Today, I’ve spent a lot of time banging my head against the brick wall of bad or mad search design.
First up was the Scottish Government, with its contribution to “thwarting any attempt at a search”, by somehow managing to date various items as being released on October, November and December…of this year. So looking for recent items was impressively pointless. As was the fact that the search was also giving over 300k results.
|Looking forward to that Forced Marriage report in December.
Then, I went into the Scottish Parliament website, to try doing a search in the Official Report. Top tip: don’t do this. Ever. Use Google to search the Parliament’s website instead.
Mainly because, if you can get the report to return hits, then you get to wade through the results, blindly. And blindly it is, because the search doesn’t give you any idea of how many pages of results you’ve got, or any shortcut to get to specific points/leapfrog to a further point. So if you know when something happened, and just want to get to that point in time, you need to click…and click….and click…hoping to get to where you know you want to be, but not knowing how long it will take, to move through the unknown number of pages….
So yeah: just Google it. It’s less stressful, I can assure you.
Today, I couldn’t be bothered to dig into my bookmarks and find the link for the online version of the magazine of JLSS – The Journal of the Law Society of Scotland.
So I asked Google to find me it, by cunningly searching for the terms “JLSS” and “magazine”. I’d say that’s a pretty clear search: two words, both of which are correct.
But no: Google knows better.
I’m not actually wanting to look at a recent article on Agency Worker Regulations.
Actually, what Google knows I’m really looking for is sites about JLS, the boy band.
Obviously, me putting in the actual words that I want to look for just isn’t accurate enough, as after being presented with a screen of nonsense about disturbingly flexible young boys in tight t-shirts, I then have to click again to correct the search. Which actually was correct when I originally input it.
Google, I am NOT thick, and I do NOT want to have to see JLS!
I do get hits on here from some very odd search terms (which has actually prodded me about another point, to be blogged on later), but I have to say, todays is probably a winner, just for the disturbing thoughts about the searcher that it brings to mind:
“ruminants and librarians”
Is there someone out there looking for librarians that chew the cud? Or do they think that somewhere, there’s a librarian in charge of a library of ruminants, all peacefully grazing in fields according to their classification?
Enquiring minds want to know….
Well, it’s public policy blog at the moment anyway. I don’t know if it’s Blogger itself being mad (early this week it seemed to re-publish the feeds of almost all blogs I subscribe to, or maybe it was Bloglines that did that….who can tell!), but the Google PPB seems to have decided to randomly republish its posts, in any order, on a regular basis. Or maybe the posts are being updated, but to be honest, the amount of times the same posts are re-appearing, I can’t be bothered to analyse them…
So, for now, it’s bye-bye Google blog!!
On MySpace and Bebo, I don’t have my full name, my first school, my mothers maiden name, my date of birth etc listed anywhere… all information that’s very useful for the nasty-types out there to make hay with.
With the launch of this search engine in early August, I’ll be even happier about my vagueness about my personal details on social networking sites…not that I’ve done anything so terrible that it means I don’t want anyone to find out about it ( my hobbies are scintillatingly dull, and don’t usually involve anything illegal…usually…), but it’ll probably allow even MORE people I purposely lost contact with after school / Uni to get in touch with me. It’s already annoying me that I felt I had to allow certain individuals to ‘friend’ me on Bebo when I don’t actually like them that much (but feel I can’t say no to them in case of bad feeling about the ‘snub’), but when the people I’ve spent years trying to escape track me down through this…yeesh!
Maybe I should have titled this post “When Social Networking Goes Bad”, in time honoured style of bad American video-clip shows…
As posted on OUT-LAW yesterday, the Article 29 Working Party is expanding the scope of its investigation of search engine privacy practices beyond Google to ALL search engine companies, and their data retention practices.
Will be interesting to see what the other, smaller (and less media-targeted) companies policies are…
Honestly, I’m not obsessive, really, they just seem to be pretty active just now!
Google have opened up their internal blog on their public policies, to allow users to see what their views are on various important areas such as privacy, content regulation etc.
Which is pretty interesting, but I’ve got to say, I’m not sure I entirely trust any organisation when they say ‘look how honest and open we’re being’…probably cos I know there are very, very few of them who will be!
But it’s a pretty good attempt to make more transparent the internal workings of a section of a massive corporation.