Flutterby™! : Happy Birthday Picasso

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Happy Birthday Picasso

2002-10-25 22:16:58+00 by TC 14 comments

btw isn't Google the coolest at producing signal vs noise? I know a lot of people have been complaining about their google hits but considering the problem they are taking on I think they do an excellent job. I think their mutable logo is a fantastic example of this philosophy.

[ related topics: Photography Art & Culture Heinlein ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-10-25 23:29:16+00 by: meuon [edit history]

Check out the #2 reference.. I get an e-mail a week from someone he bumps in to.. The last was from Hilgraeve.. After finally getting a complete tour of the old ST3 Building, I am both impressed and dismayed at what happened. But then.. That is what Dot Bomb Squad defuses.

Google rocks and has demonstrated yet again that on the net, that if you do it better than everyone else, you win out over lots of other over-advertised and over-promoted schtuff.

PS: yes.. I'm also linking trying to make the #1 link for Mike Cunnyngham now that none of my friends are employed by his mis-ventures.

#Comment made: 2002-10-28 23:48:38+00 by: anser [edit history]

People complain about their Google searches because they don't know how to use it.



jim.hall guitar
bob.smith newport.folk

pine.knob -arkansas
cassidy ancestors -latter.day -mormon -nebraska

#Comment made: 2002-10-28 23:49:34+00 by: anser [edit history]

(I had to edit the above because my examples got reflowed)

#Comment made: 2002-10-29 03:50:54+00 by: Shawn [edit history]

Separate words in a phrase with periods:

Does this normally ignore simple words then? And does it act somewhat like NEAR? That's my biggest complaint about Google - or any search engine for that matter. Well that and...

I don't understand why nobody can give us a good old fashioned boolean search any more. I never had any problem finding exactly what I wanted when I could say things like; (windows & "color dialog") & (ocx | dll | control) & "color wheel".

#Comment made: 2002-10-29 10:37:25+00 by: meuon

But the general fscking pebkac 'Net Lusers can't fathom such terms.

#Comment made: 2002-10-29 14:05:05+00 by: Shawn

That's fine - they don't have to use boolean expressions. But that's no reason to remove my ability to do so.

#Comment made: 2002-10-29 14:46:55+00 by: anser

Shawn asked "Does [separating words in a phrase with periods] normally ignore simple words then?"

The question doesn't 100% make sense but here's the lowdown. Google does not include common words like a, the, of, etc in its fast index. Whether you use them as separate words ( shock the monkey ) or in a phrase ( remember.the.maine ) they may be omitted from the search unless you force them with a preceding plus sign ( remember.+the.maine ) They key is to look not just at the "hits" Google gives you, but on what it says at the top of the page. Actually, I just tried remember.the.maine and it kept "the," so they continue to tweak its behavior...

"I don't understand why nobody can give us a good old fashioned boolean search any more."

Google does give you a boolean search, except there is no OR operator. (yet?) Anything you precede with a + is *required* to be present in the search (that's your AND). Anything you precede with a - is *excluded* from the search (that's your NOT). The sample search Shawn gave

  (windows & "color dialog") & (ocx | dll | control) & "color wheel"

(note that the first parenthesis pair is redundant) could be rendered in Google as three "hard" searches:

  windows color.dialog color.wheel ocx
  windows color.dialog color.wheel dll
  windows color.dialog color.wheel control

which, by the way, only found anything for the 2nd and 3rd searches.

Personally I wish they had wildcards, but I can appreciate that it would be a poor fit to their indexing scheme...

#Comment made: 2002-10-29 16:04:35+00 by: TC

Answer is correct. Google does boolean searching with the + or with double quotes around a group of words(what they call phrase matching). The phrase matching is my favorite limiter. My favorite feature is the domain search. There are soooooo many lousy sites that are imposible to navigate but have been indexed by google. I'd suggest that anyone who hasn't already, try the advanced search page till they get familiar with the comand line. It's the difference between a pocket knife and a chainsaw.

#Comment made: 2002-10-30 00:40:35+00 by: Shawn

I use the advanced search routinely. And I'm familiar with Google's use of + to force inclusion, but the lack of an OR is what really creates the problem - and the inability to nest my search requests. The example I gave was a poor one but it was fresh on my mind (and yes, I knew the first pair of parens were redundant ;-). More problematic would be something like:

(magic | wizard | magician | "see what they want to see") & (grandfather | grandpa | (cousin & sarah)) & (((tankard | past) & pub) | (box.chocolates & "saw you"))

(If anyone is curious, I've been off-and-on trying to find a book I remember reading when I was younger. But I only remember the basic story and plot. I can't remember either the title, the author or even the main character's names.)

Yes, there are workarounds - most of which are more time consuming. But none of that explains why it was necessary to remove existing functionality.

As for phrase matching; more often than not I find that I don't know enough of the phrase to be helpful. How does one search for (just making something up now):

"Pity? It was pity and mercy that stayed his hand - not to strike without need."

when all one can remember is:

"...pity...stayed...hand...without need"? (Assuming one can't remember where one heard said quote and doesn't know the context.)

#Comment made: 2002-10-30 00:44:41+00 by: Shawn [edit history]

dammit! Another bad example - requiring all those pulls up an entire page of the correct references :-/

But I hope you get the idea...

(Don't mind me. I'm a little preoccupied trying to manage/redirect vast amounts of rage.)

#Comment made: 2002-10-30 06:29:09+00 by: anser

Google did not "remove existing functionality," they built a web-index from scratch which, in exchange for speed and size, supported a certain set of functionality which is not identical to any other engine's set. (Without the OR operator, nesting is syntactically unnecessary.)

When I am trying to find a song or poem, I just type as much of it as I can remember into Google without plusses or phrases, and nine times out of ten it comes up in an early hit.

#Comment made: 2002-10-30 23:36:20+00 by: Shawn

Google specifically may not have removed functionality from their product but conceptually, in the field of search engines, functionality has definately been removed.

#Comment made: 2002-10-31 00:26:56+00 by: meuon [edit history]

Wow.. Google ROCKS.. This Flutterby thread is now the #1 link to: Mike Cunnynham but for some reason DotBombSquad's page no longer shows up.. Dang black helicopters..

#Comment made: 2002-10-31 02:15:37+00 by: Larry Burton

I would think that the most likely cause for DotBombSquad's page dropping off the listing is that this is a newer page that refers to that page.