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Searching Sucks

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Internet searching has not kept up with the volume of information on the Internet.  I am singling out google for this article but most of what I write holds true for their competitors.  The bottom line is search engines are too full of commercial crap.   Take this example:

Let’s say you are looking for .Net source code to do blank page detection for tiff.  Entering in the keywords .net source code tiff blank page detection returns 109,000 rows. The vast majority of which are advertisements for toolkits or other commercial products.  Gone are the days when a quick google search will return an algorithm.

Think this is a problem just for finding code?  Thing again just about any search now returns a large number of commercial listings.  Looking for information on fixing a jeeps suspension, if your lucky the answer is in the first few hits, if not be prepared to wade through sites for repair shops, parts dealers, and the odd strange porn site.  This isn’t to say that occasionally I am looking for a site with commercial listings, but more often then not I am just looking for information.

So now that I have bitched, how do I think it should be fixed?  Well I think 2 things are in order. 

  1. Commercial sites should be tagged as such.  The heuristic mechanism should be easy for the google brain trust.  Then present the user with a choice of whether to include these in their search results.
  2. More intrusive user monitoring.  Monitor the users browsing habits, and determine which sites interest them the most.  Track this information and slant your search results base on your findings.

That’s my 2 cents.  I use google every day, but it takes increasing levels of search fu to narrow down the results I need.