Google Search Has Been Improved. A Lot.
August 20, 2014
I do a lecture for the police and intelligence community. The focus is on the techniques helpful in finding information that answers a query. If a person types a query into Google, the results are ads, popular hits that others found useful, and search engine optimized content.
Consider looking for a “shotgun suppressor”. Ignore the quotes. Here’s the results from Google.com on August 20, 2014:
Pictures. Not too many adds. A video.
Where does one buy a shotgun suppressor? Run the query “purchase shotgun suppressor”.
The results are:
More pictures. Ads. and a couple of companies mentioned several times.
So it is easy to get information about a shotgun suppressor and buy one. Now, do some clicking and you will find that the links include auto mufflers from 2WheelPartsSupply.com and some other results that are off point.
In order to nail the real deal, military grade suppressor, some additional work is required.
When I read “Google Made 890 Improvements To Search Over The Past Year”, I just sighed. The write up is a rah rah for Google. Here’s a passage that I highlighted:
In a Google+ post from Google head of search Amit Singhal, Google shares they have made “more than 890 improvements to Google Search last year alone.” In 2009, Google told us they made between 350 to 400 changes to search and in 2010, they said they made 550 improvements to search in the past year. Google’s Matt Cutts said in a video in 2010 they make one change per day to their core search algorithm. We also know Google tests hundreds of changes in a day but only some of them make the light of day.
Okay, run some queries. Has Google improved search, or has Google improved its methods for diffusing ads into results. My experience is that Google is great for information about Dr Dre and pizza. For other types of information, considerable effort is required to unearth useful, on point information.
By the way, the key to finding the shotgun suppressor is to use synonyms like moderator and to approach the problem using another Google service. The content is findable but I am not feeling lucky anymore.
Since everyone is now an “expert” in search, which of the top 10 changes to Google in the last decade ring your bell. How about “universal search”? Ever wonder why books, blogs, non US content are not included in a universal search? Think about it, please.
Stephen E Arnold, August 20, 2014