Flutterby™! : Search engine blues

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Search engine blues

2008-03-05 14:31:58.712603+00 by Dan Lyke 4 comments

I have noticed recently that Google tries to be more inclusive by giving me the singular and plural versions of what I type, and sometimes even expands verb tenses. Tara Calishain has a particularly egregious example of Google's "correction" behavior gone wrong.

There's room out there for another search engine...

[ related topics: Machinery ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-05 14:51:55.020567+00 by: m

To prevent Google from including related words you only have to put the word or phrase in double quotes.

'"scannar" blind sale' returns 140 records.

To most people this is the best default. At the least, it saves keystrokes for including word variants. There are quite a few reasons to be concerned about Google, but I don't think this is one of them.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-05 18:00:54.983468+00 by: ebradway

The problem isn't Google (although they have seemed to be a bit more aggressive lately at assuming corrections I didn't want). The problem is more about the kind of semantic-free associations any simple search engine deals with. I've never been a fan of ask.com because I know that adding more useless words to make a complete sentence isn't more helpful than narrowing the semantic possibilities of my search.

In Tara's example, the initial search was essentially for "scanner" (albeit a specific misspelling). Narrowing the semantics to "scanner blind" helped Google eliminate things like hits on the 80s horror flick, "Scanners" and "police radio scanners".

Personally, I think the next wave of search will try to categorize results into semantic ontologies and then allow you to select the ontology you want. Or, maybe have different entry-points for different ontologies. Instead of going to Google for everything, you'd be able to search for "python" on GoogleTech and get info on the computer language while searching for "python" on GoogleBio would return hits on large constrictors.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-05 22:10:39.016879+00 by: jeff

Eric--I agree, and in addition to standard ontologies (based on usage across the total Google corpus), it would be great to see dynamic ontologies created for every user, based on their own unique searching patterns.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-05 22:44:05.527209+00 by: Dan Lyke

I actually suspect that Google is already doing this, I've had a number of instances of searching for something with a very common name where the nerdly results seemed ranked absurdly high for the general population.

And, yes, I forget about quoting single words, but that seems as good an override interface as any. I just need to be reminded occasionally.