On this first edition of “ Do you know what grinds my gears? “ we’ll talk about Google. I won’t make this intro any longer than it needs to so let’s get to it.
I’ve been thinking about this for quite a while and before I get into it please understand that these are my views and my views alone – so if anyone feels offended in any way, do let me know what you’re opinion is in the comments below and we can have a nice little conversation to get this topic rolling. Right, moving on – Do you know what grinds my gears when it comes to Google? The search results, that’s what.
Don’t get me wrong I’ve been a Google fan boy, I try to stay up to date with everything they are working on and developing. There’s no doubt that they have some pretty talented people working in their offices and I am sure that in their own way they have pushed a lot of areas forward with their way of thinking. ‘But man’ – who’s working in the Google search results team? Google employees Raz, what do you mean? I mean who’s been working there all these years and has been keeping the Google search results the same for the past (I don’t even know how many) X years?
As much as I appreciate the amount of thinking behind the layout, fonts sizes, amount of text, link positioning etc. I don’t understand what’s going on. It just seems to me like they’ve put these blocks in place a long time ago and maybe out of fear, or alienating any person using the search engine, changes have been minimal. Maybe it’s just me but I am might not be the only one who’s Google search results experience is mostly:
- Opening a search result in a new tab just so I have that search result saved because it seemed to be what I am looking for but in today’s web world you never know, and most of the time it isn’t
- Scrolling some more
- Next page
- Next page
- Is that … ? Hm… maybe – open in a new tab
- Next page
- Next page
- Guess that’s it…
And then I always notice this little piece of information:
“ About 3,420,000,000 results ( 0.65 seconds ) “
Oh well done guys! You’ve managed to identify a huge amount of results based on what I typed in and all that in just 0.65 seconds – I am impressed. I am not joking, I am impressed taking in to consideration that out of those 0.65 seconds there was some time needed to send my information and then to bring it back to me. So arguably the search took about 0.5 seconds. But then I look at the bigger picture and realize that this information hasn’t helped me in any way – I always considered that Google is trying to brag by showing those numbers about how much computing power they have and how efficient their search algorithm is. While I was writing I quickly checked Yahoo! and Bing to see if they have something similar : Yahoo doesn’t and Bing only shows the number of results – soooooo… Bing is slower than Google? Also I would like to add that I am not talking about searching for specific things; this is mostly when I have a general idea of what I am looking for and I need to get more knowledge about the topic.
Furthermore I actually feel a bit annoyed that out of all those results I didn’t manage to see more results that interested me. On top of that 70% of my screen is white space, why? Well yes Raz you need to be more specific with your search. And the white space – well not everyone has a 24” screen. I agree but I am thinking that in today’s world with all this talk about UI/UX there would be more talk about how we can improve and update the user experience for one of the most visited sites at the moment. What if we can see the Google results grouped by topics or by user reviews and can someone tell me how many people actually use the “Search tools” button? Do they need to be developed? What could Search tools 2.0 look like? I’ve seen so many landing page designs for Nike shoes and so many examples of logos that will never be used that I seriously started questioning what a designer’s role is in today’s world.
I am not saying every designer should be concentrating on making the Google search results better for the average everyday user but come on guys (including myself) – I think it’s worth investing some time in this and who knows maybe some new features will prove to be a success. It’s not the easiest task in the world, maybe one of the hardest. Eventually the community will come up with something really good but we have no clue what Google are planning or if they even care about what other people think. I agree but maybe, just maybe we focus on something that can impact the lives of so many people out there and that idea alone can fuel the imagination of some.
As a side note I will share this link : http://www.googleguide.com/advanced_operators_reference.html. You can find there some examples of search operators that might make your search experience easier/better.
Back to the topic – I will start working on some drafts and share them here, I’ll make it like a little series. I am looking forward to see what challenges I come across, if anyone has any feedback on this etc. So until next time, ask yourself if we should take for granted most of our user experiences? Should we not ask for more from the people that have a big influence on our day to day activities?