Archive for the ‘SEO and Search Engines’ category

Out of the circle: I just deleted my Google+ account

July 27th, 2011

I’ve been ambiguous about Google for quite a while now. What started as an amazingly innovative and efficient search engine, grew up to be quite a monster of internet services and advertising tools. That, in itself, isn’t a bad thing. A big company isn’t necessarily a bad company.

Yet, bit by bit, Google services seem less and less appealing. First – the flagship – the almighty Google search engine. Gimmicks like Google Suggest and Google Instant became annoying rather quickly, and didn’t add much to the search efficiency – rather the opposite. Then, there’s the fact that Google seems to think that it knows what are you looking for – even without you asking for it. When you search certain keywords, Google will give you results which include many “related” keywords, but a lot of the time it just interferes with the search process.

To top it off, the amount of data and info Google’s gathering about us is frightening. And finally – the results are useless, still full of spam and too mainstream in many cases (That’s why I use DuckDuckGo in most of my English searches) .

Gmail is still great, but then there’s always that nagging fear that one day you’ll try to login and find that your account have been closed, canceled or hacked into, and no one in Google will lift a finger to help you with that. I have regular pop3 mail and many backups, but that’s not enough for me. I eagerly await a webmail that supports Hebrew in an efficient way – when I find that, I’ll switch immediately.

And then there’s Google+, which so many rave on and on about. Yeah, it’s cool and slick, it’s fast and you can have a nice social media experience with it. Yes. So? That’s also true for Twitter, Facebook and reddit. Oh, and hey – everyone is on Google+, too. Again – so? “Everyone is doing it” has never been a good reason for anything.

I have several websites and blogs, accounts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and reddit – there’s no reason for me to maintain yet another data-sucking account, even if many other people think it’s cool.

So, I deleted my Google+ account. I find that having one less Google service is a good idea. I think it’s time for me to limit my Google exposure. Where there are substitutes – I’ll happily use them. Where there aren’t any – I’ll tread carefully.

 

TL;DR: I deleted my Google+ account. Why? Because FUCK YOU, that’s why.

Give it a Rest, Google

September 9th, 2010

Google is AnnoyingGoogle Search is getting more and more annoying with each passing day. It’s fair to assume that Google developers think we are pretty dumb, and they need to show us the right path through the internet’s complicated web of sites.

Search results on Google are getting less and less relevant and useful. Further more, since Google assumes we’re all idiots, it tends to decide for us what we ACTUALLY wanted to search. So, it searches similar words, similar meanings, and many other “similars”, which are usually completely different from what I searched for. Thus, I have to use Quotes and the Plus sign a hell of a lot more than I used to. Just like in the good old 90s.

Now, Google launched a new feature – Google Instant. With this feature turned on, search results appear immediately when you start typing. Not only will Google suggest search queries for you – but it will also give you the search results before you even finished typing. Wow.

This, in fact, is an even more annoying feature than Google Suggest. First of all, not all people look at the screen when they type. A lot of people need to look at the keyboard, and won’t lift their heads until they are done typing. In the words of Robin Williams – totally redundant number one.

Of course, if you mistype, the suggestions and search results will change when you type and correct your mistake, creating a distracting movement of letters and images on the screen. Moreover, the results displayed rely on the most common searches done by other Google users. Which means that if you are searching something that’s a bit out of the mainstream, the search suggestions will be completely irrelevant.

Fine, you say, disable Google Instant and stop complaining. You’re right, of course. I did that. Slight problem, though: Google allows me to disable Google Instant, but the ability to disable Google Suggest has vanished from the preferences page. Again, Google thinks it can decide what’s good for me. For all of us. Google brags that the new feature will save us all a lot of time. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Google for the time I had to waste on finding a way to disable their stupid features. So, thanks. Really.

Disable Google Suggest

If you want to use Google without Google Suggest, you need to use this URL:

http://www.google.com/webhp?complete=0&hl=en
Another good option is to use a different search engine. My favorite is Duck Duck Go – a wonderful, quick, smart search engine, which gives very relevant results and is fun to use.

Google, just give it a rest, will ya? Just let us decide if we want your fancy, useless features. KTHXBAI.

Got my Duck on!

July 7th, 2010

A few days ago I received these cool Duck Duck Go stickers. Amazingly enough, the bigger version fit exactly at the back of my car, right where the VW symbol was, before it was stolen. So now, I drive around town with a duck on my back!

Duck Duck Go is a great search engine, better than Google in many ways – including protecting your privacy. Try it out and see for yourself.

Hacker News Prevents Search Engines from Spidering the Site

March 16th, 2010

Hacker News are making a point, or so it seems. The site tweeted a few hours ago that it now “bans Google and all other search engines”.

Here is the site’s Robots.txt. The reasons for this move are rather unclear at the moment. It might have been triggered by the site’s slowness, in an effort to decrease server loads.

Not all users of Hacker News think that this is a clever move. Quite a few of them complained that now they can’t search for older articles that were submitted to the site.

Hacker News doesn’t really rely on Google and other search engines for traffic. It’s a flourishing community that shows no signs of wanting to expand and becoming the new Digg or something similar. Will the user’s protest change anything? Remains to be seen.

Google Personalizes 20% of Searches

March 3rd, 2010

One in five searches performed in Google’s search engine are tailored to the user’s particular location, web history, or online contacts , according to software engineer Bryan Horling, who works on the Google personalized search team.

Search results are different from country to country – that much is known. Now, Google goes into the more specific details and data known about the user, and is tweaking results based on the individual user’s behavior. Horling states, though, that the differences are minor – results may move a few spots up or down, but Google is not changing the entire character of the page.

You don’t have to be signed in to a Google account to be subject to this personalization. Google will attempt to deliver personalized results to any user using its search engine, depending on their web history and cookies. If you are signed in, the results will even vary according to your Gmail contacts or people you follow on Buzz. Google calls this “Social Search”.

SEO companies, of course, aren’t happy. This personalization process by Google also means that soon every user will get different results, and it will be very hard to determine whether SEO efforts are successful and efficient. The fact that even logged-out users are getting personalized results is a real problem for SEO people.

Google urges site owners to start making sites for users, not for Google – a lesson that a lot of sites will learn the hard way as time passes.