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What The Frack Has Happened To Google?


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#1 gsmonks

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Posted 27 August 2017 - 09:40 PM

Google used to be my go-to search engine for looking up stuff. It was a boon to people like myself, with hobbies and interests that can be a mite obscure, or off the beaten track, but in past years Google has become a useless piece of crap, and it's getting progressively worse.

Part of the problem is that spammers and special interests have figured out how to insert their garbage into the system, so that Google more resembles YouTube, in that the longer a subject has been up, getting at the original gets more and more tedious as the thread gets filled with spam and other garbage.

The other side of this problem is that Google has corrupted its own search methods by injecting popular search garbage into most subjects, so that a lot of garbage pops up that's wholly unrelated to the thing you're searching for.

Google and YouTube seem to share this algorithm, because exactly the same kind of thing happens when you do a search on either site.

You used to be able to filter out unwanted garbage simply by using the -unwanted junk feature, but you can do this to the point that the thing you're searching for isn't being acknowledged at all.

I've been complaining to both Google and YouTube about this nonsense, but forums where people talk about this subject have been systematically shut down, so obviously they're aware of this problem and don't give a rat's arse.

The bottom line? When it's broke, it's time for someone else to come along and replace it, the same way Bernadin fixed Mason's wagon when Mason discontinued making Mason jar lids.
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#2 gsmonks

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Posted 27 August 2017 - 09:49 PM

For example: (notice that this topic is locked)

https://productforum...rch/f2sh29vW-ik
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#3 Niko

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Posted 27 August 2017 - 11:15 PM

^ Well, to be fair, that thread was open from 2011 to 2014, so it's not like they ban-hammered the thing as soon as it was posted or anything.

I won't argue that they leave a lot to be desired.  My favorite is the fact that 90% of every image search links to pinterest - which let me tell you, if you're gonna have a hate-on for a website, send some over pinterest's way.  The lengths they go to to keep you from actually finding the source of a picture... ugh.

But I don't know what there is to do about it at this point.   It's like Facebook or Amazon.  We can complain all day about their algorithms sucking or shady privacy practices or whatever, but as long as they're synonymous with the niche they fill for the vast majority of the public, they'll continue to have no reason to value the end user's wants over their own self-serving metrics.   I don't know what the solution to that is, and I'm kinda afraid there isn't one.
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#4 Orpheus

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Posted 28 August 2017 - 12:32 AM

I'm no fan of google's algorithms, especially since they've progressively deprioritized the tools for expert searching. Even the - argument (Is that what you meant by "-unwanted?") which has been used in search engines before Google, before the web, back in the days of hardwired terminals to in-house networks... even that hoary old command is barely treated as a suggestion.

I've been looking into alternatives for quite some time.

BTW, reverse image search engines (even Google's own) are very effective for finding the original source of an image. They sure beat sleuthing via social media sites.

#5 gsmonks

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Posted 28 August 2017 - 02:00 AM

I agree. I use TinEye.

Going on several Facebook recommendations, I've switched to DuckDuckGo, at least for now.

DuckDuckGo has already paid off. I was unable to find photos of 1950's and earlier semis (this particular one isn't a semi) using Google. DuckDuckGo cut through all the noise immediately, leading to pages of the type of image I was looking for.

These trucks were common when I was a child. Most were scrapped because so few people, then and now, collect the big trucks for preservation and restoration.

The colour is so-o-o-o 1950's, early 1960's. My grandfather painted our wooden lawn chairs this colour, and part of my present bathroom is this same colour.

Attached Images

  • 1951-dodge-coe-5-window-pilot-house-15-ton-truck-3.jpg

Edited by gsmonks, 28 August 2017 - 02:02 AM.

Capitalism is a pyramid scheme run by the 1%.

#6 Omega

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Posted 28 August 2017 - 01:37 PM

I agree, I find Google very frustrating at times. The fact that I get results that often do not contain my search terms is infuriating.

#7 gsmonks

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Posted 28 August 2017 - 10:08 PM

View PostOmega, on 28 August 2017 - 01:37 PM, said:

I agree, I find Google very frustrating at times. The fact that I get results that often do not contain my search terms is infuriating.

I'm still trying to figure out why their search results work the way they do, when you ask a plain and simple question, and get what amounts to spam for an answer. Maybe one of you tech-savvy types can explain it so that an old Luddite like myself can understand it.
Capitalism is a pyramid scheme run by the 1%.

#8 JudasRimmer

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 08:31 PM

FYI - it looks like there's a book on trucks of that period : http://www.mre-books...rucks_1950.html

View Postgsmonks, on 28 August 2017 - 10:08 PM, said:

View PostOmega, on 28 August 2017 - 01:37 PM, said:

I agree, I find Google very frustrating at times. The fact that I get results that often do not contain my search terms is infuriating.

I'm still trying to figure out why their search results work the way they do, when you ask a plain and simple question, and get what amounts to spam for an answer. Maybe one of you tech-savvy types can explain it so that an old Luddite like myself can understand it.

I think the trick with Google is to use the right search terms and all the options the advanced search pages give you in order to have a decent chance of finding what you want. The web has so much stuff on it that anything can be easily lost under "noise".

That said,most of the changes Google has made to YT since they took it over have not been improvements IMO.

Dave.

Edited by JudasRimmer, 12 September 2017 - 08:35 PM.


#9 gsmonks

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 10:41 PM

That's just it, though. No amount of using the right search terms works in many cases.
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#10 Orpheus

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 11:12 PM

By definition, "the right search terms" are the ones that give the desired result.

I often discover (in hindsight, after an accidental correct hit) search terms that I wouldn't have thought of in months of trying. Usually, I have to admit they're better than the ones I tried.

But by another definition, the *ideal* search terms are ones that a naive to moderately knowledgeable user would think of early in their search.

#11 gsmonks

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 01:16 AM

Unfortunately, the right search terms no longer guarantee an intelligible result.

Consider these two searches, one Gurgle and one Bing. I've done an image search using the words "1954 Dodge semi":

https://www.google.c...iw=1024&bih=645

https://www.bing.com...=bs&form=QBILPG

The Gurgle search not only didn't show one single 1954 Dodge semi, but didn't show any relevant results. As you can see, a lot of irrelevant crap I didn't ask for showed up, but the one thing I wanted is conspicuous by its absence.

The Bing search, on the other hand, provided 25 correct results.

Now, old vehicles are extremely popular on the Weeb, and the people selling them are very precise and clear in choosing search terms that will best connect customers with vehicles.

So how could such a painfully simple search using Google not get me, a potential buyer, hooked up with sellers who correctly listed their wares, in this case as "1954 Dodge semi"?

The only explanation, in this type of case, is that Gurgle doesn't give a rat's arse about connecting people with the information they're searching for. Bing works as a search engine is supposed to, and as Google used to. But something at Google has changed. Maybe they have a tit to suck in the form of paid ads, which they're flogging as spam? That would be my guess.
Capitalism is a pyramid scheme run by the 1%.

#12 Orpheus

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 01:00 AM

You need to clear ALL your *.google.com cookies, add apw=0 to your searches ... or something.

Due to Google's Advanced Personalization, different people get different Google results, and the ones I see for your linked search are just fine.

I've been fighting APW tracking (which is probably an old name now) on my searches for at least 10 years. It's probably worse for other users.

I hate it when computers think they know what I want better than I do. They're rarely right. Sadly for the 'average user', they often ARE right.

That's why Google (and many other entities) are worth billions more than me, despite doing things I find stupid.

#13 gsmonks

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 01:51 AM

My browser history and cookies are automatically cleared at the end of every session.

Well, that is certainly the problem, and it extends to modern sci-fi being such crap and why politicians are so are out of touch with voters. The entities in question are so wrapped up in their own little worlds that they no longer are of service.

In many ways all have become the antithesis of what brought us all to the Interweb in the first place. In literal terms, thinking people need their own web, free of prying morons who want to sell us stuff, control the market (us), and stick their filthy noses into our personal data.

Edited by gsmonks, 16 September 2017 - 01:53 AM.

Capitalism is a pyramid scheme run by the 1%.

#14 Niko

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 10:17 AM

I'm super-curious what your results looked like for those links now, gsmonks.  :)  I don't know what a "good" result would look like, but the first page of Bing results was two pickup trucks and the rest were all straight-up cars.    Whereas the google link took me to a page that was at least mostly trucks.

Google:  http://i68.tinypic.com/2ic8xzr.png
Bing:  http://i65.tinypic.com/szvsy8.png

In that straight comparison, Google looks like it understands better that you're looking for old trucks, not just old Dodges of any type.

If you're genuinely getting results that have NOTHING to do with your search, have you checked for malware lately, in addition to the cookie-clearing?  I've had at least three times in the last 5-10 years where I got a malware bug whose main symptom was a hijack of my google results so everything I searched brought up ridiculous results (or the results would look right, but the links would take me to malware sites).
- Whatsoever you do to the least of my people, that you do unto me.    (Matthew 25:40)

- Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart.  (Proverbs 3:3)

#15 gsmonks

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 10:41 PM

It was the semis I was looking for, Niko. If I clear my history and cache right now and do the Bing search again from scratch, I get images like this:

https://www.flickr.c...rian/4187744055

. . .  and this:

https://www.flickr.c...ian/4023310325/

. . . and this:

https://tse4.mm.bing...0QE7DG&pid=15.1

And using Google, I get the same old same old, everything but what I'm looking for.

There is the matter of cache 'n' cookies, which is in your computer, but there is also the matter of one's IP address and how information gets fed to it, which is something we have far less control over.
Capitalism is a pyramid scheme run by the 1%.

#16 Orpheus

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 11:14 PM

I have long shared your concern about IP-based content-focusing. In my last test series (end of summer 2017), I was startled to find that cookie-clearing on Google-owned but not Google-branded properties [like YouTube, etc.] was significantly more effective than it was in my last test series in 2015. Direct Google-branded domains were less affected by cookie-clearing than other-branded Google properties. YMMV.

Under another identity (that could be traced to my home IP by Big Corporate Datasharing b/c I haven't been as fastidious in my use of proxies these last two years), I have been a 25 year national advocate for internet privacy/security [Please note: I said "advocate", not "expert" -- I have too many other fields to worry about], so it is quite reasonable to suspect that they have been treating me differently. Indeed, Google has been reporting my location quite inaccurately to to me until early August this year. Knowing what I do about Internet networking and cross-site data collection, it's impossible  that Google didn't know where my IP is *really* located (and I've posted this fact widely), so they must have been shining me on, in the hopes of dampening my outrage. IOW: I believe they treated me differently, in the hope of avoiding revelations.

I guess, in retrospect, that this is a more complex topic than I realized, but "Consumer Products" seems to be the best forum for it. (Good call!)

I would suggest using DuckDuckGo for now, but TBH that search engine only exists at the mercy of an undisclosed arrangement with Google, so I can't call it a solution. It is, at best, a temporary workaround.

Also, I guess it's now time for me to up my privacy game. No problem. I had those pieces in place years ago. I just didn't want to deploy them prematurely. Every security measure has a limited use-life.

#17 gsmonks

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 11:48 PM

Funny you should mention DuckDuckGo . . . I tried it for a few days, switched to Bing, and now I'm trying to get DuckDuckGo off my hard-drive. They play nice until you want to get rid of them.

https://www.bing.com...472BF9EFD5779DC
Capitalism is a pyramid scheme run by the 1%.




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