It used to be that you could make Google include terms in search results by placing the + symbol before them in queries. Not any more! Writing for Wired, Andy Baio covers Google’s increasing willingness to muck around with your search queries and how to work around it. [Wired]
It used to be that by adding the “+” forced that word to explicitly be on the page, not in some sort of meta part based on Google’s magic computers.
Now to do the same thing requires twice as much work – placing quotes around everything.
All so it can use the + symbol for Google+ like Twitter uses the hash (#).
The reason Google took over with search are many but one of the basic things was how it combined the words in the search. It allowed very simple control over a search, meaning that the often arcane commands many earlier search engines used became unnecessary.
But as time has gone on, they have meddled with this. I often do searches where some of the words I use are not found on the page at all. It becomes a worthless search. Putting the “+” in front of a word helped make sure I would find it. Other’s have commented on this exact thing.
Now, to make it more convenient for their social service – which copies other services – they are harming their whole reason for existing.
Because it appears that the branding of “+” for their social services is now more important than their core product. Companies fail when branding becomes such a core part of their business, especially when it overshadows core business units.
There are already beginning to appear competitors to Google search that may find a large niche here if Google continues to take it eyes off the prize.
I know I will be looking for a service that acts more like the original Google than this new bastard version.