over the course of a week and getting some expert friends to help you would always show that your answer was in fact there. in some form or another.
Really it's hard to say because 9 times out of 10 it works fine. Probably even more. Because most of my queries are simple ones. I'd have to go dig through my browsing history, it'd take a lot of effort. I did it once, when Matt Cutts asked a similar question, but right now it's rather late here so I hope you can excuse me :)
One thing I can say, I have tried to diversify my usage of Search Engines in the past, to not just use Google but also Yahoo, Bing, and others. Even changed my default search engine sometimes. But it never stuck. Google just was too good--its speed was a big factor btw, even when the results weren't great, the fact that you could quickly try different queries made up for it. But since a couple of months I find myself more and more going for DDG at the first query--also because if DDG doesn't have my answer it has a convenient link to Google to retry, if Google would have the same I might even still use Google with DDG as a fallback instead :)
Yeah I'll investigate that tomorrow.
More generally, I think users appreciate when recommendations are transparent. Amazon and netflix are great about this - users get to implicitly choose when they want "recommended for you" or just basic results. I'd like Google search more if it had the same model.
A Google search for "florida dmv" returned Florida-based results.
What I am tired of seeing are Eames chair ads all over the place. Do one search for Eames chairs, and click on one paid result, and now all I see are Eames chair ads. Sigh.
At least it's a break from the casino school ads I was getting.
Then when you visit other google properties, google automatically gives you ads from that Eames chair site.
So you click on the relevant link ("happened" to be an ad,) as the Stanford MBAs high five each other at Googleplex. I remember reading a very interesting comment about the incentives of providing the best results and ad revenue. It's clear to me that ad revenue has been winning at Google.
I work on Search Quality at Google. We have a firewall between Search Quality and Ads. We don't answer to Ads. Revenue is just not my team's problem. We come into work every day and look at our search results and try to get the most relevant answers ranked as #1, #2, etc. I never think about the impact of my ranking improvements on ads. I've been personally involved in dozens of changes, and I've never once heard anyone argue for or against releasing a change because of ads.
I can understand why someone might be mistrustful because of the apparent incentive to sandbag the algorithmic results. But Google has the long-term view: if we can keep satisfying our users' needs, the revenue will follow.
But Google has the long-term view: if we can keep satisfying our users' needs, the revenue will follow.
Personally I no longer buy that. The revenue is now #1 and now Google is spending like crazy to keep the users. It started last year full speed
Then New York.
The only results for Texas DMV are two ads at the top of the result listing for sketchy drivers-license.org type "businesses".
I've been in TX 5 years now (and owned a car that whole time) and never even knew we had a department of motor vehicles.
Why is this getting down-voted? Is it because you disagree with what this person is saying? I thought down-votes were only for things that didn't contribute to the conversation.
It feels like this is getting down-voted because people don't like that Google is doing these things. So, this person is getting down-voted 'cuz of Google? Huh?
I'd hope a majority of users here feel the same way and act accordingly - pg's comments not withstanding.
There's a dangerous consequence to saying this. Here's how:
1. Voting is easy.
2. Voting is valueable: it literally changes HN for everyone else.
3. Agreement/disagreement is easy: we're taught how to do it as children.
4. Agreement/disagreement is value-less. Saying that you agree with pg on 'Hackers and Painters' is valueless. Saying "prior to reading H&P, I was in mindset A-B-C supported by points of view D-E-F, and here's how they were modified, and here's the new mindset H-I-J" conveys the same agreement, but it provides value.
We shouldn't incite people to use up/down votes to express something value-less. Agreement and lack thereof (alone) is valueless.
yeah, well.. you need to see my posts on Apple threads.
My state has a Motor Vehicle Division.
"DMV" gives me California's.
This page which does not appear on Google's first page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DMV - though perhaps it should.
> it's just hard to make that big impact on search results with personalization
Trying to make a big impact on something that was more or less working might be the problem. A "don't fix what's not (too) broken" could be a good idea.
For your dmv example, actually, I din't know what dmv is, and my fisrt page (french localized) is about a medicament dictionnary for doctors (DMV, didn't know it either).
"dmv usa" doesn't get me the dmvusa.org result firt either (it's the one I get on the US google)
This seems to be the best example of why geospecific data can be widly irrelevant, and using the default setting, I get this kind of unusable results for half of what I search.
But you explained the core of the problem.
There are two kinds of searches:
1) discovery of information
2) finding information I probably know but I'm just too lazy to go that site directly (or something in that sense)
The first kind of search is what made Google the most popular search engine. The second kind of search is something new for Google and it seems it is implemented as a unsophisticated simplification of the complex problem. It is like AOL search all over again.