Sunday, May 03, 2009

how I found my new search engine

Some time ago, I was searching on Google with something like the following:
air mattress -camping
What this is supposed to do is show me a list of sites containing the words "air" and "mattress" but only if they do not contain the word "camping". What I was finding is that Google was inserting into the middle of each page of results a small easy-to-miss header saying
results for: air mattress +camping
and then showing three sites that contained pages that I specifically told Google that I did not want to see. I only noticed this after going to a few sites and finding information on camping air mattress and wondering what was wrong. Then I had to start carefully parsing the search results to filter out sites as I was browsing. After doing several searches along these lines and finding this new marketing gimmick of Google's too annoying to tolerate, I spent about ten minutes trying to figure out how to tell the search engine "No, I really, really don't want to see any page with the word 'camping' in it". Apparently there was no way to do that so I used Google to search for another search engine without this annoying practice.

I'm glad this happened because I discovered my new search site: Clusty. It has a simple no-frills interface just like Google, and after using it for a couple of months I can say that it gives results that are just as good as Google.

Apparently Google has dropped this new marketing practice, as I tried a couple of queries and didn't see the promotional sites mixed in with the search any more, so I suspect that I'm not the only person who had this reaction. But, I'm not going back to Google. Since I've become disenchanted with Google, I'm very happy that I was forced to find Clusty. Now if only something would force me to move to new blog and email sites.

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