Wednesday, April 06, 2016

What's Wrong with Google's Results Page?

"He that hates gifts shall live" (Proverbs 15:27)

Google collected the best of the world's computer engineers, and they are working night and day, for many years, slowly and methodically, using the most advanced methods, in order to increase Google's revenues . Every element on the results page is a masterpiece of deception that  passed the test of billions of people. [1]

At the top of the results page, under the search words, in bright black letters,  appear the number of results.

To its Right, in brackets, in smaller dark black font - an indication of the duration of the search.

Every results page has ten results.

Every result has a blue title

Green link beneath it,

Date beneath it,

Followed by a snippet, which is a summary of the proposed document. The Snippet has usually two lines.

Inside the snippet in bold letters show the keywords the user typed.

Google's results page is full of deliberate diversions, elements which are wasting the user's time, obstacles placed on his way to the answer he is looking for.

The number of the results and the duration of the search are interesting for the engineers at Google but not for the surfer.

The title is not meant to be relevant. It is designed to allow the surfer to reach the document from which the snippet was taken. After exiting from any document the title changes color, in order to prevent the user from re-entering the document he already visited. The title of the sponsored links and of the organic links look identical (there's a tiny square with the word Ad in front of the sponsored links). It is designed as a trap that forces the user to click on the sponsored link, which is less relevant, but is placed before the organic link2]].

The colored link is irrelevant - it is not designed to be read.

The date is irrelevant - it certainly is not that important to be placed at the top of the snippet.

The number of results does not help the surfer to understand the answers. The hundreds, thousands and millions of results that are waiting for him on the following pages just confuse and frighten him [3]. A typical surfer sees only the first screen, and not even the entire results page, ie, the first five results [4].

Each result has colorful letters and black letters on a white background. As we know, colorful letters attract more attention than black and white letters [5]. If  the snippets were colorful and all the rest of the text was in black on white, we could understand that the main thing is the information, while the title and the link are less important, but the color is dedicated to the title and the link, and the impression is that they are meant to separate the results, and that the purpose of the result it to navigate outside by clicking the title.

 Even the result that Google ranks first, because it is the most relevant, leads to a document that has, generally, many paragraphs, but only few of them are relevant and contain the keywords typed by the user.

Google's snippet is too short [6] and fragmentary, and it does not allow the surfer to best decide whether he should surf to the proposed document. 


Ads Tied to Web Searches Criticized as Deceptive Federal Trade Comission Has Pressed Google, Yahoo, Microsoft to Comply With Requests to Highlight Paid Links

"the affective symptoms of uncertainty, confusion, and frustration prevalent in the early stages were associated with vague, unclear thoughts about a topic or problem". Inside the Search Process: Information Seeking from the User’s Perspective by Carol C. Kuhlthau, JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR INFORMATION SCIENCE. P. 368... “Uncertainty is in the head but anxiety is in the pit of the stomach.” The whole experience of users
affects their information use, their feelings as well as their intellect, particularly in the exploration stage. P. 370.

"The importance of the first results screen has two reasons. Firstly, users seldom look beyond the first few results..." Source:

Source: Lamberski, Richard J., and Francis M. Dwyer. "The instructional effect of coding (color and black and white) on information acquisition and retrieval." ECTJ 31.1 (1983): 9-21.

Cutrell, E. and Guan, Z. 2007. What are you looking for?: an eye-tracking study of information usage in web search. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (San Jose, California, USA, April 28 -May 03, 2007). CHI '07. ACM, New York, NY, 407-416. the
"The authors examined the effect of varied snippet lengths in search result pages, using gaze data to determine the order...They concluded that longer snippets enhanced performance on information tasks".

Tuesday, April 05, 2016


Yolink, at first glance, looks very similar to QTsaver.
They both extract relevant paragraphs from several internet documents into one results' page.

QTsaver started in 2005.
Yolink - in 2008 (under the name ChunkIt! until 2009).

Yolink, was developed by TigerLogic, a company from Portland, OR.
But while QTsaver was standing alone using results from Google, Yahoo and Wikipedia, Yolink is an Add-on to browsers like Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari and a widget for blog tools like WordPress and Typepad.
You can see a few nice presentations of Yolink in action on:

Yolink is based on a Patent "Systems and Methods of Displaying Document Chunks in Response to a Search Request US 20090216736 A1" by             Jeffrey Matthew Dexter and Robert Smik.

QTsaver was closed on 2006.
Yolink is still running, and I hope that it will succeed more and more, since the current Google-like Search Engine Results Page serves the giant money makers more than the knowledge seekers, and "money blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the innocent" (Deuteronomy 16:19 ). 

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Synonyms for the Term Search Engine

The term Search Engine is a simile which can mislead us. It makes us think that there's a machine that makes answers. Actually the computer does not search answers - it searches matches between the words we typed and the words in its index, which had been prepared in advance. If there is a match the match becomes the answer.

Search and Find are opposites, but the term Search Engine has no antonym, no opposite.

The unity of the opposites Search and Find is information. Sometimes we type the information (words) "Prime Minister of Israel" and we get the result: "Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu is the current Prime Minister of Israel". The same words (Prime Minister of Israel) appear in the question and in the answer. When Prophet Isaiah said: "for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea" (11:9) he prophesized about the unity of the opposites, since the sea is made of water which is both the content of the sea and its coverage.

The academic Synonym for Search Engine is Information retrieval (IR). The term Information retrieval is not a simile. It seems more accurate and down to earth, but its premise is that the information is there and we only have to find it. And what if there's no answer to our question? Search may end up with no result, but for Retrieval there must be some result, since no result means that this piece of Information can not be retrieved.

Searchers can get answers from browsing. Researchers noticed already at the first years of the WWW the need to differniate searching from browsing since "Web search aids are variously referred to as catalogs, directories, indexes, search engines, or Web databases... [but] a search engine should at least allow users to compose their own search queries rather than simply follow pre-specified search paths or hierarchy as in the case of... Yahoo Directory" [1]

There are many synonyms for the term search. A group of  such synonyms includes chase pursuit hunt and fishing. These are similes directing our attention to the work and hassle frustration enthusiasm and satisfaction involved in finding needed information. Frustration and satisfaction are very important tests for the relevancy of the results of a Search Engine.

The word question is actually a synonym for the term search. Interestingly the word question comes from the word quest which was used in the romanic period  to denote adventures of knights such as the search for the Holy Grail.

Synonyms for question are ask and seek.  Some synonyms for question and answer appear densly in  Matthew/7-7: "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you".

a research involves searching again and again, more and more, entering a query and refining it. It is a long adventure which ends after all the questions were answered, all possible places were checked, and there are no stones unturned.

Gesenius suggests that Chapes, the Hebrew word for search, is similar perhaps to Chafar, digged. synonyms for Chapes, the Hebrew word for search, are Charash (ploughed) and Tar (looked for) from which stems Tayar which maybe influenced the English word Tourist. 

[1]  Chu, Heting, and Marilyn Rosenthal. "Search engines for the World Wide Web: A comparative study and evaluation methodology." PROCEEDINGS OF THE ANNUAL MEETING-AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR INFORMATION SCIENCE. Vol. 33. 1996.