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Google keyword: Pepsi
November 7, 2011 1:29 PM   Subscribe

Two weeks ago, Google disabled the + operator for searches, requiring quotation marks to force inclusion of a word.
Today, Google Plus rolled out a new feature - Pages for companies and brands, so you can "build relationships with all the things you care about". Included is Direct Connect - go straight to Pepsi's Google+ page by searching for +Pepsi.
posted by dragoon (205 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
BOO! ...lean operators.
posted by The White Hat at 1:31 PM on November 7, 2011 [26 favorites]


Sadly, searching for +Pepsi Blue doesn't work the same way.
posted by adamrice at 1:31 PM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


In related news, "Do no evil" slogan replaced by "Do evil"
posted by mcstayinskool at 1:31 PM on November 7, 2011 [20 favorites]


+ça change
posted by swift at 1:32 PM on November 7, 2011 [56 favorites]


What's the opperator to "change browser search engine?"

I understand that they want to 'synergize' their stuff but altering Boolean searches is just... it takes away from the illusion that searches are valid and unbiased.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 1:33 PM on November 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Corporo-philia is the best. I love liking companies - it makes me feel so unique to make sure the world knows which brands I favor.
posted by glaucon at 1:33 PM on November 7, 2011 [13 favorites]


Remember when Google was cool?
posted by spilon at 1:34 PM on November 7, 2011 [20 favorites]


"I would like to hear more about this 'Pepsi.'"
-No one
posted by starman at 1:35 PM on November 7, 2011 [50 favorites]


Wait what? So how do I search for pages containing bonehead moves by Google? With the + notation I would have typed 'bonehead moves +Google'. If I undrestand things correctly, "bonehead moves Google" is not equivalent to this - it won't match The Greatest Google Bonehead Moves Page for example.
posted by Dr Dracator at 1:35 PM on November 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


And I'm still not happy with teh Google for hiding their page caches. What a few months ago took one click now requires me find the hidden hover button, click, mouse over to the edge of the screen, and click again.
posted by Iridic at 1:35 PM on November 7, 2011 [9 favorites]


That's it! Cancel my Google at once!
posted by Horace Rumpole at 1:36 PM on November 7, 2011 [21 favorites]


I like Chrome and love my android phone with it's magical gmail and google calendar and contacts syncing. But some of the stuff google does makes me uneasy and I can't quite pinpoint why.
posted by sio42 at 1:37 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


At first I was surprised that Google+ actually won out over Search, but then I realized this was actually Advertising's win and wasn't surprised at all.
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:38 PM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wait what? So how do I search for pages containing bonehead moves by Google? With the + notation I would have typed 'bonehead moves +Google'. If I undrestand things correctly, "bonehead moves Google" is not equivalent to this - it won't match The Greatest Google Bonehead Moves Page for example.

"bonehead moves" google

I've never used the + operator and don't understand what it gets you. The above is not a pure OR search. Google is smart enough to get you good results when you search for two keywords together.
posted by eugenen at 1:38 PM on November 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Pages for companies and brands, so you can "build relationships with all the things you care about"

"I would flip through catalogs and wonder, what kind of dining set defines me as a person?"
posted by mhoye at 1:38 PM on November 7, 2011 [14 favorites]


The new:
bonehead moves "google"

is exactly equivalent as the old:
bonehead moves +google

Changing syntax is not evil.
posted by jsturgill at 1:39 PM on November 7, 2011 [17 favorites]


Building relationships with the things I care about eh? I tried "+family" and "+my girlfriend", but apparently they're not the "direct connections" Google is talking about.
posted by modernnomad at 1:39 PM on November 7, 2011 [8 favorites]


I started to write a whiny comment also mentioning the crap they did to greader, but then I remembered this little gem from blue_beetle.
posted by tarheelcoxn at 1:39 PM on November 7, 2011


Google is still my favorite advertising giant. DuckDuckGo is winning my search, though.
posted by nutate at 1:39 PM on November 7, 2011 [9 favorites]


I could be wrong, but it seemed to me that '+' never really worked properly on google anyway. It might return different search results than if you didn't use the '+', but the search results wouldn't always include the added search term. This always frustrated me (by always, I mean when I was first evaluating google and considering switching away from altavista).

But this change isn't welcomed. There aren't any companies I wish to have a relationship with (including the ones I do).
posted by el io at 1:40 PM on November 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


I remember hoping once that google would make the ugliness of advertising - scattered pamphlets, billboards, building-sized posters - obsolete. Silly me.
posted by mhoye at 1:41 PM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Never mind uneasy - just harder to use! The results I get from Google are less and less relevant as it keeps stupefying my keywords, assuming that I didn't really want those words to be present on the page. I could force the issue by putting + in front of every argument (annoying as that was), but now that's gone. Thanks!

I'm sure glad it was removed so I could find advertising faster, because that stuff is danged scarce on the net!

Grr.
posted by bitmage at 1:41 PM on November 7, 2011 [27 favorites]


Although here's a question: do quotation marks now pull double-duty? Per my comment above, I've always used them to search for an exact phrase (rather than to "force" inclusion of a term). Will I now start getting different results?
posted by eugenen at 1:42 PM on November 7, 2011


From what I understand, bonehead moves "google" will do what you want.

Just realized I should have included this example of the message given when you tried to search with + before the keyword rollout, which also includes a nice explanation of why people care.
posted by dragoon at 1:42 PM on November 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


I've never used the + operator and don't understand what it gets you. The above is not a pure OR search. Google is smart enough to get you good results when you search for two keywords together.

You probably are new to the whole "Internet Search" thing, but you used to have to always construct at least boolean-esque queries in order to find anything. Google's magicification of search kind of did away with it, but only in a "we understand what you mean, not what you said" sort of way which works most of the time but not always.

For instance:

pepsi blue
pepsi+blue
"pepsi blue"
pepsi-blue

are all very different searches, that should net you separate results.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 1:42 PM on November 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


I am just about fed up with the one thing Google used to do 100% right. The other day I wanted to search for something involving the word "Rome". Google "fixed" that for me by including "Roman". I didn't want "Roman", but hey, Google knows what I am looking for better than I do. Since the + was disabled, I had no idea how to tell it, "No, you asshole, I want to look for 'Rome' and just 'Rome'."

Google is well into Apple territory, where the program tells you how you want to use it, instead of the other way around.
posted by Legomancer at 1:42 PM on November 7, 2011 [17 favorites]


I could be wrong, but it seemed to me that '+' never really worked properly on google anyway. It might return different search results than if you didn't use the '+', but the search results wouldn't always include the added search term. This always frustrated me (by always, I mean when I was first evaluating google and considering switching away from altavista).

The '+' might not have always worked but I found it to improve my search results.

-----

The new:
bonehead moves "google"

is exactly equivalent as the old:
bonehead moves +google


OK. But what if I want to search for the phrase "bonehead moves" with required inclusion (or emphasis) on google? What, in the old syntax, would have been, "bonehead moves" +google. How now?
posted by BigSky at 1:43 PM on November 7, 2011


If I understand correctly, previously you might do foo bar +baz, now you have to do foo bar "baz". Is this correct? People are saying that syntax change is the end of Google?
posted by demiurge at 1:43 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am new to the italicizing thing, so the first part should have been italicisized.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 1:43 PM on November 7, 2011


The new:
bonehead moves "google"

O hey an answer. Thanks for this, carry on everybody.

posted by Dr Dracator at 1:44 PM on November 7, 2011


Just how many Google users are actually aware of Boolean Search terms anyway?
posted by KokuRyu at 1:44 PM on November 7, 2011


This morning I opened Google+ to see a NSFW image, posted by somebody not in my circles, with 400 or more "likes" attached.

Apparently I'm now getting a stream called "The best of Google+" or whatever they call it.

I used to be a big fan of Google+, but next time I'm at work and I need to see a dog biting some guy's dick, I'll use Google's search engine; I don't need them to bring it to me.
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:45 PM on November 7, 2011 [9 favorites]


I derive a small amount of comfort in imagining a roomful of Google engineers sobbing quietly to themselves at the decisions of the Google marketing folks.
posted by mediareport at 1:45 PM on November 7, 2011 [15 favorites]


Wait, why all the complaining about this? It's not just connecting with Pepsi. This is giving an outlet on Google+ to bands, blogs, local businesses, places with a full calender of events I need to keep up with, and whatever other entities I actually want to hear from occasionally in my social media.
posted by naju at 1:46 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Boolean operators might not be the best thing for the general public. My grandmother was having problems finding things on the internet - I asked what she was doing. "I'm typing the words into Google... I put a minus sign in front of each one, that's what you're supposed to do to get better results, right?"
posted by 0xFCAF at 1:46 PM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I derive a small amount of comfort in imagining a roomful of Google engineers sobbing quietly to themselves at the decisions of the Google marketing folks.
posted by mediareport at 1:45 PM on November 7 [+] [!]


That'll be weird, because they'll be doing it in on yoga balls in front of an artificial waterfall, while dipping things into a chocolate fountain and playing XBOX. The rest of us have to sob in cubicles.
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:47 PM on November 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


I derive a small amount of comfort in imagining a roomful of Google engineers sobbing quietly to themselves at the decisions of the Google marketing folks.
I don't. It's decisions like this that happen at business all the time (and not just tech ones, since even non-tech business rely so much on technology) and it's what's wrong with the world today.
posted by Brian Puccio at 1:48 PM on November 7, 2011


I just came here to say that the phrase "build relationships with all the things you care about" being applied to marketing and advertising makes me throw up in my mouth.
posted by hippybear at 1:48 PM on November 7, 2011 [45 favorites]


It's really a race to see what factor will be bigger here:

1) The outrage towards Google at this decision
2) The condescension towards those who aren't outraged by those in this thread. 'You probably are new to the whole "Internet Search" thing' Really?
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:48 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Google is building more and more for the majority of searches, not the edge cases. Power users are a drain on Google's resources and don't produce enough advertising revenue to offset the cost. It's not that they're maliciously removing beneficial features, they're just... "sunsetting" them.

"Don't be evil" has slowly morphed into "Don't be evil to our wonderful shareholders."
posted by lubujackson at 1:48 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


tarheelcoxn: I started to write a whiny comment also mentioning the crap they did to greader, but then I remembered this little gem from blue_beetle.

Which wasn't a unique quote then, and a silly simplification to begin with. There isn't a clean line between Buyer (when you pay money) and Product (when you use something for free). It ignores philanthropy and FOSS. It overlooks the fact that people can use a product and still find value in it, even if the are being gathered for statistics, which are then sold.

It's a lazy oversimplification, but it's a viral saying.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:49 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait, why all the complaining about this? It's not just connecting with Pepsi.

For me, this is just like AOL KEYWORDS, remember them? Except instead of them making some sort of GOOGLE KEYWORDS box to type them in, they've taken away part of what their core service is. All in the name of more easily connecting you to advertising pages on their social network.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 1:49 PM on November 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


shouldn't the pendulum being swinging back the other way by now? can't we all go anti-brand for the next 20 years? that would be nice.
posted by sineater at 1:50 PM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Everything is a lazy oversimplification.

Even quantum dynamics.
posted by aramaic at 1:50 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's not just a syntax chang, it's an arbitrary change driven by profit-minded marketing folks that has a neutral to negative effect on usability. It's completely opposite of the original meaning of "do no evil" as meant by Larry and Sergey back in the day.
posted by fnerg at 1:50 PM on November 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


I just came here to say that the phrase "build relationships with all the things you care about" being applied to marketing and advertising makes me throw up in my mouth.

There's a Bill Hicks quote about that. I'm trying to think of how it goes.
posted by cashman at 1:50 PM on November 7, 2011


"Everything is a lazy oversimplification" is a lazy oversimplification.
posted by kmz at 1:51 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I cannot remember the last time I went to a company's Facebook page, other than a media company where I was reading content. Why would I go to Pepsi's Google Plus page? In what version of reality am I eager to use social media to investigate Pepsi?

I mean, it took me about two days to conclude that I hated Google Plus and have no need for it, but while I can understand friending service establishments like a resort or a coffee shop that might give you a deal, I cannot comprehend the decision on the part of anyone to befriend Pepsi.

I will now go back to not understanding the universe.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 1:51 PM on November 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


This is absolutely AOL keywords. Compare +pepsi with +coke. One has paid for placement, the other one hasn't.
posted by rh at 1:52 PM on November 7, 2011 [12 favorites]


Pages for companies and brands, so you can "build relationships with all the things you care about"

Spaceships, aliens and smart broads that can handle a Qualta Blade?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:53 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Changing syntax is not evil.

But the reason for changing syntax might make it be, due to the transitive property of evil.
posted by JHarris at 1:53 PM on November 7, 2011 [19 favorites]


I never really used the + operator (I've always been a quotes guy myself) but this is still pretty annoying. First Plus infects Reader, then GMail gets the same whitespace-everywhere treatment (both easily remediable, but still), and now this. Bleh.
posted by kmz at 1:55 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


0xFCAF: Boolean operators might not be the best thing for the general public.

Exactly. Most people don't understand search engines (search for the key words you want, not a sentence or question in your native language), or even URLs in general, and how they differ from search engines. Adding "fancy features" to searches, and it just gets more confusing.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:55 PM on November 7, 2011


Why would I go to Pepsi's Google Plus page? In what version of reality am I eager to use social media to investigate Pepsi?

I know people whose entire use of social media is to lodge publicly visible complaints about companies not meeting consumer expectations, knowing that companies troll monitor such services for such complaints.

It's been much more effective for most of them than writing email or sending letters.
posted by hippybear at 1:55 PM on November 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


I use the minus operator a heck of a lot more to filter out garbage; that still works like normal, right? Or will searching -Coke bring me to Pepsi's Google+ page?
posted by inigo2 at 1:55 PM on November 7, 2011 [9 favorites]


I guess they were getting worried where before they could kinda rely on people just googling for "Pepsi" they were noticing that more Pepsi ads had "follow us @pepsi" or the facebook icon.
posted by PenDevil at 1:55 PM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yay, so now instead of substituting a lame Facebook page for an actual website, local businesses can now substitute a lame Google+ page?
posted by madajb at 1:55 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hmm... seems like you have to already have a Google+ account to create an organization page. If I wanted to create a page for my firm, would I have to link it off my own Google+ account or can I now create a Google+ accounts for the firm? And if the former, I wonder who's personal account these megacorps' are going to branch off of?
posted by charred husk at 1:56 PM on November 7, 2011


I cannot remember the last time I went to a company's Facebook page, other than a media company where I was reading content. Why would I go to Pepsi's Google Plus page? In what version of reality am I eager to use social media to investigate Pepsi?

Increasingly, you'll have to "like" brands to view the latest movie and videogame trailers, access free wireless IRL, be invited to shows, etc. Just this weekend Virgin America offered free wireless access onboard a flight if I "liked" Ford on Facebook. Also, the wireless would have only given free access TO Facebook. YouTube has a few videos that can only be viewed if you (first) like the brand. Artists are increasingly offering early tickets for shows to their Facebook fans. It's going to get worse, so uh thanks Google+ for making it easier I guess.
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:56 PM on November 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


This only goes to show how Google has gone all-in on Google+. If this is going to be how you find every brand's Google+ page, then every brand will have to build a Google+ page, AND keep it active.

They're now actively making search kinda sucky in exchange for making Google+ possibly better. Which, considering search is responsible for 90%+ of their profit, is a damn ballsy move.
posted by Vhanudux at 1:56 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


No Coke. Pepsi.
posted by Chuffy at 1:56 PM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's a lazy oversimplification, but it's a viral saying.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:49 PM on November 7 [+] [!]


Yeah. I find it to be a really kind of vile mindset that accompanies it, the same kind of mindset that would have us quantify our time in terms of dollars.

"If you're not paying for it, you're the product being sold," says, "pay up kid, there's no escape."

It's deeply cynical, and poisonous at it's root. I'd counter by reminding anyone that's listening that there are many free things in the world, and not all of them are coercive, manipulative, or abusive.
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:57 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


MCMikeNamara, check that waxy.org link from dragoon for a non-patronizing take on the removal of the + operator. I'm hardly a "power searcher" or anything, but even I've repeatedly noticed it's gotten more difficult to use Google for a particularly narrow and exact search.

I did like being reminded of DuckDuckGo, though. I'll check it out for a week or so and see if it's any better.
posted by mediareport at 1:58 PM on November 7, 2011


Wait.. so what actually happens when you type "+Pepsi".. you get taken to their + page? Is that it?
posted by Harry at 1:58 PM on November 7, 2011


Most people don't understand search engines (search for the key words you want, not a sentence or question in your native language)

I was part of the alpha test team for infoseek (ah, remember them?) and as such ended up with more than a little training in how search engines work. I'm able to find pretty much anything I want within a few searches of increasing refinement, all using keywords.

Still, I've found that sometimes typing a sentence or question for something I can't figure out how to keyword properly yields excellent, even surprising results in Google.

So yeah, but also no. Google does so much analysis on searches being performed that they do have a pretty good question parser.
posted by hippybear at 1:58 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks, google. Somehow, you've gotten so out of touch that you've driven me into the arms of Microsoft Bing.

Poor stupid Google. I rely on making very complicated boolean searches very frequently -- I want to see items that have the phrase, for example "american baseball" without REQUIRING that "american baseball" show up in the results.

Sometimes I'd like to include a phrase as an OR in the search, dumbasses.
posted by chimaera at 1:59 PM on November 7, 2011


It's completely opposite of the original meaning of "do no evil" as meant by Larry and Sergey back in the day.

"Do no evil." is an idiotic motto. Defining yourself or your goals in negative terms works to undermine your own intentions. It directs your attention to what you don't want.

That's not to say it gives them a hard shove to the Dark Side. But what it is, is schmaltzy cutesy crap that makes them look like they're mugging for the cameras.
posted by BigSky at 1:59 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait.. so what actually happens when you type "+Pepsi".. you get taken to their + page? Is that it?

Searching for +pepsi takes you to their Plus page. Searching for "+pepsi" does a regular search.
posted by kmz at 2:00 PM on November 7, 2011


Anyone using Firefox who wants to be able to switch their default search engine to DuckDuckGo, just go here.
posted by mediareport at 2:02 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Stagger Lee: "If you're not paying for it, you're the product being sold," says, "pay up kid, there's no escape."

It's deeply cynical, and poisonous at it's root. I'd counter by reminding anyone that's listening that there are many free things in the world, and not all of them are coercive, manipulative, or abusive.


More than that, it's ignoring all the use, function, and joy people can get out of things that people can get out of services that are making a buck off of them. Data mining is not new, so why hate it so much now? Because your name is more closely associated with your online persona? Meh, there's so much data out there, why pick on you as an individual? My mother saw a video of my son in his Halloween costume on Facebook (which she called YouTube, so branding isn't working on her), and she was ecstatic. Sure, now that's more data to track, but there are still personal benefits that outweigh whatever hidden costs I'm experiencing.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:02 PM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Two weeks ago, Google disabled the + operator for searches, requiring quotation marks to force inclusion of a word.

hmm. I never noticed.

The minus operator seems unchanged - TBH that's the one I'm far more likely to use. That and quotes. Wouldn't occur to me in a million years to put + inside quotes though.
posted by Artw at 2:05 PM on November 7, 2011


Chuffy: No Coke. Pepsi.

Impressively, the first result is correct (Hulu though, sorry). The rest pertain the particular phrase you entered.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:05 PM on November 7, 2011


rh: "Compare +pepsi with +coke. One has paid for placement, the other one hasn't."

Both those results look the same to me - pepsi.com/coke.com as the first results, followed by Wikipedia pages, other relevant pages, &c.. Maybe they haven't rolled this out everywhere yet?

charred husk: "Hmm... seems like you have to already have a Google+ account to create an organization page. If I wanted to create a page for my firm, would I have to link it off my own Google+ account or can I now create a Google+ accounts for the firm? "

Yeah, and I'm imagining a lot of accidental posting to company pages in the near future (the UI for posting to your page is pretty much identical to your normal account).
posted by jack_mo at 2:06 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Do no evil." is an idiotic motto. Defining yourself or your goals in negative terms works to undermine your own intentions. It directs your attention to what you don't want.

Spoken like someone who wasn't around for the big search engine wars that promped that motto. AltaVista, Excite, Lycos, they all sold search engine placement to the highest bidder, without "Sponsored ad" notices.

"Don't Be Evil," coupled with their excellent search results, is how Google became #1 in search. It's not easy to figure out which of those two things was more important. This isn't exactly like what those many dead search engines were doing before, but it is a step closer.
posted by JHarris at 2:06 PM on November 7, 2011 [8 favorites]


Part of my Google-fu routine was to always use +"search term" for everything by default unless I wanted Google's fuzzy logic to show me a bunch of not-quite matches. Even for some one-word search terms, using quotes is helpful a lot of times because by default Google will show you results that have the word split up into multiple words or include some variation of the word. This actually makes it slightly easier to do those kinds of searches, although at the cost of making it more difficult to use phrases that aren't required to be found. Oddly enough if you do my +"term" method now, it has exactly the opposite effect and turns on fuzzy matching, without any kind of indication of what is going on.

Sometimes I'd like to include a phrase as an OR in the search, dumbasses.

I believe the OR operator still works.
posted by burnmp3s at 2:06 PM on November 7, 2011


Also, think -- could it be that this right here, corporate Google+ pages, is why Google didn't want people registering accounts under a pseudonym, so they could then sell pseudominous accounts to companies without worrying that someone might have camped the name?
posted by JHarris at 2:07 PM on November 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


A couple of things are being overlooked here.

1) This is not just Pepsi, it's also "The Muppets" We like the Muppets here, right? Not to mention your favorite band that doesn't suck.
2) This is Google's answer to the nymwars. You want to be ZZ17 on the web. Create a plus page.
3) The + search syntax was confusing and the quote mechanism was already working.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 2:08 PM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


bonehead moves "google"

And they didn't even buy pizza. whatta rip.
posted by bonehead at 2:08 PM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wait, who said anything about selling accounts? Are the Google+ organization pages only for sale?
posted by Inkoate at 2:08 PM on November 7, 2011


"Do no evil." is an idiotic motto.

See the lazy oversimplification discussion above.

They've already explained that what they meant by that, which is to not do anything that makes the experience of searching hostile to the user. which, considering all the crap search engines threw at you when Google was born, isn't really nebulous or platitudey at all. Basically, don't be a Yahoo-ey "search portal", and you're good.

This is unfortunately, a step in the search portal direction.
posted by fnerg at 2:10 PM on November 7, 2011


The OR operator does work. It's pretty much the only Boolean operator which does. Here's the page at Google which describes how to target searches using their operators.

(It doesn't include the "+", so it may be a bit outdated.)
posted by hippybear at 2:10 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, and to be clear, I was saying that the phrase, "Do no evil" is itself a lazy oversimplification, but that what Larry and Sergey meant by it is a bit more concrete.
posted by fnerg at 2:12 PM on November 7, 2011


1) This is not just Pepsi, it's also "The Muppets" We like the Muppets here, right? Not to mention your favorite band that doesn't suck.

Phooey to you, Charlie Brown. Disney owns the Muppets now. It is a miracle that their cold corporate hand isn't stuffed up Kermit's ass right now, so do not give them IDEAS.
posted by JHarris at 2:12 PM on November 7, 2011


What I mean is that if you want to mix AND and OR operations, while using phrases that have to be together, that I haven't found a way to use the AND and OR operation in the same search (with full phrases) since they deprecated the + operator.
posted by chimaera at 2:13 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


One thing from all of this that is good, I suppose, is that it now opens the door for other new "real" search engines to stand a chance. Google did such a thorough trouncing to all of the oldschool web portal search engines that they've essentially had a monopoly for last ten years to the point where their name meant "to search for on the web."

We like the Muppets here, right?

I think everybody is poised to hate the new, sellout Muppets movie.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 2:14 PM on November 7, 2011


+OrangeDrink
posted by entropicamericana at 2:14 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


They've already explained that what they meant by that, which is to not do anything that makes the experience of searching hostile to the user.

I wonder what one would find in a Google search for +equivocation.
posted by JHarris at 2:15 PM on November 7, 2011


Hee hee. I frequently used '+' and so I saw the "use double quotes instead" message a while ago. I wondered why they were disabling '+' as a syntactical element.

My thought that maybe I'd be able to search for words with the '+' character now, whereas before they had just stripped it from my search. Sounded pretty cool — now I would be able to search for C++ and C#! Silly me. I guess the '+' in 'Google+' stands for '+ advertising'.
posted by benito.strauss at 2:16 PM on November 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


pepsi blue
pepsi+blue
"pepsi blue"
pepsi-blue
are all very different searches, that should net you separate results.


And don't forget

blue pepsi

Moving a word to the start of your search phrase gives it greater importance in the query, kinda like +word.
posted by Lanark at 2:17 PM on November 7, 2011


I don't mind the change, but I still think Google+ is a retarded name. It should be something like.. Google Social, or GoSo for short!

Yeah, okay, that sucks, but Google+ is worse.
posted by Malice at 2:18 PM on November 7, 2011


I think everybody is poised to hate the new, sellout Muppets movie.

What? Not among the crowds I hang out with online and IRL. It looks pretty fantastic.
posted by kmz at 2:18 PM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


The +pepsi search is currently working for me, where working means taking me directly to the pepsi g+ page.

I don't really like it, but I never used + as a search operator in the first place. One thing that does bother me is that Google has made it exceedingly difficult to get to the advance search page (unless I'm missing something, I have to type in the exact url to make it there) and I'm worried that they're going to cut that feature entirely. I will say that I'm currently considering DuckDuckGo more and more.
posted by codacorolla at 2:19 PM on November 7, 2011


Disney owns the Muppets now. It is a miracle that their cold corporate hand isn't stuffed up Kermit's ass right now, so do not give them IDEAS.

It's a total derail, but the reasons why Disney hasn't completely decimated the Muppets (and boy, did they try!) is due largely to having put Lylie Breier in charge of them. She pulled the Muppets out of Disney Consumer Products and put them into the entertainment division, and Muppets Studios, LLC remains an individual identity within the Disney corporation.

Happily this may bode well things for how they fare from here into the future. A lot is riding on the success of the feature film coming out later this month. So if you care, and if the movie is any good at all, vote with your feet and pay to see it at the theater so Those In Charge can see that there's good reason to keep them away from the Disney machine and being who they have always been.
posted by hippybear at 2:21 PM on November 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


imagining a roomful of Google engineers sobbing quietly to themselves at the decisions of the Google marketing folks.

Welcome to Microsoft!
posted by benzenedream at 2:21 PM on November 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


This kills Google's utility for me. And my belief that they are at all motivated (or restrained) by any sense of benevolence or responsibility.
posted by snuffleupagus at 2:22 PM on November 7, 2011


What? Not among the crowds I hang out with online and IRL. It looks pretty fantastic.

Fozzie Bear disagrees.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 2:23 PM on November 7, 2011


Hmm, 43;pepsi brings me to the google plus page as well. Wonder if there are any other plus signs crawling around Unicode's far northern reaches...
posted by jenkinsEar at 2:25 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's &43;pepsi
posted by jenkinsEar at 2:26 PM on November 7, 2011


This is absolutely AOL keywords. Compare +pepsi with +coke. One has paid for placement, the other one hasn't.

Wow, that's some bullshit right there. I was poised to be not-that-upset about this (unlike nymwars, which pretty much killed my admiration for Google), but seeing nothing but advertising instead of the search results page is way over the top. There's no excuse for a search engine sending me anywhere but the search results, ever.
posted by vorfeed at 2:29 PM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well it doesn't change how I search, but it is a reminder to find a new default search engine. I'm so tired of Google's helpful suggestions in place of using my actual search terms. "This search includes results with the word 'destiny', click to show only results with the word 'fate'" Gah! Even worse has been trying to search for info on Xubuntu and getting "Showing results for Ubuntu" every. single. time. Talk about hostile to the user, heh.
posted by Lorin at 2:33 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]




And no, unless they've changed, double quotes do NOT provide the same functionality as +. Double quotes operate as they always did, requiring a (more) exact pattern match (or at least grouping terms as a single string, I'm not sure.) + did something different: it required every result returned to include the designated term. Thus significantly narrowing results and preventing Google from vomiting up a bunch of unhelpful links.

This:

[greater share of +honor]

did not used to return the same thing as this

["greater share" of "honor"]
fuzzy match against exact strings "greater share" and "honor" and term 'of'

or

["greater share" +honor]

match against phrase "greater share" and ALL results MUST contain the word "honor"
or

[+"greater share" +honor]
ALL results MUST contain phrase "greater share" and the word "honor"

or
["greater share of honor"]

(Match against full string)

or

[+"greater share of honor"]
All matches MUST contain the EXACT full string

etc

posted by snuffleupagus at 2:38 PM on November 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


I am shocked, shocked that we have gone over 100 comments without anybody making a "partial credit" joke.

Partial credit, Metafilter. Partial credit.
posted by mightygodking at 2:41 PM on November 7, 2011


For the people who don't get all the chuff about this minor + issue, let me break it down a bit more.

For a company that prided itself on hiring super-smart, algorithm-pumping engineers, there is no user or use-case intent behind this change. It's clear that the recent changes across the Google products were done with a Yahoo-esque "let's unify our properties!" sort of goal, rather than considering the individual needs of each market/product. For example, the new design is horrific to people that actually use Google Reader (explained elsewhere in great detail).

For Google+, first of all the name is unsearchable by old Google. So clearly someone upstairs who doesn't understand or care about boolean search came up with it, because they had to rewrite how Google handles the + sign so it could be searched for as text rather than as a special character. This, in itself, would only be a minor annoyance, but in doing so they removed functionality of their search engine. Specifically, there used to be a clear boolean operators where + meant "MUST include" and quotes meant "treat this phrase as a single term." Now we're supposed to use quotes around single words to mean "MUST include" but that makes it impossible to search for a phrase without requiring it to appear in the results.

Losing this functionality is not a huge loss, but it is a needless loss and could have been handled by creating an alternative method (use ++, for example) but clearly the process went down something like:
- Bigwig decides "Google+" just HAS to be the name
- Programmers are tasked with sorting out how to fix everything to support the name
- Syntax problems become obvious and solutions are presented
- No solution is utilitized, boolean operators are left in an inconsistent state

Now maybe boolean operators gets fixed in the end, but I doubt it. It's clear that BRANDS and CONSISTENT DESIGN are the new Google. Predicting what you want is their new search goal (they've said as much), not giving you what you ask for. The old Google of barebones design and best search are no longer priorities. Everything is angling toward supporting advertiser needs rather than user needs.
posted by lubujackson at 2:41 PM on November 7, 2011 [29 favorites]


Looks like Google is getting to the point where they'll finally start hiring people like me!
posted by rhizome at 2:42 PM on November 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm trying a few plus searches right now...

Doesn't work:
Obama
Whitehouse
republican / GOP
Skyrim
Chrysler
Bacardi
Budweiser
Apple
Honda
Microsoft

Does work:
Pepsi
Google
Ford (but it's a 404)
Gmail
Dell
Android
Amazon

As I'm thinking about this, maybe it's an easy way for companies to make sure that people can get directly to their site without seeing any unpleasant "other" content in the process. I don't have literature to support it, but I would guess that many Internet users access content by typing it into their search bars instead of using direct URLs or browsing. Having an ostensible keyword system doesn't let your competitors put up advertisements to display when someone searches for your product, it just takes them right to the action.

So this is absolutely not something being developed in the interest of the user, but rather something to guarantee purity of message for advertisers.

I think the reason that this resonates for creepy for so many people is that Google is basically a public utility at this point, and is absolutely the central source of information for many, many people. Look over the shoulder of someone the next time they're using a computer, and see how many times they type something in to Google and click the first result. The trust and usage of what is essentially an advertising agency with a nice browser and a good search engine is astounding, and yet here we are.
posted by codacorolla at 2:43 PM on November 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


Fozzie Bear disagrees.

If we're going to have a derail, by all means, make it a Muppet derail. And use a sock puppet to make it!

One of the most disheartening things about this is it shows how committed Google is to this Google+ thing. Every option they co-opt into its service is one level less likely they'll Wave it aside, or Buzz it out the door. What's next, dedicated Chrome functionality? NO, don't answer that....
posted by JHarris at 2:44 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


And I'm still not happy with teh Google for hiding their page caches. What a few months ago took one click now requires me find the hidden hover button, click, mouse over to the edge of the screen, and click again.

Did they ever explain why they were doing this? Because that's really fucking annoying.
posted by longdaysjourney at 2:46 PM on November 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


One thing that does bother me is that Google has made it exceedingly difficult to get to the advance search page

It's under the "Gear" icon in the upper right hand corner, which one might argue is not exceedingly difficult, but is completely non-obvious and very annoying way of more or less hiding the feature.

A lot of Google's recent UI changes to their web offerings strike me as driven by a desire to keep up with some trends and display *some* kind of progress, even if it's floundering. Haven't found that very many of them actually make their offerings more convenient to use.
posted by weston at 2:47 PM on November 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Could someone describe what the +pepsi versus +coke searches are doing? I'm not seeing a difference here. Both give several links to main websites for the respective companies and seem the same as they would have before.

I think what I've found so baffling to me about Google's changes recently is that they just appear fundamentally weird as a user. Between the Google reader redesign with acres of useless whitespace and a few postage stamps of content, the struggle one has to engage in to do searches without an unspecified set of extra search terms, and generally a bunch of Google+ ineptness, it feels like no one who designs Google products actually uses them. Instead of integrating Google+ by giving it awesome features that I want to use, like a slick integration of Google+ and Reader could have been, they seem to be integrating it by forcing every other Google property to acknowledge its functionality by grafting on clunky-seeming hacks that get in the way of existing design. Surely they have too many really smart people working there to not notice this is a bad thing. It's a waste of huge amounts of talent.
posted by Schismatic at 2:49 PM on November 7, 2011


It's under the "Gear" icon in the upper right hand corner, which one might argue is not exceedingly difficult, but is completely non-obvious and very annoying way of more or less hiding the feature.

Oh, thanks. I never even thought to look there.
posted by codacorolla at 2:49 PM on November 7, 2011


Could someone describe what the +pepsi versus +coke searches are doing? I'm not seeing a difference here. Both give several links to main websites for the respective companies and seem the same as they would have before.

Google typically rolls out changes like this gradually over a day or so. For those of us who have the "Direct Connect" feature, searching for "+pepsi" bypasses the results page and sends us directly to Pepsi's G+ page, while "+coke" gives results identical to those for "coke".
posted by skymt at 2:53 PM on November 7, 2011


I'm not seeing a difference here. Both give several links to main websites for the respective companies and seem the same as they would have before.

Same here on google.ca, maybe it's only on .com so far?
posted by Lorin at 2:53 PM on November 7, 2011


Thanks skymt. Turns out that even though the Direct Connect business isn't rolled out for me with regards to Pepsi, it does function, if that's the right term, when I do a search for "+Google".
posted by Schismatic at 2:59 PM on November 7, 2011


I never even thought to look there.

With good reason.

You can also find it on the PacMan Page, BTW. :)
posted by weston at 3:01 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Google I worked for would never have done this. I left a long time ago and can't claim any influence on the company now, but it makes me sad to see them manipulate search results in this way. It's absolutely AOL Keywords (or RealNames) and it's a stupid feature. What's wrong with just returning the right result for searching [pepsi]? Why do I have to type [+pepsi]?

The only small saving grace is that (so far) Direct Connect is not paid for: they say "a page’s eligibility for Google+ Direct Connect is determined algorithmically". I'm sure they're not outright lying in saying that, but I'm also sure somehow Google's going to be making ad revenue off this product before they're done. (In the short term they lose revenue; no ads visible on the +keyword searches.)

A confounding issue is they've renamed the + boolean operator, requiring balanced quotes. That's stupid too. But what's really stupid is that operator is necessary at all. About two years ago Google got more aggressive about broadening results so that they often return irrelevant crap in response to carefully honed queries. I have a whole collection of bad examples. My favourite is due to waxpancake; searches for "wtc" were being rewritten to return any page with the numbers "9 11" in them. As if all searches for those three letters were about an act of mass murder on a specific date.

Bing is a viable alternative: Microsoft really has a solid search engine with good coverage, accuracy, and freshness. Every time I've tried to switch to Bing I find I miss all the integration with Google's other stuff (like maps), but at least there is an alternative.
posted by Nelson at 3:09 PM on November 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


-Don't +"be evil"
posted by Pinback at 3:11 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I work in IT and the loss of the plus operator is enough that I'm seriously looking for another search engine.

Although, I could be persuaded to stay if they give me an easy way to toggle "fuzzy" searches.

I have to search for error messages all the time, and it's getting harder and harder to just search for the damn keywords instead of assuming i'm misspelling every third word.
posted by empath at 3:14 PM on November 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


Google is well into Apple territory, where the program tells you how you want to use it, instead of the other way around.

The difference is that Apple's business model is predicated on selling you, the customer, devices that fulfil your wishes, while Google's is predicated on giving you free stuff and renting your eyeballs to advertisers. He who has the gold makes the rules, or at least has more of a stake in them.
posted by acb at 3:17 PM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'll forgive them if they give me back my "must contain exact term" operator like this:

Pepsi! Blue

Must have Pepsi and should mention blue.

"Pepsi Blue"!

Must have the phrase.

+Pepsi "Pepsi Blue"!

The phrase must be on Pepsi's corporate site.

Fuck! Pepsi! Blue! is how I feel about this bullshit. Google has been very dumb.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:38 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hated this when I ran across it the other day. Nice to see they've re-purposed a perfectly valid search syntax. I thought maybe it was just the library side of my SLIS degree that was reacting so negatively to the switch. Seeing that they've made this a Google-specific behavior now gets pretty much all of me upset.

While I'm on the Google rant thing, when did they start running all of their result links through their own proxy? Up until recently I could, via context menu, select Copy Link Location on a search result hyperlink and get the URL. Now you get an escaped string that is run through the http://google.com/url? proxy.

It has been a bad week for Google and I.
posted by Fezboy! at 3:48 PM on November 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


Does Apple analyse the content of iMessages the way Google analyses its + network? Does it sell to third parties like Google does? Do they make inferences based on my network of connections?

Their ability to play Big Brother is downright spooky: cameras and microphones, gps and wifi and cell everywhere, email and ip addresses, viewing habits, reading habits, search habits... And Apple has them everywhere.

What evil does Apple get up to with its iDevice network?
posted by five fresh fish at 3:50 PM on November 7, 2011


I seem to recall that at one point, people responded to things that Google did with well-earned enthusiasm instead of well-earned derision.
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:05 PM on November 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Five fresh fish, given Apple's moves toward increased user privacy (no longer offering advertisers access to things like phone IDs so they can track you, and things like that, if memory serves, as well as things like making each and every location-based service 100% opt-in), my guess is that they're continuing along their "success through generally pleasing the end user" marketing plans.
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:07 PM on November 7, 2011


when did they start running all of their result links through their own proxy?

Years ago, but the exact details vary based on whether you're logged in, what your preferences are about search history, and whether they're running a 1% experiment on you or not. There's two really obnoxious things about their implementation. One, they don't do anything to make it easy for you to copy the actual result URL. And two, there are much less intrusive ways to record what you clicked on than rewriting URLs.

Google recently rejiggered the proxy / rewrite stuff so that websites no longer get search keywords in Referer. This change arguably protects user privacy, and the switch to SSL everywhere confuses that discussion. But it's also a pretty major change whose end result is Google is sharing less info with the web than they used to. Unless you're an AdWords customer, that is, in which case Google's privacy argument goes out the window.
posted by Nelson at 4:11 PM on November 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


While I'm on the Google rant thing, when did they start running all of their result links through their own proxy? Up until recently I could, via context menu, select Copy Link Location on a search result hyperlink and get the URL. Now you get an escaped string that is run through the http://google.com/url? proxy.

They've been doing this for a while. It's especially obnoxious with PDFs -- if you want to link directly to one of those from Google search results, good luck, because they obfuscate the URL to hell and back.

For example, a straightforward URL like "http://drugabuse.gov/PDF/PODAT/PODAT.pdf" becomes "http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=drug%20treatment%20pdf&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CGkQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fdrugabuse.gov%2FPDF%2FPODAT%2FPODAT.pdf&ei=i3K4Tu--DbLciQLP4-jxBA&usg=AFQjCNEIhpGqCyvPE2z_DqXAsWbo70byqA&sig2=6IVLahy-dLTvRWoVnQ15gw&cad=rja", when you do a "Copy Link Location" from Google Search -- no joke! Worse yet, Google's results truncate "long" PDF URLs, so you can't even tell what the original was supposed to be unless you care to pick through the obfuscated version.
posted by vorfeed at 4:13 PM on November 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


I haven't looked at any press releases or anything - but is this really named Direct Connect? Like the file sharing protocol/utility?
posted by brokkr at 4:33 PM on November 7, 2011


that makes it impossible to search for a phrase without requiring it to appear in the results.


Please excuse my general cluelessness, but if you search for a phrase, don't you want it to appear in results, and if you don't want a phrase why not just put words in separately? I'm still not really clear on what this means, much to my chagrin.

Now, if it was my beloved "-" that was being taken away, I would be up in arms.
posted by smoke at 4:39 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I do alot of my academic work on google scholar, which i should change, but habits die hard. I have been working through an essay about meloncholia and depression, which means i accidentally googled depression and burton or something like that in the regular search engine--every time i have done t his, four or five times as we speak, is the incredibly problematic depresison hurts website, pushing pills. I have TRD, and so pills are contentious as hell for me, and i can negotiate the minefield--but b/c google makes money off eli lilly, et al and so someone new who is terrorfied and seeking treatment options, googles depression--and the first five or six entries are go to a gp and get a pill, and not to the CMHA or Samartians or whatever the American equivelent is, and that scares me.

I mean we can make pepsi blue jokes forever, but this might have some real life consquences.
posted by PinkMoose at 4:40 PM on November 7, 2011


All this because Google panicked about Facebook, and gave Google+ absolute power over every other functionality.

Reducing my dependency on Google has moved to the top of the list.
posted by jamjam at 4:49 PM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't see the difference between +Pepsi and +Coke

Top 5 Pepsi links in order:
www.pepsi.com
www.pepsico.com
www.pepsico.com/Careers.html
News for +pepsi
Pepsi - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Top 5 Coke links in order:
www.coca-cola.com
www.coca-cola.com/en/index.html
www.coca-cola.com.au/ (Australian? I live in the UK).
Coke (fuel) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Coke - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (Disambiguation page that needs some vandalism about cocaine cleaning up - now fixed)

OK, so coke suffers because it means other things. But I really don't see much difference here in the UK. What am I missing?
posted by Francis at 4:51 PM on November 7, 2011


But I really don't see much difference here in the UK. What am I missing?

Searching for +Pepsi doesn't do anything special for me either, and I am in Canada. Are they rolling this out by region?
posted by Gary at 5:03 PM on November 7, 2011


Francis, it doesn't work for everyone, but for me the "+pepsi" search goes directly to Pepsi's G+ page. It doesn't even display the search results -- I hit enter on the search box and it immediately loads this page.
posted by vorfeed at 5:05 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


In fact, the transition is so reminiscent of browser-jacking that I kind of wonder how many "halp, I have a virus in my googles!" emails they're going to get about this "feature".
posted by vorfeed at 5:09 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


It doesn't even display the search results -- I hit enter on the search box and it immediately loads this page.

Google Search.......................I'm Feeling Corporatey
posted by Trochanter at 5:10 PM on November 7, 2011


Wow, this thread is seriously weird. I've never used the + operator. I always just assumed it was something they stuck in there to help AltaVista and Lycos users who never realized they didn't need to use it. What exactly are the searches that you need the + operator for that you can't do without it?

One of the biggest things seems to be that people are still trying to find stuff using keywords rather then phrases. Someone actually said, specifically that you were supposed to use keywords, rather then phrases which is completely wrong.
Google recently rejiggered the proxy / rewrite stuff so that websites no longer get search keywords in Referer. This change arguably protects user privacy, and the switch to SSL everywhere confuses that discussion.
Well, if by 'confuses everything' you mean "make the question moot because browsers never forward referrers when they come from secured sites in the first place"
posted by delmoi at 5:12 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just how many Google users are actually aware of Boolean Search terms anyway?

It's probably a tiny minority of Google users who are aware. However, I wager that of those people on the internet who are aware of Boolean Search terms, a majority were using Google without question until a couple of weeks ago.

Annoying that fraction of your customers who are technically savvy is never a good idea, especially if they're the people mostly likely to recommend or unrecommend your products to others.
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:16 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


+Pepsi takes me to their Google+ page, but I'm using Google Chrome, and I'm signed in to a google account.
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:19 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


OK. But what if I want to search for the phrase "bonehead moves" with required inclusion (or emphasis) on google? What, in the old syntax, would have been, "bonehead moves" +google. How now?
What's wrong with "google "boneheaded moves"". Seem to work. (aside from the problems of 'googling for google', the term shows up on random web pages not related to google as a company, and so on) Of course you can also just search for "boneheaded moves by google" or "google's boneheaded moves"
Exactly. Most people don't understand search engines (search for the key words you want, not a sentence or question in your native language)
What? If you're actually saying you're supposed to use keywords with Google, rather then a phrase or natural language question then you're the one who doesn't understand how google works. It absolutely will work with a plain text question. For example, compare the results for "what's the best spaghetti recipe" and spaghetti +recipe or whatever. They both work fine.
I was part of the alpha test team for infoseek (ah, remember them?) and as such ended up with more than a little training in how search engines work.
You might have learned something about how to use infoseek circa 1995 but it's ridiculous to think that that carries over into using google in 2011.
Sounded pretty cool — now I would be able to search for C++ and C#! Silly me. I guess the '+' in 'Google+' stands for '+ advertising'.
You can search for C++ right now, and it's been possible for a long time. It works fine for C# as well.
For Google+, first of all the name is unreachable by old Google.
Again, no. That is a completely ridiculous thing to say. Google+ was searchable with old google, just like you could search for C++ and you can search for A+ right now. People are making a ton of assumptions about things they think that google can't do when in fact, google is perfectly capable of doing those things (finding search results for a phrase, not keywords, searching for things with the '+' character in the name, and so on)
it feels like no one who designs Google products actually uses them.
Or maybe they use them enough to know the + operator is superfluous.
---

It's not so much a question of people "new to internet search" but rather people who learned how to search the web with Altavista and Lycos and haven't realized that technology has moved on in the past decade and a half or so.

---
I'm not saying these new +whatever pages aren't lame. They probably are. Especially when you consider chrome intigration: If you type "+pepsi" or +Amazon into chrome's URL bar, you get taken directly to the google+ page. Which is lame.

I never liked the way the URL and search bars were 'merged' in chrome. it seems like google actually wants to foster the confusion between searching and typing a URL. And now with + by altering their search results to bring up google+ pages they are effectively hijacking the URL bar even further. There will be people out there who just type "+whatever" in chrome to go places, totally unaware of the difference between G+ and the web as a whole.

So yeah, I'm not a fan. But people really need to get with the times as far as how to use google.
posted by delmoi at 5:20 PM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Google dudes, you *need* multiple admins. Relying on a single person to forever admin a page leads to bylines like this:

Pepsi and the evolution of digital consumer engagement

Mmm, refreshing.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 5:22 PM on November 7, 2011


it seems like google actually wants to foster the confusion between searching and typing a URL.

The URL for the Pepsi Google Plus page is https://plus.google.com/111883881632877146615/posts. I've heard they are working on the horrible URLs, but at the moment I'd say they are actively being hostile towards people who want to type URLs.
posted by Gary at 5:24 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


However, I wager that of those people on the internet who are aware of Boolean Search terms, a majority were using Google without question until a couple of weeks ago

absolutely true. i'd been noticing my results were getting... shitty, for lack of a better term, in the last couple of weeks but hadn't dedicated any time into figuring out why.

now i know why.

also : What exactly are the searches that you need the + operator for that you can't do without it

it's not about finding things which otherwise wouldn't be found (although that is a factor in play, yes), it's about finding things with a minimum of bullshit results-browsing. if i know exactly what i'm looking for, i used to be able to get it IMMEDIATELY with proper boolean searches, no results-sifting necessary. this wastes my time, which is ostensibly the opposite of why we use a search engine.
posted by radiosilents at 5:24 PM on November 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Pepsi and the evolution of digital consumer engagement

Heh. I assumed this was a joke.

Worst. Intern. Ever.
posted by jaduncan at 5:32 PM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


> i used to be able to get it IMMEDIATELY with proper boolean searches,
> no results-sifting necessary. this wastes my time ...

Yup. I hate this shit.

Many carefully limited search strings I've suggested people try to get focused information over the years use the + limiter, scattered through blogs.

Now they may lead anyone who clicks on one into some commercial relationship.

And -- 'establishing a relationship' -- under the law -- permits the company to send direct advertising. US mail spam, email spam, phone spam, fax spam -- they can justify sending shit if they can show that a relationship exists.

Well, we knew it was coming. Google couldn't really have been as decent as they claimed.
But damn, they were almost believable up until now.
posted by hank at 5:36 PM on November 7, 2011


What evil does Apple get up to with its iDevice network?

Start with most App Store policies, continue into PC-based iTunes, for desert hiding the damn filesystem from the user without having to jailbreak the thing. There's more, but bleah.

The difference is that Apple's business model is predicated on selling you, the customer, devices that fulfil your wishes,

Not really. It's predicated on partnering with cell phone companies and content providers and App Store developers so they can get pieces of all those individual pies. Remember: an iPhone costs generally less than the same-gen iPod Touch, when you can get a similar iPT at all.

Google or Apple, neither is really terrific, they're just generally a bit better than the worse background static of tech companies. Google is a little less evil overall, but Apple has a little more vision.
posted by JHarris at 6:11 PM on November 7, 2011


All I wanted was a +pepsi.
posted by box at 6:37 PM on November 7, 2011


What exactly are the searches that you need the + operator for that you can't do without it?

Search for error messages from log files where there is specific information mixed in with the string -- for example:

Error: Foo failed on port 0/1. Reason: Bar failed after waiting for wiz response from device 02345.

You don't want to just quote the entire string because some of the information is unique to you. Sometimes error messages in different versions are worded differently. But you do want to make sure that 'foo', 'bar' and 'wiz' are all in the search results exactly, and not corrected to other words.

Sure you can double quote all of them now, but that's just extra keypresses for no good reason.
posted by empath at 6:42 PM on November 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Extra key presses seems a lot to get people so het up about.

I would be interested to see how badly the results of a search like that would have, sans either quotes or pluses. I get pretty good results with that, often.
posted by smoke at 6:45 PM on November 7, 2011


Annoying that fraction of your customers who are technically savvy is never a good idea, especially if they're the people mostly likely to recommend or unrecommend your products to others.

When I did desktop support for the federal government after google first came out, I was personally responsible for installing google toolbar on hundreds of computers and setting people's home page to google, (completely without approval), because I was tired of troubleshooting pop-up problems and ie bullshit from people.

I realize google doesn't need people like me any more, but there isn't that much stopping some else from eating their lunch. Maybe google doesn't care about search any more, but other companies are still working on it. If google isn't careful, they're going to to wake up one day having lost their core business identity.
posted by empath at 6:46 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Extra key presses seems a lot to get people so het up about.

Nobody likes when people make their jobs harder for no good reason, especially when it's something you do all the time.
posted by empath at 6:48 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've never used the + operator. I always just assumed it was something they stuck in there to help AltaVista and Lycos users who never realized they didn't need to use it. What exactly are the searches that you need the + operator for that you can't do without it?

You didn't used to need + on Google searches. In fact, I think the results page or at least the search tips page would say that it was unnecessary on Google because it always searched as though there was an AND operator between every term. At some point, they abandoned this to start giving fuzzy results like every other search engine. But their old method is exactly why Google was such a revelation when it first appeared, and why their results drive me nuts when I'm searching for a precise term now. I don't care how if I can search for natural language questions if the basic usage of searching for keywords is broken! Thanks to this thread I think I'll be switching most of my searching over to DuckDuckGo.
posted by stopgap at 7:13 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just googled "jump the shark" and the first result was Google!!!
Actually, no, but the truth is I have been dabbling in Bing lately, and it is damn good.
Thats it, I am changing my default search engines on ALL my various devices to Bing.
Thanks Google, was a lot of good times.
posted by jcworth at 7:19 PM on November 7, 2011


I think Google will now let you "+" your favorite porn star... Google TV Gets Porn App.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:22 PM on November 7, 2011


How does DuckDuckGo make money?
posted by Anything at 7:22 PM on November 7, 2011


empath wrote

Error: Foo failed on port 0/1. Reason: Bar failed after waiting for wiz response from device 02345.

You don't want to just quote the entire string because some of the information is unique to you. Sometimes error messages in different versions are worded differently.


Here's another piece of google query syntax that can help there, and might not be well known: wildcards.

If I'm looking for information on the message "ntpd[749]: kernel time sync status change", where 749 is the process ID of ntpd and will be different for someone else, I can do a search for ["ntpd[*]: kernel time sync status change"] (or, because punctuation often doesn't matter, ["ntpd * kernel time sync status change"]).
posted by jjwiseman at 7:23 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


+fuck does not return a product.
posted by jet_silver at 7:23 PM on November 7, 2011


How does DuckDuckGo make money?

It's on their FAQ:

A couple of ways.  First, there is some minimal advertising in the right column with providers that work within our privacy principles, i.e. no targeting or sharing IP addresses to serve ads.  The other way we make money is via affiliate sales, e.g. Amazon and eBay.  This affiliate model also doesn't share personal information -- see our privacy policy for details.
posted by stopgap at 7:26 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, thanks. I thought I skimmed the FAQ thoroughly enough but I missed that.
posted by Anything at 7:29 PM on November 7, 2011


it's not about finding things which otherwise wouldn't be found (although that is a factor in play, yes), it's about finding things with a minimum of bullshit results-browsing. if i know exactly what i'm looking for, i used to be able to get it IMMEDIATELY with proper boolean searches, no results-sifting necessary.
Again, can you give me an example of a search you would do using +? Do your searches still work on other search engines?
Many carefully limited search strings I've suggested people try to get focused information over the years use the + limiter, scattered through blogs.
Examples?
Search for error messages from log files where there is specific information mixed in with the string -- for example:

Error: Foo failed on port 0/1. Reason: Bar failed after waiting for wiz response from device 02345.
I would just search for several words in a row, like "bar failed after waiting for wiz", with quotes. I don't really recall ever having a problem, although it doesn't come up all that often
posted by delmoi at 8:44 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


fnerg wrote: It's completely opposite of the original meaning of "do no evil" as meant by Larry and Sergey back in the day

If this, of all things, meets your threshold for evil, I question the viability of your moral framework.
posted by wierdo at 8:51 PM on November 7, 2011


Use allintext: at the beginning of your query to ensure that your results come from the text of a page rather than the text of links to the page. This is probably what you wanted anyway.
posted by jewzilla at 8:58 PM on November 7, 2011


If this, of all things, meets your threshold for evil, I question the viability of your moral framework.

It's not murder, but yes, it can still be a little evil. Meditate on this truth now.
posted by JHarris at 9:04 PM on November 7, 2011


delmoi, yes i'm aware you can use quotes. But the other way worked and was easier.
posted by empath at 9:13 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


can you give me an example of a search you would do using +?

Well, here's a non-specific example, since I don't tend to write it down when it happens.

Let's say I'm having a problem with a piece of cross-platform software called Foobarbaz. It pops up an error message saying "Couldn't frobnicate." I go to Google and I try this:
foobarbaz "couldn't frobnicate"
And what I get is a bunch of forum posts about that happening on the Windows version, with Windows-specific troubleshooting steps that simply don't translate to Linux. So I do this:
foobarbaz "couldn't frobnicate" linux
And what I get is... exactly the same forum posts. I open up the cached version of one of them, to see why the hell it thought they were relevant, and in the header box it says something like "These search terms are highlighted: foobarbaz couldn't frobnicate   These terms only appear in links pointing to this page: linux"

So then I have to go back up and knock in a + before the word "linux". Or, I guess, now I'm going to have to put in a double-quote before it and another one after it. Which is almost exactly twice as irritating.
posted by Kalthare at 9:14 PM on November 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


Awesome! Now I can advertise my company on G+! But I'll still get deleted if I want to use a name that doesn't sound like a normal white person's name.

+nevermind
posted by egypturnash at 9:17 PM on November 7, 2011


hank wrote: And -- 'establishing a relationship' -- under the law -- permits the company to send direct advertising. US mail spam, email spam, phone spam, fax spam -- they can justify sending shit if they can show that a relationship exists.

Merely visiting a website does not establish a relationship, any more than walking in front of a brick and mortar store and looking in the windows establishes a relationship.

JHarris, if the threshold for "evil" is "anything I don't like," it's a meaningless term. There are a lot of things I don't like that aren't evil. Meditate on that.
posted by wierdo at 9:40 PM on November 7, 2011


If this, of all things, meets your threshold for evil, I question the viability of your moral framework.

I QUESTION THE SPELLING OF YOUR USERNAME!!

Seriously though, as I said earlier, it's a lazy oversimplification for something that was very relevant when the statement was first made. It's not literally evil, just like you're not literally hitler, but it's a step away from just giving the user what they were looking for in an unbiased sort of way.
posted by fnerg at 9:41 PM on November 7, 2011


And just because it's relevant to the conversation, here's the Wikipedia page:

Don't be evil
posted by fnerg at 9:44 PM on November 7, 2011


I got tired of Google a while back, mostly because it doesn’t work right anymore. I spent a while trying every other search engine I could, and settled on DuckDuckGo. For the last year it’s been my search engine. When I occasionally end up using Google or Bing (usually on accident) I’m reminded how much they suck.
posted by bongo_x at 10:14 PM on November 7, 2011


The number of redesigns/feature changes on popular websites that have not been compared to the holocaust by at least someone still stands at 0.
posted by Artw at 10:16 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Let's say I'm having a problem with a piece of cross-platform software called Foobarbaz. It pops up an error message saying "Couldn't frobnicate." I go to Google and I try this:

foobarbaz "couldn't frobnicate"

And what I get is a bunch of forum posts about that happening on the Windows version, with Windows-specific troubleshooting steps that simply don't translate to Linux. So I do this:
In that situation I would have tried "foobarbaz "couldn't frobnicate" -windows"

Like I said I don't do queries for technical errors like that too often for me to notice a problem. Usually it works, sometimes it doesn't, since not every error is actually common enough for it to be an issue
posted by delmoi at 10:19 PM on November 7, 2011


The nerfing of Google Reader this week, and the weird recent changes to the New Tab screen on Chrome (which completely removed a vital function for no reason), have made me really uneasy about the power relationship I have with this company. I hope there's enough grumbling reaction to stuff like this to provoke a rethink in what changes are made for what purpose, but I'm not hopeful. Feels a bit like the end of a golden age in a way.
posted by rollick at 10:19 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


and the weird recent changes to the New Tab screen on Chrome (which completely removed a vital function for no reason)
I just looked at that. I'd been noticing the thumbnails had disappeared and been replaced with what looked like an ad for angry birds, but is actually an "apps" tab in came you've "installed" some "chrome apps" or whatever (which I haven't done). It wasn't a big deal for me since I mostly use firefox for surfing, and chrome for web design or anything that uses a ton of javascript.

But it turns out that it's actually a tab, and if you look at the bottom of the window there are links for 'most visited' and 'apps'. Click "most visited" and it will switch over.

This sort of thing is dumb, though because they are sacrificing usability for aesthetics here. They did the same thing in reader where they got rid of the 'traditional' scroll bars and replaced them with ones that were really subtle and hard to notice.

Anyway I would love it if everyone went back to firefox. Mozilla is a non-profit foundation, not a corporation. I think it's a good thing that a major player in the browser space is working for the benefit of the web, rather then trying to figure out how to extract as much cash as possible.
posted by delmoi at 10:32 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Most Visited screen is still there, but if you dismiss a tab from it there's no way to get it back, as far as I can tell. It'll probably get fixed in a later update, but it's extra annoying in that I have no real choice in when to update chrome -- it happens when Google wants it to happen, and that's that. Again, it's a thing that used to be fairly seamless, and now has changed for the worse in what seems a bit of a rush.

Going back to Firefox is probably a good idea, as there's other some customisability features I've been missing lately.
posted by rollick at 10:41 PM on November 7, 2011


In that situation I would have tried "foobarbaz "couldn't frobnicate" -windows"

Okay, well, that was a bad example, both for that reason and because "linux" has a particularly high likelihood to show up in unrelated header/footer/sidebar material. It was just all I could come up with off the top of my head. The basic idea I was trying to express is that Google has a bad habit lately of not taking search terms seriously, and going back and telling it to do so is now going to involving adding characters to twice as many spots in the search string.

However...

Like I said I don't do queries for technical errors like that too often for me to notice a problem

Okay, so, this doesn't affect you. There are many not-you people who this does affect. I'm assuming that you're not offering advice to those people, but trying to find out why you, personally, should be concerned about this.

I sort of feel that way about Google Reader, I admit. I don't think Reader even entered my consciousness before its recent maiming, and honestly, nothing I've read about it since then has indicated to me that it's something I would've used even if I'd been aware of it.

The answer to both of those is Google+. They're demonstrating that they're willing to throw absolutely everything — even their search service, which made their company name a common verb — into the Google+ bonfire. These things add up to a warning that any Google product or service stands to be egregiously retooled to become a part of Google+, if not utterly eliminated so its resources can be redirected. These things — not Reader, not Labs, not the + operator, not the Apps migration, but all of them together — are a warning not to rely on Google's products and services, because they can no longer be relied upon.

[And if that was meant to be advice, then please be aware that it basically boiled down to "be me, and then you won't have a problem with it".]
posted by Kalthare at 11:12 PM on November 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


This is ridiculous, considering how trivial it would have been to make it work in a way that better matched their brand .why push "+pepsi" when "pepsi+" would have matched Google+ better AND not borked my search results...

(Apologies if someone else has said this above me... Longer threads suck on a phone screen)
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 12:14 AM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have allowed myself to become increasingly and now utterly dependant on the products and services Google offers over the years, foolishly believing that that whole semi-apocryphal 'don't be evil' stuff was for real. Maybe it even was, back in the day.

I regret it now, taking the easy way, but I find it hard to imagine how difficult it would be to disengage at this point -- not just an array of email accounts, but apps for domains, analytics for all my sites, adsense, fuck me, a whole lot more besides. And I don't even use Google+ or whatever it's called.

I simply don't have time to make the effort to deGoogleize now that they've wormed themselves to deeply into my online life, though I am beginning to wish I could. I guess, just like advertising itself, that was the plan from the start.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:46 AM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


delmoi: Like I said I don't do queries for technical errors like that too often for me to notice a problem. Usually it works, sometimes it doesn't, since not every error is actually common enough for it to be an issue

I do, and I can assure you that I don't usually start out with a search like +foo +bar -baz "PHP Fatal error: Allowed memory size of" "bytes exhausted". Rather, I work my way to a query that looks like that after simpler searches return a bunch of irrelevant results.

Now what are 'foo', 'bar' and 'baz' in this context? For me, they're often library and/or module names. That is, I know what the error means, in general, but I'm looking specifically for information about why the library 'foo' and module 'bar' I'm using (and not some other module 'baz') might be throwing that error, and, as I said, I worked my way to that detailed query after my less-carefully-crafted ones returned too many irrelevant results. It's a helpful way to refine the results, to drill down through the cruft to get to a few relevant results in a mass of irrelevant, but somehow related ones.

I used the plus operator, on average, probably once a day, and generally only after a query without the operator returned too many results to comb through.
posted by syzygy at 12:46 AM on November 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Finally, I can google "C++"!

Or more aptly, "Google+".
posted by erniepan at 1:03 AM on November 8, 2011


JHarris, if the threshold for "evil" is "anything I don't like," it's a meaningless term. There are a lot of things I don't like that aren't evil. Meditate on that.

Ah, but why don't I like it? Is it right to dismiss that opinion as mere whim? Your flat rejection of the possibility this could be evil is a simple assertion, made with the assumption that it's so obvious that naturally people would agree with you. But there are plenty of people in this thread who have made the same point I have, so your assertion carries no rhetorical weight. Om....

So let's get into specifics. This is a new form of advertising. The encroachment of advertising into search services was the origin of Google's "Don't Be Evil" motto. They themselves defined adulterating their search results as evil. When you enter +Pepsi, you don't get a "Sponsored Page" message. Instead, you get a page that Google was paid to establish, and one for a corporate name, one that ordinary people have to fight to get if they want anything other than their actual name.

You might argue that of course, people will learn that the + sign means asking Google specifically for advertising. I reckon that will become as widespread as the knowledge that adding + to a search term before the change had a special meaning -- that is to say, little-known-enough that Google felt they could discard that feature with two weeks' notice and replace it with advertising!

It's less evil than playing for unmarked search engine placement, but then, I already said that. Now that you've gotten me to state my case (and this is like the second time), are you going to engage with it? Or will you dodge it, or dismiss it as just something someone else, some stupid person, doesn't like?
posted by JHarris at 1:52 AM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


why push "+pepsi" when "pepsi+" would have matched Google+ better AND not borked my search results...

Demonstrating that an ounce of "Don't be stupid" is worth a pound of "Don't be evi" grandstanding.
posted by Dr Dracator at 1:58 AM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Just installed the DuckDuckGo add-on in my Firefox. Thanks, guys.
posted by likeso at 4:04 AM on November 8, 2011


(and that sounded vaguely... erotic?)
posted by likeso at 4:05 AM on November 8, 2011


Q: How many message board posters does it take to change a light bulb?

A: Why would you want to do that? My light bulb is fine!
posted by Legomancer at 5:51 AM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


A: Three.
Particularly when one of them says, "Mozilla is a non-profit foundation, not a corporation. I think it's a good thing that a major player in the browser space is working for the benefit of the web, rather then trying to figure out how to extract as much cash as possible."
posted by likeso at 5:55 AM on November 8, 2011


I remember how awesome Google was when it first came out. I have no way of explaining to people ten years younger than me how hard it was to find shit on the web. You needed to know all sorts of boolean operators, then take the chance the longed for result was in your chosen engine's cache (altavista). So then you tried hotbot, and infoseek, and eventually yahoo.
All of a sudden, google just worked. It had an algorithm that selected the right pages out of it's cache, and it worked hard to grow that cache to be comprehensive!
Now google is breaking one of the search operators they taught us to use.
But that is not the shitty, annoying bit.
The shitty, annoying bit is they are breaking it in the hope of teaching the millions who didn't ever learn it in the first place that it has a new meaning.
Could there be a more useless waste of energy? Google+ (or at least +pages) will circle the drain of pointlessness for a couple of years. Nobody on the internet is wishing there was a shortcut to the 'brands they love'. And I'll be annoyed because I used to use the + operator a bit.
And Google will earn less money, and look a bit stupid to the more web savvy public.
It's no biggie, but it is disappointing from a company I thought got the internet.
posted by bystander at 6:06 AM on November 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


Thanks, Nelson/vorfeed. I'd not seen this behavior. As recently as two weeks ago I copied/pasted a link from a results page directly into a text document. I did a bit of searching but didn't come up with any announcement or anyone else complaining about this. Probably should have used a different search engine ;)
posted by Fezboy! at 6:38 AM on November 8, 2011


Interestingly, the local bike shop spotlighted in the promo video (Zen Bikes) doesn't have a + page. Nor is there a single "coffee shop we're loyal to," as promised in the promo text.

Below are the brands that have created Google+ pages so far, as shown by looking at the autocomplete results of a through z.

A:
Amazon
AT&T
Angry Birds
ABC News

B:
Burberry
Angry Birds

C:
Google Chrome
Coldplay
Dallas Cowboys
DC Comics

D:
Dell
Dallas Cowboys
DC Comics

E: none

F:
Fox News

G:
Google
Google Maps
Gmail
Google+

H:
H&M

I: none

J: none

K:
Kia Motors

L: none

M:
Macy's
Marvel
Google Maps
T-Mobile

N:
New York Times
Fox News
ABC News

O: none

P:
Pepsi
Phoenix Suns
Google+

Q: none

R: none

S:
Save the Children UK
Phoenix Suns

T:
T-Mobile
Toyota USA
YouTube

U:
Uniqlo

V: none

W:
WWE

X:
X Games

Y:
Youtube

Z: none


I still find it hard to believe that Google wouldn't launch a simple Zen Bikes page to offer at least one local business among all of the global corp brands that make up the list. (There is one charity, Save the Children, and one band, Coldplay - everything else appears to be for-profit corporate owned.) What conclusions about Google Pages are we supposed to draw from this initial list?
posted by mark7570 at 6:40 AM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


(Correction - there is a Zen Bikes page on Google+, just no "Direct Connect" linkage for you to find it with a "+Zen Bikes" search.)
posted by mark7570 at 6:59 AM on November 8, 2011


I just want to know what happened to my search text box at the bottom of my search results screen. After a page of results shows me how my search was badly formatted, I could just edit the string right where I was. At first turning off Instant brought it back, but instant is still off, and I lost my search box.

I am, however, delighted to know that view cache is still available, hiding somewhere. Is there a greasemonkey plugin that will automatically show it?
posted by jeather at 6:59 AM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


The thing that annoyed me about the commercial pages last night, and which I'm still annoyed about this morning, is that commercial accounts are problematic from a security point of view. Now if you post something to "your circles" (i.e., non-public but otherwise unrestricted), it'll be shown to whoever controls the brand pages you've circled. This is not cool.

I understand G+ has adopted the livejournal filters whole hog for circles, but if you're going from the lj code metaphors, the dreamwidth models where access and reading are separate functions is a lot nicer. (Since they use the same "circle" terminology as dw, I'd be shocked if the G+ engineer/design team didn't know that model). As it is, they've managed to fuck up an admittedly minor privacy point here in a way that makes Facebook look good.

(And I've already had the lecture on "segregating them into their own circle and not posting to that circle", thanks. If I want to post general non-public stuff, I don't want to bother with that. I choose whether to expose general non-public posts to a person by circling them or not. I'm not dedicated enough to G+ to be bothered about picking circles for posts unless it's something I want to limit to a very few people: otherwise my posts are public or non-public. I'm not going to close my account in a fit of pique but it's another brain-dead decision that will reduce my posting and interaction on G+ compared to the other social networks I use--and I won't be circling any brand pages. I'll follow bands on Facebook where they won't get to read posts I limit to friends.)
posted by immlass at 7:07 AM on November 8, 2011


and one band, Coldplay - everything else appears to be for-profit corporate owned

*cough*
posted by Dr Dracator at 7:08 AM on November 8, 2011 [4 favorites]


mark7570: "What conclusions about Google Pages are we supposed to draw from this initial list?"

That they approached companies that are likely to be have popular pages?

I suspect the real value of this, if there is one, will emerge as smaller, less commercial outfits set up their pages. It seems like everyone I follow on Google+ has posted a page today, and it's been fascinating to see the variety of small businesses, niche interest weblogs, unsigned bands, historical preservation societies, charities, craft and hobby clubs, &c., &c.. It's all stuff I might well want to 'build a relationship' with (even if I wouldn't use such a creepy phrase to describe the process!).
posted by jack_mo at 7:08 AM on November 8, 2011


What exactly are the searches that you need the + operator for that you can't do without it?

Google's aggressive query broadening often returns irrelevant pages for precise queries. Their general heuristic these days seems tuned to favour pages with high page rank over pages that match your precise query terms. So for instance, searching for [ZR2240w macos lion] returns 3 pages that have absolutely nothing to do with the ZR2240w monitor. Including the Wikipedia page for Mac OS X Lion and Apple's Australian page about Lion, two high page rank but otherwise useless results. I now have to search ["ZR2240w" macos lion] to find the relevant pages.

More generally, Google's query rewriting sabotages people who know how to make specific queries. It used to be all the words had to be in the page; now it's much more vague. It often guesses wrong for me. I'm the first to admit it's fuzzy; Google also treats [mac os] as a synonym for [macos]. That's a useful rewrite, one I'm glad for. I wish they'd just use the "did you mean.." UI to provide a single click to precise query results in all cases. They don't, though.
posted by Nelson at 7:13 AM on November 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


I feel that there is a joke/Simpsons reference to be made about wanting a Tab.

Anyhoo... I used to use the + operator all the time. I usually have a pretty clear idea of what I'm looking for, and rarely find google's suggestions helpful. Using quotation marks feels really clumsy in comparison, although I'm sure I'll get used to it.

I still really hate the live preview thing on the search page.

Ultimately I think a lot of Google's recent changes may have been made with illiteracy in mind. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it sure is frustrating to more 'expert' users.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 7:15 AM on November 8, 2011


I think a lot of Google's recent changes may have been made with illiteracy in mind

I think perhaps "profit" might be a more apt word than "illiteracy".
posted by davejay at 8:09 AM on November 8, 2011


I still really hate the live preview thing on the search page.

I believe this is Google Instant, which you can turn off somewhere. It's fun for about 12 seconds of watching it guess what you're going to type, and then it's just annoying.
posted by jeather at 8:16 AM on November 8, 2011


"build relationships" with brands and companies? How do you build a relationship with someone who is by design a sociopath?
posted by tigrrrlily at 8:28 AM on November 8, 2011


I think perhaps "profit" might be a more apt word than "illiteracy".

The two aren't unconnected. As computer usage grows, the number of users who are technically unskilled and/or have low functional literacy increases as well, and probably forms the bulk of the consumer/"product" base Google isn't reaching already.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 8:32 AM on November 8, 2011


How's Firefox doing on performance these days? And UI stability?

I used to use it over Chrome, but sometime in the v3 era I just started to feel like I was (a) having to re-learn where everything was every six months and (b) I couldn't put up with the memory hogging and the relatively slow page rendering compared to Chrome anymore. Then there was the fact that the JavaScript performance was just so much better (I could actually play JS-emulated NES games at speed in Chrome).

I'd happily go back. I just spend so much time on the web that I feel like a browser that doesn't perform well is going to waste a lot of my time.

(Although, I just checked and it looks like FF6 addresses a giant pet-peeve for me: the apparent decision over the last couple of years for browsers to favor pagewide zooming -- including layout and images -- over just changing the size of the type. If performance doesn't suck anymore, that might be enough for me to go back...)
posted by weston at 10:41 AM on November 8, 2011


Well, today's Firefox (8) only broke one plug-in I use, so that's progress.
posted by Artw at 10:42 AM on November 8, 2011


I am, however, delighted to know that view cache is still available, hiding somewhere. Is there a greasemonkey plugin that will automatically show it?

Greasemonkey script to disable live preview and restore cache links.
posted by Lorin at 12:11 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've been cranky about some of the changes to Google's search for a while, and now I've been pushed over. I've spent the last day with DuckDuckGo as my default search engine. I've been surprised by how satisfied I've been with the results.
posted by Zed at 11:24 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


The number of redesigns/feature changes on popular websites that have not been compared to the holocaust by at least someone still stands at 0.

GOD DAMN YOU TO HELL TWITTER WHAT THE FUCK HAVE YOU DONE WITH RETWEETS AND WHAT IS THIS ACTIVITY TAB BULLSHIT?
posted by Artw at 2:18 PM on November 9, 2011


I like the new Twitter changes in that "mentions" now include retweets and favorites. I ignore the Activity tab, which seems useless unless the existing timeline isn't enough of a firehose for you already.
posted by grouse at 9:04 PM on November 9, 2011


Just had another fun few minutes trying to figure out what Google had done with its cached results. Eventually it occurred to me the previews (which I haven't used much -- if I want to see the site, I click on the search result) might have them, and lo, there they were.
posted by weston at 10:58 AM on November 11, 2011


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