Since search results are obviously impacted by the logical structure of the search term (or Boolean expression), I'd be happy if Google would just spend some of its vast resources to improve the performance of their search operators and filters, which do not work reliably. I don't mind taking some responsibility for the relevance of Google's results by knowing how to construct a search term, by examining results and refining the search term as needed, applying a date filter, filetype filter, inurl, quotes around phrases, operators, etc., Unfortunately, these extra efforts on my side aren't always rewarded on Google's side as they should be - and in fact sometimes it's as if you needn't have bothered.
...and is there any one of us who hasn't at times suspected that Google's algorithm checks in with the Advertising Sales Department before shipping the (so-called "organic") results out the door? There have been times when I could think of no other explanation for the low relevancy of the results or their ranking.
As someone who does research and business intelligence, online and off, I never confine myself to page 1, 2 or even 3 of Google's results. I've found hits that should have been in one of the top three or four positions - by ANY measure of RELEVANCE - languishing on page 8, or 10...or lower. So, Google is rarely my first choice anyway, especially if there's a specialized search engine available that doesn't get its results from Google. I've even gotten better results faster by drilling down through topical directories.
What can I say? For "casual" searches, Google is okay, and no better than okay. However, when a search matters - REALLY matters - Google stinks. We even have a name in our organization for researchers who rely on Google. With a nod to the fashion of mashing up words, we call them foogles - and the "g" is silent.
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