Saturday, September 30, 2017

Google Search Frustration

Is it pointless to hope that Google Search, and perhaps all Internet search, won't come to be an exercise in futility? Search technology seems to have become the indexing of the lowest common denominator of all human achievement. Of course, we all want search results to be relevant, which means, we want to see the result closest to what we are probably searching for. The problem is, pop culture has now hijacked so many of the common phrases, and even individual words, that we use to make our searches. Look at "Scream," the movie, a one-word title. Quite often, the first fifty results on a page are pages for games or animated cartoons or movies. Media titles so often make use of common phrases, proverbs, and cliches. So do we, in our searches, but heaven help us if we are searching, say "mystic," or "skeleton key" or "kidnapped" or "scream," in hopes of finding something other than a film of the same title....

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Am I the only one...?

Am I the only one who is always searching for answers to technical questions, and then being disappointed because the answers are too... ahem... technical? The science of computing really is over my head. I just want to have a little website, with no hassles about it. I'm not at all comfortable with tech talk. They might as well be speaking Greek. Just call me "the fearful geek."

Friday, July 7, 2017

Fake News? Nonsensical Mashup in Google Search of Bonnie and Clyde

Fake news? Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, better known as simply "Bonnie and Clyde," a female and male, were a couple of American outlaws who died in a gory showdown with the police in 1934. A Google Search turned up a false bit of American history in the featured snippets block at the top of the search-results page. The snippet is a nonsensical mashup. A logical reading of the following result would lead one to believe that Bonnie and Clyde (a) were both men; and (b) both lived through their "final" showdown. Neither statement is true.

Nonsense in Google Search result clip about Bonnie and Clyde
As it turns out, the error is in the mashup, not in the source site for the statements. It is just an accidental bit of nonsense. At the time of the search, the clip had no link directly under it, but a little further down in the block, a link was provided for its introductory sentence, "How many bullets were fired at Bonnie and Clyde in their final showdown?" That link pointed to a Tripod user's personal page, "The Last Day for Bonnie and Clyde," or "Gibsland Ambush." A quick perusal of the page showed a correctly written history, which had been clipped into the nonsensical mashup. The first two sentences of the above answer were clipped from a paragraph about Barrow and Parker (Bonnie and Clyde). The third sentence, which makes the result seem humorously incorrect, is from a separate photo caption about two witnesses, both men, who only heard two shots. The result seems slightly humorous, in a morbid way, but is not as frustrating as the frequently misleading mashup results from that are produced by genealogy searches.

Suggested Reading: Nuclear Physics Prank: A Bit of iOS AutoComplete Nonsense

Monday, June 26, 2017

Google Domain - The Easy Button!

After scary domain purchases and redirecting nightmares of the past, I have to say, Google made this easy for me. They offered a domain name through a free blog I already had. Fearful geek that I am, I silently debated the horrors that might occur if I pushed the button. Would they immediately start to charge me a hosting fee as well? Would there be 100 extra little fees attached? Would they point my domain name to some place in Outer Mongolia? Does Outer Mongolia still exist? Well, I clicked the button and made the purchase. There wasn't anyplace, right then, to change the number of years of the registration, so I thought, "Aha! That's where they'll get me!" (Shades of Go-Daddy). Once I was registered, I went to settings, found the drop-down for renewals, and, to my surprise, found I could renew for--well as many years as I could afford, for the same price! How 'bout that? Then I verified my email address, as required, and went to my blog. What do you know? They'd already accomplished the redirect. It was instantaneous. My God. No wonder Google is taking over the world...