Like it or not when you ask most folk how to locate something on the internet they will suggest that you “Google it”. In fact before I go too much further I have to also confess that the search engine I first turn to is usually Google because after all it is the biggest, (at the moment). The question is of course do we always get what we’re looking for or expect?
The second listing refers not to the Wikipedia page on the French capital as might be expected but instead to a Wikipedia page for PARIS (Paper Aircraft Released Into Space). Now of course this may stem from the way that Wikipedia determines its listings but is more likely a Google aberration.
Of more concern though are reflections such as those posted by Marco Arment expressing frustration about Google’s decreasingly useful, spam-filled web search, lamenting that,
…… it’s now nearly impossible to find good results for many commonly asked types of queries.
Because of the actions of spammers, splogs and search engine optimisers, (SEO’s) amongst others Marco suggests that
Searching Google is now like asking a question in a crowded flea market of hungry, desperate, sleazy salesmen who all claim to have the answer to every question you ask.
To get an insight into how SEO’s think, John Chow offers this report on a panel discussion of SEO’s current recommendations. Oh and if you want to see how big a player SEO’s are then do a quick Google on the term SEO or look in at Wikipedia.
Another bemoaning the problematic nature of Google searches is Vivek Wadhwa who writes in TechCrunch about his student’s experiences in the School of Information at UC-Berkeley as they researched company founders. He then goes on to extol the virtues of Blekko a recent startup.
blekko is a better way to search the web by using slashtags. slashtags search only the sites you want and cut out the spam sites. use friends, experts, community or your own slashtags to slash in what you want and slash out what you don’t.
Now before you all rush off to blekko then you should maybe check out the article from Dulcineamedia who curate SweetSearch. They blog about comparing results from blekko compared to using their SweetSearch search. Quite rightly the folk from Dulcinea go on to say
To be clear about one important point: in Ten Steps to Better Web Research, we urge users to learn “the full toolkit” of search options. We note that not even we use SweetSearch 100% of the time. There are instances in which Google, Bing, and surely Blekko will provide better search results. Think of these tools as complementary, not competitive, to one another, and use more than one on every serious research inquiry.
If you’re looking for a more focused Google Search though you might like to check out The Directory Of Google Custom Search Engines . Though not extensive this listing does point to another way Google can be made more relevant. In relation to Google Custom Search you might also like to check out the following on Getting Started With Google Custom Search.
I prepared these notes as part of a presentation I do looking at the world of search.