Google Search plus Your World: My soap box, then a solution
Anyone who has ever read my blog knows that I am not above getting on my soapbox and wailing on and on about injustices and poor design decisions. Welcome to one of those times…
It’s now been 5 days since the launch of the “Search plus Your World” and I finally figured out exactly how to undo what Google has pushed down on us.
Firstly, lets be clear in the fact that Google pushed out a new feature set that they believe will truly revolutionize the way the world works. I applaud them for their ingenuity, effort and desire to make the world a better place. That said, I HATE it. Aesthetically it is annoying and frequently I do not care what anyone else thinks about the things I am searching for, so it’s a bit intrusive to say the least.
There are many people in the community that I seek out for advice when searching for a truly difficult concept. I do not want people’s advice on all of my searches. For example, if your child is doing a research project on sports superstitions in diverse cultures and goes searching on Google (while you are logged into the browser) for something about “Patron” thinking that he/she is going to find something about Saints that might be helpful, well first of all they are going to find 2 results about the delicious Tequila made by the company of that name, and then you are going to find a link to my blog where I have a list item for Patron Silver (yes, I am a fan). Not overly useful, eh?
On the flipside it could be useful. If I am searching for “jquery code” (a subject that I am extremely under equipped to even be searching for) I find 3 links out of 10 on the first search results page that Marc Anderson (http://sympmarc.com/) has shared. I know Marc and he is one of the people that I respect when it comes to this area, so I am more likely to click on the links he has recommended first. FYI, Marc is speaking this Thursday night at the NHSPUG so come hear him if you can…
My other issue is the narrowing down of search results based on these personal results. Here is an example: I am in the middle of writing a book and I am doing a basic search for “SharePoint” to see some of the adjectives others have used to describe this wonderful platform that keeps me employed. I instantly get annoyed that because of the personal results 4 of 10 results are YouTube videos that some people liked with the tag “SharePoint” in it. I go to flip the switch to from seeing personal results (the icon of a person) to only seeing the real results (the icon of the world), which for those of you who don’t know looks like this:
and I noticed that my results change from
Needless to say this is a bit disconcerting because as a consumer of search data I am looking for the most accurate search results possible, and limiting my results because of the people in my circles just doesn’t sound like the right thing to me. Am I going to miss the additional 65,600,000 results that didn’t come back because of this limitation? HOW DO I KNOW? YOU TOOK THE OPTION AWAY FROM ME TO FIND OUT!
Rather than using this soap box as a place to join in the amassing mob that is rallying against Google for this “horrific and tragic misstep” I will suggest that you do what I did and change your search settings to “Do not use personal results”. This simply changes the default position of the toggle pictured above. It does not remove the ability to see the personal results on the fly. The process is very simple:
- Go to the top right hand corner of your Google window:
- Change the Personal results setting:
- Hit the save button
If that isn’t enough, switch to Bing.com (which I have found to be better lately anyway).
One last thought: by setting the default behavior to not include the personal results you are in essence just having a new search facet available to you…