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> If you live in the US, do a google search for dmv.

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.

I think this debate hits at an important point; different people want different things. Some people would find it easier to type "dmv" and have the engine know they want "dmv open right now and closest to my location". Some people, like you, want the search engine to handle your input without external influences.

In the end, it might be optimal for the world to have multiple, specialized search engines/apps to please as many wants as possible.

The reality of it is slightly more meta than that. Some people just want the right answer. Some people want a tool that they can build a consistent mental model of.

Hackers prefer the latter. Everyone else? That's up in the air.

As I've said before, there are searches for consumption needs, and a completely different kind of search made for research needs. No popular search engine today differentiates between the two, but Goggle is slowly moving towards a search dedicated to consumption needs, which seems logical for an advertizing company.

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.

Personalized searches also render it difficult to gauge how 'pizza' relates to other data in the public (sub)conscious. Google results used to (and still do, to a certain extent) provide a very good picture of the semantic structure of the Internet, if you knew how to read them.

It's not up in the air. Everyone else just wants the right answer. Even I sometimes just want the right answer, and I love mental models..

Having a mental model of how the google search ranking works sounds… hard. For me the mental model works out to be "based on various statistics, google's best match for my search terms". I'm not sure that's different from "the best answer". :-)

Is it even possible to build a search engine without external influences..?

I could not agree more.

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.

Apparently I want to get you started on "showing results for: $bshere, if you want to see results for what you searched for, click here", because I'm amazed that anyone complains about it.

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.

Yep the movie times searches on the uk are messed up beyond belife even on Google.co.uk - Google insistes on serving up me the restuls for Bedford Texas and not Bedford in the Uk

You are not the typical user that Google is aiming for. I find the unasked for word substitutions and stemming and "corrections" and the bubble frustrating, but I recognise that I'm an edge case. Google really should have some kind of "what you type is what you get" mode, with user-definable stemming and word substitution and bubbles and etc.


> 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

> Google really should have some kind of "what you type is what you get" mode


Doesn't work as advertised -- try searching for [["everything wrong" crossfade]] in verbatim mode.

Oh wow, if that works I'm going to use Google again. I hope there's some easy way to switch on that setting with a GET parameter so I can replace my default Google search.

..."with user-definable stemming and word substitution".

I think you have to be pretty technical to dislike hidden inputs. But hidden inputs generally please mere mortals.

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