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Thread: Is Google dumbing us down?

  1. #1
    No more Mr Nice Guy. Nick's Avatar
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    Is Google dumbing us down?

    Ok, hear me out.

    I'm starting to think more and more that Google, the mighty source of information, is actually now becoming too bloody hard to use and, given how the results are ranked, is actually defeating getting specific content that might not be of general interest.

    Try it for yourself with this one:

    A thread ages ago mentioned real life plasma grenade test done by the military.

    Go find any mention of that on Google.

    I bet you get literally HUNDREDS of Halo links and videos... hundreds of 'em.

    No matter how you phrase it, all you get is Halo, Halo, Halo, Halo, Halo, Halo, Halo, Halo, Halo, Halo, Halo, Halo, Halo, Halo, Halo, Halo, Halo, and Halo.

    Now of course this is just one example and probably the most extreme but look at it like this: If Halo links are so popular, what happens as the entirety of net users carry on linking to funny and cool stuff (which they hope makes their blogs and pages interesting) whilst informative, less popular stuff is ignored?

    Here's another one for you to try.

    Try and Google for the name of the guy who standardized the electricity supply in the UK to 240v with standard plug and socket. Good luck on that one. I'll make it even harder for you... he proposed and initiated the installation of the national grid too... so maybe add that in your search and see how many useful results you get.

    And this is the point. Google is great if you want what's regarded as general knowledge, such as a whale's testicle weighing at 500Kg or whether Britney Spears was wearing knicker last night... but stray too far from general knowledge and the results become obscure.

    So my point is, Google is really becoming a tabloid style, quick-fix hit machine and a resource that of less relevance to anyone interested in topics off-the well beaten public track.

    They say these things ebb and flow and perhapos now Google is at the turn cos I'm not alone in thinking that Google is becoming less useful and more a case of trolling through the general crud before getting to what I need....
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    Re: Is Google dumbing us down?

    Not that I've thought about it before I've seen this, but yes you're right. In recent years (we're talking about 3 here, I'm only young) I've seen a trend like similar to that you describe. But I now get most of my information from sites I know have a decent search function/wikipedia/physical copies of books.

    I'm actually going to try and find a plasma grenade test now... that sounds great! [except when actually used]

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    HEXUS.social member Agent's Avatar
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    Re: Is Google dumbing us down?

    To some extent, I'd say the opposite. A search engine is only as useful as you make it
    Most people searching for plasma grenade are probably after something halo related. Try "plasma grenade -halo" in the box and you'll loose the halo stuff.
    Find something close to what you're after? Hit the "similar pages" button.
    You could also use the + operator to make things more important.

    Google is insanely powerful if query's are phrased correctly and use the operators it can accept.

    A good start is here (I know it says basics, but there is some important stuff on there). Then have a read of the linked articles.

    However, I think Wikipedias next project (Founder of Wikipedia plans search engine to rival Google - Times Online) is going to be very interesting
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    Re: Is Google dumbing us down?

    Ever seen this

    Do an advanced search put "Halo" in the without the words box
    Edit: Agent beat me to it!

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    Re: Is Google dumbing us down?

    Oooh saves me making a new thread

    Anyone got the link to that site that searches for stuff minus all the crappy shopping review websites like kelkoo,ciao, etc?

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    Re: Is Google dumbing us down?

    I don't think Google is 'becoming' anything it was not before. I've always thought of it as an all-purpose generalist search engine, and I think it serves that purpose. At least it didn't do any serious 'mistakes' as seen in Yahoo.

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    I eats food da_ging's Avatar
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    Re: Is Google dumbing us down?

    one plasma grenade that's not halo below, though cannot find anything relating to real life plasma grenade not even on darpa

    YouTube - plasma grenade explosion

    [edit]still looking for this damn plasma grenade but eeek Electromagnetic Railgun: An Innovative Naval Program

    -Strike within 5 meters of a pinpointed target from distances in excess of 200 nautical miles
    -Deliver hypervelocity projectiles at Mach 5 on impact
    Last edited by da_ging; 01-02-2008 at 01:48 AM.

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    Re: Is Google dumbing us down?

    Quote Originally Posted by da_ging View Post
    [edit]still looking for this damn plasma grenade but eeek Electromagnetic Railgun: An Innovative Naval Program

    -Strike within 5 meters of a pinpointed target from distances in excess of 200 nautical miles
    -Deliver hypervelocity projectiles at Mach 5 on impact
    search for "coil gun" if you like that sort of thing. things to make and do at home


    im really not convinced this real life plasma grenade exists btw.
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    Re: Is Google dumbing us down?

    I've noticed this problem as well. The information is somewhere out there and it's becoming more and more difficult to get through all the crap to find it. But I don't think it's Google's fault exactly. As you say, people are more likely to link the "crap" and then there's just more stuff on the Interent in the first place. Never noticed the advanced search before, so will have to use that in the future if I can't get anywhere.

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    It's good to be bad pauldarkside's Avatar
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    Re: Is Google dumbing us down?

    I don't think it's actually changed that much since the infancy of internet search engines; I've always had to trawl through a ton of irrelevant/unsuitable links before finding what I'm after. At least these days I don't have to use multiple search engines - Altavista, Yahoo, Hotbot, etc - and spend even more time trawling.

    As Agent says, using the operators is a must - it's just a shame so many people (that I've seen) don't know about or understand them.
    My only concern is should I hide my true identity? A costume maybe?

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    Re: Is Google dumbing us down?

    Try Plasma Grenade -Halo ?
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    Re: Is Google dumbing us down?

    Quote Originally Posted by Agent View Post
    To some extent, I'd say the opposite. A search engine is only as useful as you make it
    Most people searching for plasma grenade are probably after something halo related. Try "plasma grenade -halo" in the box and you'll loose the halo stuff.
    Find something close to what you're after? Hit the "similar pages" button.
    You could also use the + operator to make things more important.

    Google is insanely powerful if query's are phrased correctly and use the operators it can accept.

    A good start is here (I know it says basics, but there is some important stuff on there). Then have a read of the linked articles.

    However, I think Wikipedias next project (Founder of Wikipedia plans search engine to rival Google - Times Online) is going to be very interesting
    Well said there - google is an excellent tool if used correctly

    Saying that people are becoming more reliant on google as we have to ask people to visit a URL to process payments and many a time we get the phrase back " I can't find it - it's not loading " and when we check further they've typed the URL into google instead of the address bar

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    Re: Is Google dumbing us down?

    Quote Originally Posted by MadduckUK View Post
    search for "coil gun" if you like that sort of thing. things to make and do at home
    Quote Originally Posted by NavySite
    On Thursday, the Office of Naval Research made history with the muzzle velocity of its electromagnetic railgun at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division. Fired at 2,520 meters per second, the shot generated 10.64mj of muzzle energy.
    2.5km/s... London to Glasgow in 3.6 minutes. Ouch!

    On the original topic: Don't you think it's the internet dumbing down rather than Google? I have no problem with searching on Google, maybe you just need to learn some of the more advanced search methods? At the end of the day the internet is becoming more and more SEO'd and full of rubbish so it's not going to be as easy to search anywhere as it has been, not just Google. Learn some tricks like -halo, inurl: and intitle: and I'm sure you'll find a lot more of what you're looking for a lot faster.
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    Get in the van. Fraz's Avatar
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    Re: Is Google dumbing us down?

    Advanced search anyone?... It's easy to filter out the crap, as someone has already said.

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    Does he need a reason? Funkstar's Avatar
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    Re: Is Google dumbing us down?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee @ SCAN View Post
    Saying that people are becoming more reliant on google as we have to ask people to visit a URL to process payments and many a time we get the phrase back " I can't find it - it's not loading " and when we check further they've typed the URL into google instead of the address bar
    This isn't restricted to Google, I've seen people do this with the default MSN home page you get on a fresh Windows install and Yahoo home pages set as default by manufacturers.

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    Ғо ѕніzzLє му піzzLє chicken's Avatar
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    Re: Is Google dumbing us down?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee @ SCAN View Post
    Saying that people are becoming more reliant on google as we have to ask people to visit a URL to process payments and many a time we get the phrase back " I can't find it - it's not loading " and when we check further they've typed the URL into google instead of the address bar

    I get the Wordtracker keywords list sent to me and that regularly features things like youtube.com, myspace.com and yahoo.com in the most searched for words/phrases ("from the largest Metacrawlers on the web (Metacrawler/Dogpile etc..)").

    In the latest one I've had youtube.com features 7th with 2560 searches in 48 hours.

    That's an impressive rate of stupidity
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