Friday, May 04, 2007

Google is the evilest evil

I am NOT happy with Google. Even a little bit.

The effing effers have gone and "personalised" my search results and there isn't an off switch. This means, when yesterday a search for the national linguistics society, via its initials, returned a link to the national linguistics society, NOW Google helpfully detects that my browser language is Danish, and returns pages of results to various European companies with the same acronym. Worse, in my other browser, which is set to English, pretty much any search result returns lots of Australian sites (even when it is not set to search for Australian pages only), and these are pretty much NEVER what I am searching for. Who cares if I am physically located in Australia? The internet should be beyond petty regional distinctions.

I have just spent a long time scouring the Google help pages for a solution. Google, which less than a year ago, had a helpful email address to send questions to, and which responded to queries within less than a week, now has NO information on how to contact them for issues like this.

But they do kindly provide an answer to the relevant FAQ:

How do I turn off personalization?

Just sign out of your Google Account. When you want to personalize your results again, just sign in again.
Yeah, well that sounds like fun. I only recently discovered a way to circumvent the necessity of signing in and out every five minutes to switch between my blog gmail account and my private one. And now I am supposed to sign in and out again every time I want to search for something?

Well FAQ you, Google.

Anyone have a good recommendation for an alternative search engine?


Miss M. said...

I have complete sympathy for your situation! I ran into the current absence of contact details a few days ago and was completely shocked by it. It felt like google, once idolised as the be all and end all of search engines, had betrayed me. Very annoying.

Haven't yet found an alternative, unfortunately.

Mentor said...

You might want to pick one of these:

skookumchick said...

I don't have a suggestion for another search engine, but what I do to keep the Googlemonster at bay is use two browsers - one where I'm logged in to my gmail account, and one where I'm not. Hope that will help... (I use Safari and Firefox but you could use IE and Flock too...)

Ianqui said...

Yeah, sort of me too. I had to make a special bookmark to ensure that google could log me in to my USA google account, because otherwise it directed me toward Seriously--if I want to use, why can't i just type in .com and get that?

StyleyGeek said...

Miss M. I am planning a post about the different search engines I have been trying out today, so maybe that will help you in your quest for a new one too.

Mentor: Thank you. That is very helpful.

Skookumchick: I would do that, but I already have two browsers so that I can be logged into my blogger account with one and my private Gmail account in the other. I can't handle a third one as well!

StyleyGeek said...

Ianqui: I've had that issue for ages---I think it's always directed me to ever since I've lived here. But until it did this weird-ass personalisation shit, that didn't really matter. Whether I searched from or, I got the same results, as long as I hadn't ticked "search australian sites only". NOW, though, it matters very much.

Gnome said...

I really like Exalead (, and I would be using it if not for my deep Google loyalty.

Badaunt said...

I don't seem to be getting this problem, although for ages whenever I tried to go to Google I got sent to Japanese Google, which was a fat lot of good. Then the problem went away. I don't know how that happened, though.

What sort of searches are you talking about? Academic searches on Google Scholar? I haven't tried using that for a while...

StyleyGeek said...

Try searching for something while logged into your Google result. Then search for the same thing when logged out. Compare the results. I think you'll probably find they are quite different. If not, I want to know what you are doing differently!

StyleyGeek said...

Your Google account. Not Google result. You know what I mean.

Geeka said... actually gives a penny a search to a non-profit