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Comment Re:Truth (Score 1) 166

Yeah, you obviously haven't tried this a lot for obscure searches. For an easy way to see this, try searching for an obscure phrase enclosed in quotes in Google Books using sources from, say 1950 to 2000. Then try the search again for years 1950 to 1975. You'll likely end up with a different list of results from the years 1950-75 in the two searches. You can try this with all sorts of verbatim searches; for example, word order (outside quotes) will cause hits to appear or get dropped... Not merely differently ranked, but to disappear from the complete list of hits. I could go on with dozens of ways I've seen results added or subtracted in supposedly verbatim searches with the exact same search terms. I'll grant you the vast majority of Google users don't use it this way, but there are clearly a lot of cases where some nontrivial percentage of people would like this capability (and for it to function reliably).

Comment Re:Truth (Score 1) 166

Huh? My definition? I was following YOUR exceptionally narrow definition of search engine and actually trying to expand it to cover an additional decade of history. And if you re-read my post, you'll realize that at no point did I say the approach Google has taken is invalid or bad or not useful. What I said is that I don't understand why their new approach NECESSITATED breaking the old search for people who want/need it. Google is now a great tool for answering broad questions with relevant links; I never said otherwise. I find it unfortunate that it can no longer function reliably for serious research though. Not only the ranking but the actual complete list of links that show up in a search are not consistent, even with verbatim or allintext turned on.

Comment Re:Truth (Score 1, Offtopic) 166

Oh and BTW, the way you use a literal search engine with thousands or millions of results is to introduce more specific search terms to narrow your search to a reasonable number. Back then people COULD use search engines to find specific content very well that way. I used to be able to use Google to find specific pages again years later if I remembered a few specific unique words or phrases that could get me back to that specific page... I haven't been able to reliably do that in years. As you point out, that type of searching is less useful when you're doing a broader search for a vague topic and just want the "best" hits (by some metric). Early on, Google tried to combine the two, but the former approach requires search strategy and understanding how to use operators and such to get useful results in narrowing down a topic. Most internet users today never learned how to use a search engine -- they just want to type in a few vague things and expect good stuff to come up, even if it's not what they literally asked for. Google has thus decided to serve the latter crowd, though I still don't quite understand why that required them to screw up literal search for those who request it. (BTW, for those who don't know and want more literal search, verbatim on Google is really poor these days. Try the allintext: operator instead, though even that is a crapshoot was to whether the specific results you want will actually show up.)

Comment Re:Truth (Score 3, Informative) 166

While I guess you have a point that Pagerank was designed to deliver better results, so were all other "search engines" of the time. Pagerank was just a better algorithm than others. But by your definition all search engines back then were "answer engines," since they all were trying to rank results somehow.

The thing is: back then Google's algorithms were still based on terms actually found in the searched pages. Hence, it was still a search engine. The ranking may have been tweaked, but you were still searching for actual text and actual search terms.

Somewhere around 2005 or so, it became possible for Google to serve up top hits that no longer contained the literal search terms. At that point it ceased to be a "pure" search engine and became about trying to guess what you wanted rather than just retrieving pages with your text. As the years went by, Google deprecated and screwed up the plus operator, increasingly screwed up verbatim search until it became nonfunctional for people who just want a literal search, and incorporated "personalization" to serve up pages more like other pages you've viewed, rather than what you literally asked for.

Google hasn't been a functional search engine in about a decade.

Comment Re:LPB! (Score 1) 250

There's a solution to this, 1-and-1 home and away contests, which people regularly did for intercontinental matches.

Shrug. I'm finding it difficult to have sympathy.

People who live in Saudi Arabia are disadvantaged at downhill skiing compared to those who live in Alaska.
People who live in Liechtenstein are disadvantaged at surfing compared to those who live in Hawaii.

Where you were born and where you live influences the hobbies you can partake in, as well as careers you can partake in. Welcome to physical reality.

Comment Re:Nylon being eaten too (Score 1) 68

But since there is no evolution it's a clear sign that god exists and that he just now so created that bacterium for ... reasons.

Creationists don't deny that evolution happens and that new characteristics can emerge due to natural selection. They just don't accept that this can lead to the emergence of new species. If you intend to convince anyone, you should at least take the time to understand their position, rather than just attacking strawmen.

Comment Re:No one makes anyone buy anything. (Score 5, Informative) 238

Now it's a numbers game and the well being of the customer doesn't even enter the picture.

When, pray tell, was your mythical golden age when corporations put the "well being" of the customer before profit?

Go read the stories from sales, marketing, and product engineers

Go read The Jungle, Unsafe at Any Speed, or King Leopold's Ghost and perhaps you can disabuse yourself of the notion that greed is a new phenomena.

Comment Re: Oh noes (Score 1) 238

The parent is saying that prices will be individual specific. Price watch sites won't help with that.

They might. If the refer link is from a price watch site, then an online merchant could deduce that you are a price sensitive shopper willing to work to find a bargain, and thus offer you a good price to make the sale.

Free advice: Never shop online with a Mac, and especially not with Safari as your browser.

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My sister opened a computer store in Hawaii. She sells C shells down by the seashore.