Google Search: Live Chat, But Relevance?

February 25, 2015

i read “Google Tests Live Chat With Businesses From Search Results.” According to the write up:

Google is testing out a service that incorporates live chat with businesses right into search results, via a new link that shows whether a business is currently available, and immediately launches a chat via Google Hangouts (on either desktop or mobile) if they are.

I have been doing the online research thing for years. Ellen Shedlarz, formerly Booz, Allen New York’s head information guru, exposed me to commercial online systems in 1973 or so. She was kind enough to let me fumble away with a dorky dumb terminal with bunny rabbit ears.

In the last 40 years, I have to make a confession about my stupidity. I never wanted to enter into a live chat with a person who wrote an article, offered a product, or pretended to be an expert like a mid tier search expert with a degree in English.

I wanted to perform what I naively thought was research. I would obtain information, either print out information or copy it on the 5×8 inch note cards my debate coach in high school mandated I use for research, thus forming a life long habit. I would then read the information I gathered, make notes, and prepare more note cards with identifiers that allowed silly old me to find the connections among the note cards.

After I knew what the heck I was learning, formulating my questions, and then thinking about whom I could approach for more information—then I wanted to talk to a human with alleged expertise.

No wonder I am a loser. When I enter a query for “terminal”, I want to enter a category code so I get the exact meaning of terminal I have in mind and information directly related to documents with that notion of terminal. When I want terminal for a train, I want train stuff.

I suppose now I can run a query for terminal and see these “relevant” results:


Perhaps I can ring the director of the motion picture and ask the fellow where the train station is. Seems very useful, just not to me. Google, how about a return to relevance?

Stephen E Arnold, February 25, 2015


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