Author Topic: Whatever happened to Google search recently  (Read 856 times)

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Online RoGeorge

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Whatever happened to Google search recently
« on: November 09, 2019, 03:48:51 pm »
This months (don't know the exact date, but no more than a couple of weeks ago) google search starts acting weird to me.
- returning mostly commercial "buying stuff" websites instead of documentation
- ignoring the first word in a search querry
- showing mostly results from blogs and webpages 2-3 years old
- returning "similar" shit while ignoring my first 2-3 search words

Overall, Google search was almost unusable to me lately, and I find myself going to other search engines more than I ever thought I would.   :horse:

- Anybody else annoyed by the above Google Search behavior recently?
- At some point I thought maybe Google included me in some pilot beta testing program, without letting me know.  Is there any way to find out if I'm included in such a program?

Offline Cerebus

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Re: Whatever happened to Google search recently
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2019, 05:35:47 pm »
- At some point I thought maybe Google included me in some pilot beta testing program, without letting me know.  Is there any way to find out if I'm included in such a program?

Yes, probably, and no, you most probably can't. For a while there's been a practice of A/B testing adopted by a lot of web 'properties' where some segment of their 'audience' is shown a different version of the 'property' and the degree or type of 'response' is compared between the 'A' and 'B' groups of customers/consumers/test-subjects. Google is exactly the sort of enterprise that will be continually doing these experiments on its customer base.

If you do something that makes you look like a different person to Google (nuke all your cookies from Google, log in to Google if you don't or vice-versa, use a different browser etc. etc.) you might get different results, and if you do it would support the hypothesis that you were selected for one of these marketing experiments.

Anyway, the continuous evolution of Google's search algorithms is driven by maximising Google's revenue from you using them as a search engine, not by the usefulness of that search engine's results to you.
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Offline dietert1

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Re: Whatever happened to Google search recently
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2019, 05:59:57 pm »
I'm always surprised when people expect Google to be a search engine. As far as i understand Google is an advertising enterprise selling the top pages of their result lists to whoever wants to appear there. This is the basic scheme, there is very little that deserves the word "algorithm".
Just look up anything of commercial interest and half the list entries will be ebay alias pages. Haven't been using Google for many years.

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Offline Stray Electron

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Re: Whatever happened to Google search recently
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2019, 10:54:19 pm »
This months (don't know the exact date, but no more than a couple of weeks ago) google search starts acting weird to me.
- returning mostly commercial "buying stuff" websites instead of documentation
- ignoring the first word in a search querry
- showing mostly results from blogs and webpages 2-3 years old
- returning "similar" shit while ignoring my first 2-3 search words

Overall, Google search was almost unusable to me lately, and I find myself going to other search engines more than I ever thought I would.   :horse:

- Anybody else annoyed by the above Google Search behavior recently?
- At some point I thought maybe Google included me in some pilot beta testing program, without letting me know.  Is there any way to find out if I'm included in such a program?

   Recently???  Google has been that way for YEARS here in the US. You have to get very creative with the "- <term>" in order to get any kind of useful results from Google.  There used to be a Google Results Blocker add-on for Firefox that was fairly good at removing SPAMMERS and other junk websites but it no longer works.
 
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Offline I wanted a rude username

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Re: Whatever happened to Google search recently
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2019, 11:02:27 pm »
 

Online tggzzz

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Re: Whatever happened to Google search recently
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2019, 11:31:20 pm »
You have to get very creative with the "- <term>" in order to get any kind of useful results from Google.

And the "+<term>" no longer has any effect :(
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Offline Cerebus

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Re: Whatever happened to Google search recently
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2019, 11:37:29 pm »
You have to get very creative with the "- <term>" in order to get any kind of useful results from Google.

And the "+<term>" no longer has any effect :(

Some days I long for the return of Alta Vista, where a well constructed query would deliver exactly what you wanted as the first result. One might expect that, as time passes, that search engine query languages would have got better and more refined, rather than gradually have any and all useful subtleties removed from them as time passes.
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Offline Rerouter

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Re: Whatever happened to Google search recently
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2019, 02:03:01 am »
the other fun thing is, while it lists however many thousands of results, in every single case it stops returning results after about the 15th page.

Which means its hiding parts of the internet that its own results list thinks is relevant, but deliberately hides them for some arbitrary reason.

That and the fun of when some search term is close to some popular social media thing like a movie or a song, and you have to fight it to just work on the search terms you gave it.
 
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Offline I wanted a rude username

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Re: Whatever happened to Google search recently
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2019, 02:25:09 am »
Some days I long for the return of Alta Vista, where a well constructed query would deliver exactly what you wanted as the first result.

AltaVista let you construct elaborate boolean queries, with parentheses. And the "NEAR" operator was great: e.g. cat NEAR dog would only return pages where the two words appeared within (if I recall correctly) five words of each other.

But when Google came out, it tended to return superior results even for naive queries, due to PageRank, essentially offloading ranking onto the people who created content. Brilliant idea, but by now every SEO knows how to game it, and it also produces horrific recentism.

Unfortunately, the smartphone-enabled normie invasion means we'll probably never see a return to AltaVista-style complexity ...
 

Online SiliconWizard

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Re: Whatever happened to Google search recently
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2019, 10:38:29 pm »
One of the problems, IMO, is that yielding the most relevant results for a given query was once any search engine's goal, but not really anymore. Especially since there's very little competition these days, at least for Google.

The goal is evolving now that search engines are a commodity. Now the trend, as with most for-profit activities, is to maximize revenue while progressively giving people the bare minimum, instead of the best, so they are not tempted to go look elsewhere en masse quite yet. So there will be an increasing number of commercial links, and of barely relevant, but not quite links, so the user is forced to issue more queries (instead of getting it right first time!) More queries = more exposure to many different web sites = more potential revenue.
 

Offline jh15

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Re: Whatever happened to Google search recently
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2019, 03:53:50 am »
I call them shopping engines now.

BTW I used to get better results for non ads when using intext:forum when looking for real info say car repairs.

Now it doesn't seem to help.

I use duck duck go now, and it also returns mostly shopping info.

Anyone use intext:forum before a search? maybe I misspelled it.
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Offline sleemanj

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Re: Whatever happened to Google search recently
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2019, 04:19:46 am »
Is there any way to find out if I'm included in such a program?

Do your search an in incognito mode tab, or using a VPN, or using some other person's computer or even just say what you searched for here and somebody could do the same for you and see how different the results are.

I can't say I have noticed any change in the quality of Google search results, I don't use any other search engines.

NB: to require a word or phrase in the search, just put it in double quotes.
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Online RoGeorge

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Re: Whatever happened to Google search recently
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2019, 07:56:59 am »
My search habits didn't change in the last few weeks, only the results.  Browsing as before, no VPN or private tabs search, always logged in YouTube.  I don't have a Google account, just an YouTube account, but Google Search shows me as logged in, too, because I am logged in in YouTube.  I know about double quotes, minus, advanced search, verbatim, put most desired word first, etc.  Sometimes first quoted word was ignored, too.

This week was a little better, at least now I can see results from 2017-2019, too.  Before, the results were mostly from 2000-2015 or so.

By the replies, it seems it was just me, so I was probably in a beta test program.

« Last Edit: November 14, 2019, 08:42:11 am by RoGeorge »
 

Offline NANDBlog

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Re: Whatever happened to Google search recently
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2019, 08:39:23 am »

Don't be evil is gone.
 

Offline GlennSprigg

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Re: Whatever happened to Google search recently
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2019, 01:28:35 pm »
I never really have any trouble using Google....
Of course they are a 'business' and heavily into advertising,  but is never a problem.
It's easy to include at the end things like  "-youtube"  or "-ebay" if it's ever a problem.

I just typed....
    What is the life cycle of a gnat
and....
    How much do uber drivers earn
and....
    Where can i buy bearings

I found nothing in the results that wasn't what I wanted to know!!
Even the last one, where I expected 'Ads', simply pointed me to the nearest places to me,
from my current location, and a selection list for similar questions. No complaints at all ??   :phew:
 

Offline eti

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Re: Whatever happened to Google search recently
« Reply #15 on: November 17, 2019, 03:10:54 am »
I'm always surprised when people expect Google to be a search engine. As far as i understand Google is an advertising enterprise selling the top pages of their result lists to whoever wants to appear there. This is the basic scheme, there is very little that deserves the word "algorithm".
Just look up anything of commercial interest and half the list entries will be ebay alias pages. Haven't been using Google for many years.

Regards, Dieter

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Offline MyHeadHz

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Re: Whatever happened to Google search recently
« Reply #16 on: November 17, 2019, 04:00:33 am »
Those limits are for browsers/GUI on the site.  The API does not filter like that, at least to any obvious degree.  So you can use the API, or you can use a third party site that uses the API.  That generally works for any google product.  Then your results are only censored/filtered through that third party site.
 

Offline jadew

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Re: Whatever happened to Google search recently
« Reply #17 on: November 17, 2019, 04:51:47 am »
I think I saw a video recently where they were mentioning an engine update. The new one is supposed to figure out what you mean, rather than just search for what you told it to search.

Like you, I found myself using other search engines too because of this.

I see google is making many bold changes across all their tools, that seem to be directed at modifying the user's behaviour and at collecting even more data.
 


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