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Ask Slashdot: Are There Any Search Engines Left That Don't Try To Think For Me? 424

An anonymous reader writes: As a programmer especially, I'm becoming increasingly unhappy with Google searches. They try very hard to present me with what they think I'm searching for instead of what I'm actually searching for. This issue mostly shows up when searching error messages, obscure type and function names and stuff like that. What I think though, is that I only notice the issue when searching for stuff I know a lot about, namely programming, but my queries get distorted when I'm searching for just about anything, I just don't know enough about the subject to notice. Are there any alternative search engines left that don't think they know better than me what I'm looking for and just search for my phrase, like in the 2000s? Searching for exact strings is an option with Google, but what search engines are the most hands-off to start with?
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Ask Slashdot: Are There Any Search Engines Left That Don't Try To Think For Me?

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  • Amen brother! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Thursday June 18, 2015 @12:48PM (#49938053)

    I've had the very same problem for years now. I get exclusively results that other people got, who searched something vaguely similar.

    First, you have to enclose every fucking word between quotes or you get only Taylor Swift and Kardashian search results.

    Second, even _if_ you do that, it ignores all the punctuations I enter. I _really_ want only the results where there are exactly the period or comma on exactly the place where I put it, how hard can that be?

    If I search for carbuncles, I don't need to see cars of somebody's uncle.

    And don't even mention if you use a VPN, then you'll get Estonian or Russian results even when you enter only English words.

    Google has become useless other than for clueless teens.

    Why can't they just have a checkbox that you can select:

    Check this box if you can spell and really mean what you type.

    • Re:Amen brother! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 18, 2015 @01:01PM (#49938169)

      Going to be unpopular, but I've noticed I get better results when I'm logged in. When I search for programming terms that are not obviously unique to programming (example: "Spring" from Spring Framework) I get relevant results as Google knows I'm usually searching for programming related material, if I need to a "clean" search I can go to incognito for a second to get that.

      • Re:Amen brother! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Lab Rat Jason ( 2495638 ) on Thursday June 18, 2015 @01:56PM (#49938685)

        I think Google needs a slider bar that sets how "loosey goosey" it gets with your terms... so when I'm not getting what I want, I can go broader, or narrower. I'll even let 'em have the name... loosey goosey.

      • I don't know about being logged in, but my home page has Verbatim Google search rather than raw Google (and Verbatim set in my search prefs--which requires being logged in, for when I don't access it from my own page form). Quotes help too of course for specific purposes, and -uselessresultterm as well. I do wish for original Alta Vista back though.

        • I don't know about being logged in, but my home page has Verbatim Google search rather than raw Google (and Verbatim set in my search prefs--which requires being logged in, for when I don't access it from my own page form). Quotes help too of course for specific purposes, and -uselessresultterm as well. I do wish for original Alta Vista back though.

          Verbatim FTW.

          It gets you *almost* back to the pre-Google+ days, when they took away the "+" sign as a search modifier.

          The complaints about punctuation are relatively bogus, as that's not stored. It was never stored, even in Altavista.

          On substitution of search terms, they always, if the give you substitute results based on a spelling correction, they give you the option of searching for what you asked for exactly, or you can force the issue up front with quotes.

          I also miss Altavista, but you had to be somet

      • You can also click the little globe button to the right of "search tools" to get unpersonalized results.
    • by Jhon ( 241832 )

      "I've had the very same problem for years now. I get exclusively results that other people got, who searched something vaguely similar."

      I used to love alta vista and web-crawler waybackwhen(tm). They provided MATCHES, not what they THOUGHT I wanted to see.

      That said -- the internet is several orders of magnitude larger than it was in the mid 90's. I'm unsure if similar search engines would be useful if they didn't try to figure out what you WANT to see rather than what you ASK to see.

    • Re:Amen brother! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by hcs_$reboot ( 1536101 ) on Thursday June 18, 2015 @01:17PM (#49938329)
      Google indeed does customize you search phrase to keep and change what He thinks is better for your needs. And indeed, adding double quotes around the words / expressions you want want Him to include does help. And, indeed, this is sometimes utterly annoying.
      This being said, however, I'm usually impressed by the quality of the search algorithm, by the quality of the words and expressions synonyms Google injects into the search to give you even more relevant results. Try to use another SE for a couple of days...
      And regarding your languages problems, maybe try to sign in, then visit the "Search settings" page...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      if you use a proxy use https://www.google.com/ncr

      the NCR stands for no country redirect. It'll take you to the US site and give you us results.

    • I have the same problem too... I hate the new search methodology. I liked some of the unobtrusive suggestions like "did you mean" but now days I have to fight with search get it to do my actual search and not some shorted/twisted guess of what most people want to find. Verbatim helps, a little, but the lack of +, the ignoring of - and " " along with the guess work is bordering on useless. I've tried a half dozen alternatives but they seem to have extremely limited indexes and the results are largely the

    • Re:Amen brother! (Score:5, Informative)

      by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Thursday June 18, 2015 @01:31PM (#49938459) Homepage Journal

      Check this box if you can spell and really mean what you type.

      There is, but unfortunately you can't set it up as a default, and you have to select it after you've done your search.

      Go to Search Tools, you'll see a drop down currently marked "All Results", change it to "Verbatim", and you'll get a classic Google search (for the most part.)

      I'm finding about 90% of my Google searches end up with my selecting that option. Google, seriously, when are you going to fix this?

      • Re:Amen brother! (Score:5, Informative)

        by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Thursday June 18, 2015 @01:43PM (#49938571)

        Check this box if you can spell and really mean what you type.

        There is, but unfortunately you can't set it up as a default, and you have to select it after you've done your search.

        Go to Search Tools, you'll see a drop down currently marked "All Results", change it to "Verbatim", and you'll get a classic Google search (for the most part.)

        I'm finding about 90% of my Google searches end up with my selecting that option. Google, seriously, when are you going to fix this?

        If you put &tbs=li:1 at the end of your search URL, you'll get verbatim results.

        • Re:Amen brother! (Score:5, Informative)

          by __aabppq7737 ( 3995233 ) on Thursday June 18, 2015 @02:04PM (#49938751)
          and if you're on a network that attempts to downgrade https:/// [https] to http:/// [http] google searches, append

          &gws_rd=ssl

          to the end of your URI.

        • Awesome tip.

          Too bad DDG doesn't support anything similar. :(

        • If you put &tbs=li:1 at the end of your search URL, you'll get verbatim results.

          Verbatim search HELPS, but it does NOT work consistently. Go search the Google products discussion forums and you'll find plenty of threads and examples showing where verbatim mode fails in all sorts of unpredictable ways. And even when it seems to do true "verbatim," it generally ends up omitting huge numbers of results that actually should return in a verbatim search, but which you can only find by disabling verbatim.

          There are other operators people try -- using + and - or "in text" or double quotes -

      • Re:Amen brother! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by swillden ( 191260 ) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Thursday June 18, 2015 @11:02PM (#49942153) Homepage Journal

        Google, seriously, when are you going to fix this?

        It is fixed.

        Google spends a lot of effort on optimizing search and has very sophisticated and effective metrics for tracking what works well and what doesn't. The thing is that you don't search like 99.99% of people search, and so the feedback loop optimizes away from you and towards others. Another poster above mentioned that it's better when signed in... I don't know if that's actually true, but Google does do some degree of search personalization, so it makes sense.

        I find actually get very good results from Google, but I've changed the way I search. 20 years ago I learned to create very precise queries, with + and - to force and trim queries, omitting conjunctions and other common words that I knew weren't indexed anyway, etc. I don't do that any more. What works better these days, I find, is just to type a plain English question. For example, I just pulled up my Google search history, and here are some of my searches from today. Notably, not a single one of my searches required going to the second page of results and nearly all of them gave me the answer I was looking for as the top link.

        "convert camelcase to underscore-separated with emacs" -- Got me immediately to a stackoverflow post that told me about the string-inflection package, available on MELPA.
        "Can I use a heat pump to balance temperature between rooms?" -- My home office (I work from home) is perpetually hotter than the rest of the house, so I wondered if I could put a heat pump through the wall. Turns out, probably not. I'll investigate a fan instead.
        "octal format string for printf" -- I didn't recall %o. Duh.
        "example code for sha256 with openssl" -- Got me exactly what I wanted.
        "how effective are hate crime laws" -- They appear to have no measurable effect on the rate of hate crime commission, though they arguably send a positive social signal.
        "how to break on memory write in gdb" -- "watch"
        "how to set gcm nonce length with openssl evp api" -- What a nasty hack that is, but it does work.
        "trim whitespace from variable in bash" -- use tr
        "bash tee to two pipes" -- redirect to a subshell
        "942-Memory Training Error" -- Ugh, I think one of the DIMMs in my workstation is bad. Tech support is shipping me a replacement.

        I only had the one error message to search for, but that's typical of my strategy. I don't try to craft an ideal query, I just paste the whole damned thing and 99% of the time I get an answer. Or at least more people complaining about the same problem.

        I think a lot of the complaints about the change in search engine is from people who are still trying to use modern search engines they way they used them in 2000. Don't. Don't carefully craft your queries, just type a question, or paste a big pile of related text. That's what the masses do, so that's what Google optimizes for.

        (Disclaimer: I work for Google, but not on search and don't know much about how it actually works.)

    • I doubt Google indexes the punctuation.
      Every time you do a search, Google scans their indexes, not the entire internet.
      I thought as a programmer you'd realise this.

      It's probably a bit more complicated that this but it would be something like
      1) break up your search term in to keywords using the same algorithm when indexing the pages
      2) look up each term against the index to find pages that contain it
      3) combine a list of all the matching pages and rank them

  • quotation marks (Score:5, Informative)

    by grimmjeeper ( 2301232 ) on Thursday June 18, 2015 @12:52PM (#49938091) Homepage
    Try enclosing your error output in quotation marks. That tells Google that you're looking for that phrase, not just that combination of words.
    • As nospam007 said above, enclosing your query inside quotation marks doesn't really work since Google seems to ignore punctuation.

      • Sure, in an unquoted string. But enclosing the whole thing in quotation marks does help.

        If all else fails, you can do an advanced search [google.com] where you can enter an exact phrase to look for.

      • The quotes tell Google to search for the entire phrase instead of each word individually. If the phrase is too specific, it won't find anything, so often with error messages it's a good idea to trim out some of the more specific things.
      • punctuation has meaning to google, read their manual. the minus sign is one way to avoid the problems of this article and force google to toss out the rubbish

    • Re:quotation marks (Score:5, Interesting)

      by michelcolman ( 1208008 ) on Thursday June 18, 2015 @01:08PM (#49938239)

      That usually does improve things, but not always. I often still get results as if I hadn't used any quotes at all, even though exact matches do exist and are displayed further down. And even a "+" in front of a word often gives sites that don't contain the word at all. Tip for Google, if someone writes "+" in front of a word, that really really really means that they really really want that word to actually appear on the page. Really. I'd rather get no results at all than a bunch of sites that don't contain the word.

    • Re:quotation marks (Score:5, Informative)

      by JMJimmy ( 2036122 ) on Thursday June 18, 2015 @01:34PM (#49938485)

      Try enclosing your error output in quotation marks. That tells Google that you're looking for that phrase, not just that combination of words.

      HAHAHAHA

      Google regularly ignores the quotation marks, drops words inside them, fails to include them together... they've even started ignoring the - when you want to exclude something... I'll do something like -shop and it'll bring up domains with shop in it, in the title, and in the description

      • Funny. Searching for "drops words inside them" with quotes took me directly to your comment and nowhere else.

        Adding quotations doesn't change how Google deals with most punctuation (i.e., ignores it). But it does require those words to be in that order in the page.

    • Google will still remove words from your searches with this method. I picked that particular word because it was important. If you can't find anything then just tell me. Youtube searches have to be the worst of all. If nothing turns up then your results are pretty much random shit.

  • by sideslash ( 1865434 ) on Thursday June 18, 2015 @12:54PM (#49938097)
    Did you mean: "Are there any search engines left that try to think for me?" Try one of the following:

    https://google.com [google.com]
    https://bing.com [bing.com]
    https://duckduckgo.com [duckduckgo.com]
    https://dogpile.com [dogpile.com]
    • Re:Did you mean... (Score:5, Informative)

      by thechemic ( 1329333 ) on Thursday June 18, 2015 @01:31PM (#49938449)
      Did you mean... "are there any humans left that know how to RTFM?" Google provides instructions on advanced use cases such as these.

      Advanced Search Form:
      http://www.google.com/advanced_search

      Advanced operators to filter and fine tune results:
      https://sites.google.com/site/gwebsearcheducation/advanced-operators
    • Tried them all. Bing does the exact same bullshit that Google does. duckduckgo's results are so similar and extremely limited that it's not really viable for anything but common searches. Dogpile is a pile, even for common searches.

    • Re:Did you mean... (Score:4, Informative)

      by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Thursday June 18, 2015 @02:04PM (#49938747) Journal

      Your search returned 1,245,245 results, none of which included the actual text you typed, but at some point in the past they apparently linked to pages that did contain the text you typed.

  • by biek ( 1946790 ) on Thursday June 18, 2015 @12:54PM (#49938107)
    When the results are displayed go to Search Tools and change All Results to Verbatim
  • Use incognito or some sort of privacy mode. Google wouldn't have a prior search history so it'll not "distort" the results.
    • Distortion (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No, results are still distorted due to geolocation, language and other unknown techniques. I encounter this issue in a very painful way when I travel.

      At home I search for widgets and get a listing of widgets. Good or bad, it is a listing that I get every time I search for widgets when within my home town.

      When I travel to a foreign country, I CANNOT reproduce those same results, even if I specify the location as being my home city. In some cases these searches will provide not a single similar widget link to

  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday June 18, 2015 @12:56PM (#49938121) Homepage

    If you're looking for a Linux command ... throw the word Linux in.

    Sometimes it takes a little coaxing to tell Google what the hell you're searching for, that doesn't mean it's not there, it means you're not giving enough context.

    And, sometimes, what you're looking for is so damned specific there's almost nothing on the internet for it.

    I've always found a couple of keywords and some quoted strings can go a long way to coaxing out what you're looking for.

    Maybe your problem isn't that the search engine is thinking too much, it's that you're not thinking enough and blaming it for trying to help. If it's just common words, you'll get the most common matches.

    • by tomhath ( 637240 )
      If there's something causing a lot of noise in the search results, exclude it:

      slashdot -news

      • by DrVxD ( 184537 )

        Bad example: these days 'news' is implicitly excluded when you search for slashdot

    • It is a shame that google got rid of the linux (and bsd) specific search options....

    • by rwa2 ( 4391 ) *

      Yes, sheesh, I've never had any problems just throwing my search engine some extra terms for context. The irony in this Ask Slashdot cuts so deep it hurts.

      Here's some obligatory XKCD:

      What the poster will get if he he actually gets what he asks for: https://xkcd.com/979/ [xkcd.com]
      What the poster actually wants out of a search engine that "doesn't think for him": https://xkcd.com/1185/ [xkcd.com] (mouseover text)

  • "They try very hard to present me with what they think I'm searching for instead of what I'm actually searching for.

    Tell me about it!

    Search for something like NSTableView, it give you back results for UITableView (since it thinks that because there's more links with 'UITableView', then golly gee, you therefore must really mean that, don't you?)

  • Startpage (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 18, 2015 @01:04PM (#49938199)

    startpage.com [startpage.com] works reasonably well and doesn't try to outsmart you too much; I find it works well for error messages. They also don't track you, so that's nice.

  • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Thursday June 18, 2015 @01:06PM (#49938217) Homepage Journal

    http://www.atlasify.com/ [atlasify.com]

    Atlas at least thinks differently. As I understand it, rather than feed you a zillion links to the same data, it attempts to find your data, and related data. I'm not real sure how good, or how bad that is, but it's different.

  • double quotes (Score:3, Informative)

    by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Thursday June 18, 2015 @01:07PM (#49938227) Journal

    Specifically for error messages, put double quotes around the string for more accurate results. Adjust to avoid including local information. Example: (a made up) error message "An application on your machine rudolph process number 28433 for user barbie_doll has caused an inexcusable memory management error." would be searched as:

    "An application on your machine" "process number" "for user" "has caused an inexcusable memory management error".

    As someone else said, if it's a linux machine, make the first word "linux". Or the flavor of linux, or if windows, include that and the version, or if appropriate the name of the application.

    "Windows 2008" IIS "401 unauthorized" "access list"

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Thursday June 18, 2015 @01:10PM (#49938263) Homepage
    A lot of the time I am searching for something but there is a top search category that is NOT what I want and keeps showing up. the "-" tag simply doesn't help enough.

    If you are a woman that wants to learn how to wrestle from other women, just forget about google. Not going to help.

    I would love a search platform that categories searches as functionally identical. Similar to the Web vs Image vs News categories. I would love a search engine that can say, search for a picture of a man dodging a car but have the option of NOT showing any pictures of Dodge (as in Chrysler) cars.

    • Learn wresting on the intartubez? I'm afraid that I won't believe that until it's demonstrated for me. I'm really not sure how serious you are with that though, is it just an example you threw out there?

    • A lot of the time I am searching for something but there is a top search category that is NOT what I want and keeps showing up. the "-" tag simply doesn't help enough.

      Here's a way to tell if your search engine is thinking for you.

      Search for "Great Tits" [wikipedia.org] (a type of bird) and check the results.

      If your search engine is trying to think for you, it'll become obvious on the first page of search results.

  • by Chalnoth ( 1334923 ) on Thursday June 18, 2015 @01:15PM (#49938307)

    Google (and all other search engines) try their best to return the results the user has asked for. It's never going to be perfect at doing this, if only because people use the same phrases in different ways from time to time. If Google (or the search engine of your choice) is returning results that aren't what you want, then your best option is to make the query more specific. Either add relevant keywords, search for a phrase instead of individual words (using quotes), or exclude some other keywords (in Google, prepend - to the beginning of the word you want to exclude...other search engines are probably similar).

    Also, if Google is returning crappy results for some query or other, feel free to send feedback (link is at the bottom of the page). I'm sure other search engines have similar functionality.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Google (and all other search engines) try their best to return the results the user has asked for.

      Don't be silly. Google will try its best to return the results that make them the most money, i.e., the results that produce the most advertising revenue for their customers (their advertisers). As for the user, all they want is not to annoy them so much they switch to Bing.
       

    • Back in the olden days (pre-google), when one interacted with a search engine it was with a carefully crafted query that returned results based on the data available. I'm not necessarily talking about internet searching. Chemical Abstracts was a treasure trove of information if you knew how to write a good query. There was a logic to it. If you didn't get the results you were looking for, you refined your query until satisfied that you'd exhausted the possibilities. What the OP is saying is that this i

    • by Guy Harris ( 3803 ) <guy@alum.mit.edu> on Thursday June 18, 2015 @01:31PM (#49938453)

      Google (and all other search engines) try their best to return the results the user has asked for.

      More precisely, they try their best to return the results they infer that the user would really want, based on the syntax of the query.

      It's never going to be perfect at doing this, if only because people use the same phrases in different ways from time to time.

      Yes, it's never going to be perfect at inferring what the user wants. The original poster is complaining that Google has been getting worse at inferring what he wants, especially for particular narrow queries.

      I've seen the same problems he has. Perhaps that's an unfortunate side-effect of trying to do a better job of handling most users' queries.

      If Google (or the search engine of your choice) is returning results that aren't what you want, then your best option is to make the query more specific. Either add relevant keywords, search for a phrase instead of individual words (using quotes), or exclude some other keywords (in Google, prepend - to the beginning of the word you want to exclude...other search engines are probably similar).

      Yes, the original poster is quite aware of quoting; as he says, "Searching for exact strings is an option with Google". What he wants is a search engine that doesn't try as hard to infer what the user really wants, rather than one that has to be forced, with more use of quotes, to just look for the damn string. Perhaps that's a sufficiently small niche that no search engine would bother to offer that, and he'll just have to live with typing more double-quote characters.

    • Using keywords does not help. You'll see results with the keyword crossed out below.

  • problem solved.

  • by iamacat ( 583406 ) on Thursday June 18, 2015 @01:18PM (#49938333)

    Most people want search engines to understand synonyms, misspellings and contextual relevancy and return results that one had in mind rather than string matches. This only becomes more important with mobile/voice search.

    You may have better luck with internal search of sites like stackoverflow.

  • You want a search engine that knows what you meant by "2000s" and doesn't just return simple string matches, but you don't want that same engine to "think" for you. How would that look to you for any arbitrary search?
    How is the search engine supposed to have any context of what you want without more information?

    "Peanut butter" What do you want back, places that make it, sell it, grow the peanuts, ship it, recipes, allergies, how to make it stick to people's skin, using it to get pills down your dog's throat

  • wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nomadic ( 141991 ) <nomadicworld@@@gmail...com> on Thursday June 18, 2015 @01:32PM (#49938477) Homepage
    "The cutting edge technology that provides me free access to humanity's collected knowledge sometimes impudently brings me slightly different results than I demanded." I think we have reached the apex of first world problems.
    • Well, that's a pretty arrogant interpretation.

      As a programmer/admin, do you want to learn how to program bash scripts more securely? Good luck with that. Googling "bash security" or any variation thereof results in nothing but search results for the "Shellshock" exploit that was discovered recently.

      • by nomadic ( 141991 )
        "Bash security tips" seems to bring up useful pages. "Writing secure bash scripts" brings up even more useful pages.
  • I bet you could craft a local, static HTML page which would present you with a search box into which you could type your search. You could then wrap each term in quotes and send the whole thing off to google.

    You could also make a second text entry box when you want the entire string to be quoted.

    Yes, you can always add quotes manually, but that's tedious.

    I wonder if Firefox has an extension which provides a 'literal google' search option?

  • by v(*_*)vvvv ( 233078 ) on Thursday June 18, 2015 @01:45PM (#49938593)

    This is a perfect example of the flawed interface design philosophy many tech giants fall prey to, and it boils down to "we know what you want better than you do".

    To their credit, companies like Google and Microsoft and Facebook put their best minds behind these problems and come up with technically ingenious solutions. That's part of the problem. It must be correct and it must be better, because we worked so hard on it using proven methods. But people who know what they want find these products difficult to use, difficult to control, and even vaguely insulting.

    The Facebook news feed is a triumph in machine learning, as is/was Microsoft's ribbon interface in UI, and Google's search in contextualized search... They're based on solid research, mass user polling, hard big data, and ambitious technical goals of competent engineers. Yet, they can't get it right because they continue to look at the problem and ignoring the people, often condescendingly so.

    It takes understanding for users to have clear intentions. As others have said, if the user doesn't know anything about what they are searching for, Google does a good job of educating their guesses. And to their credit, these companies are successfully serving the inept majority. But anyone who continues to use their products inevitably will have clearer intentions, because with use, we naturally get smarter. That is why the more we use these tools, the more we have reasons to hate them. The more we find things we wish to do with these tools, the more we find they are less accommodating.

    The technical solution is rather simple. Interfaces are intention driven, and if they're not driven by the intentions of the user, they are driven by the intentions of the developers. Hence, each feature can be tested for the intentions they serve, and those that serve the user must be added and made more prominent. An existing example in facebook is the "don't show me posts from ___" feature. But other's that don't exist would be listing entries in strict chronological order, or listing entries unfiltered. They could be simple checkboxes and implementation would be simple (boring almost).

    The technical solution is far easier than what really needs to happen, and that is a change in attitude and philosophy of the people building these products. They need to be more embracing and less insistent on user behavior. They need to stop thinking they know better. They need to stop judging their own solutions by their technical prowess. People who know what they want need to be able to choose, and for the most part, intentions are simple. Simple intentions garner simple select-able features. If this is too boring, maybe they need to stop using users as guinea pigs, quit their insanely high paying job, and go back to academia where they could do some really interesting work.

  • by Pouar ( 2856763 ) on Thursday June 18, 2015 @01:47PM (#49938605)
    http://symbolhound.com/ [symbolhound.com]
  • by Voyager529 ( 1363959 ) <voyager529 AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday June 18, 2015 @02:03PM (#49938731)

    Average Slashdotter: Knows precisely what is being searched for, knows it's a bit obscure, knows how to spell, and knows that queries for such a thing are going to require the human to adapt to the technology - if required or possible, might be willing/able to provide an actual SQL query. More likely to run some form of ad blocker, and even if they don't, is much more likely to distinguish an ad for a search result, and not click on it.

    Average User: Can't tell Google from Trivoli (or whatever flavor-of-the-week ad-serving Google clone is going around), can't tell an address bar from a search bar, can't tell a sponsored result from an organic listing, can't pass a seventh grade spelling test, asks Google questions as if it is a human and will provide human answers, and is probably looking for the same thing everyone else is looking for.

    You're Google, and you're trying to make money. Who do you optimize for?

    It's a pretty sucky time to be a techie. *toddles off to IRC and Usenet*

  • by Dashiva Dan ( 1786136 ) on Thursday June 18, 2015 @07:04PM (#49941097)
    i.e. when searching for code-related stuff, use code.google.com [google.com]
  • by myid ( 3783581 ) on Friday June 19, 2015 @05:09AM (#49943513)

    Create a bookmarklet whose content is this:
    javascript:location="https://www.google.com/search?rls=en&q="+prompt("Search item - separate words with plus signs")+"&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&tbs=li:1";

    When you want to search for something, click on the bookmarklet. When the small prompt window appears, enter the search word(s). Separate multiple words with plus signs (ex: happy+days). At the top of the resulting Google web page, in the "All results / Verbatim" menu, you'll see that "Verbatim" is selected.

    You might have to adjust the bookmarklet to work in your browser. In your web browser, do a Google search, and check to see what "https://www.google.com/search?..." url is created. Adjust the bookmarklet to fit the url that you got.

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