Coursey: Is Google Forgetting Its Task?

David Coursey isn’t happy with the results he’s been getting at Google and would like the company to spend less time adding more content (ie. library books) and more time making the results better.

I wish that along with the libraries announcement that Google had demonstrated some great strides it had made in improving search results…My Google searches today are significantly less useful than the searches I made just a year ago. This is partially a reflection of the ever-increasing size of Google’s collection, but it also shows how information providers have learned to spoof Google’s robotic system. The amount of commercial content that comes up as search results has dramatically increased. I’m not talking about the paid listings, but unsponsored stuff that looks like a result but is actually just a sales pitch of some sort.”

A couple of comments:
+ I’ve heard similar comments (“Google searches today are significantly less useful…”) from others during 2004. My point has always been, no one ever said that you must Google. When was the last time you looked at what others offer? Also, as tools like Jux2 point out, it might be a good idea to use more than one large web database even if Google works well for you.

+ Coursey’s comments touch on something I’ve been saying for a long time. A bigger index doesn’t always mean a better index especially when you look at how the “typical” searcher searchers. For many, the Invisible Web has become everything beyond the first 5 or 7 results.
This is also why I believe the future is bright for vertical/specialized search tools. In other words, there isn’t just one reference book in a library or on your bookshelf.

+ What will I be able to do with the full text material I can access via Google print? I was told you will not be able to print it but what about annotating it? Saving it locally? Mailing pages to a colleague? Will I be able to download out-of-copyright content and read it offline? Some of these services are currently available from companies like ebrary and NetLibrary.

+ Many of the articles I’ve read about Google’s library announcement spend almost no time mentioning that this is a long term project and very little material is currently available.

+ Note to Google. As you add more Google Print content to your database and share the results via a One-Box on a serp, you’re going to need better job with the title info you provide.

Yesterday, I came across what looked like a copy of Huckleberry Finn from the Google Print database. It turns out that this item is really a guide (aka Cliffs Notes) about the book.

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