I have managed to use Google search to find many needles from massive haystack over quite a few years now, but I am finding it more and more useless over time.
Most recently it seems that Google has removed the very useful plus operator
+ which allowed you to force the results to ONLY include pages that have that word (i.e. exclude pages that DONT have that word.) This is very useful in particular when searching for technical information, for example information on old electronic components. You can use it to skip both the many legitimate shops, and the almost spam like results of useless B2B sites which seem to just mine each others data and return lists of items apparently for sale, thusly:
+widget1 +widgetkeyword2 +word3 -sale -price
This works better than simply excluding sale and price, because by default without it you would get too many results because any of widget1, widgetkeyword2 or word3 would be returned instead of sites with just ALL of them.
But Google have since removed this most useful operator. For a detailed discussion including useless corporate replies from Google, see here: ( Boolean + operator removed? Why? )
This explains why I seem to find it harder and harder to narrow down to what I need these days. Maybe I’m just getting older and it is yet another new year but I swear the web is getting more dumbed down than it used to be (lets call it the Facebook and Google effect…)
I am still reading through the seven pages of discussion, but I certainly agree with the most obvious truism:
If it ain't broke, don't fix it > >
And on page 2 of the discussion contributor “bluequoll” sums it up for me really:
The basic reason for withdrawing the "+" operator seems to be related to searches for [ google
+ ] and [ + 1 ]. > > <... snipped ...> > > because they are unaware of the correct terminology, Google have to allow for searches which include the special character "+" as a separate search term, so have to withdraw its use as an useful operator. > To fly in the face of accepted practice to accommodate users who don't know the correct name of the items they are searching for is stupid beyond belief! Surely the search algorithm can be tweaked to recognize the combination of google + being equivalent to google+. > > Google are fast alienating themselves from serious searchers. I have previously used the "+" operator in front of certain terms in a search to signify that search results "must contain this term". Double quotes around single words doesn't seem to achieve this, so how do I now force results which only include certain search terms (i.e. the opposite of the "-" operator)? > > </blockquote> His response (quoted above) and many other do a better job than me at summarising the problems with this. Cynical me supposes I should not have been surprised at this really.
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