Google now has a verbatim search facility…

Finally, Google have introduced a verbatim web search facility. This means that it will search for exactly what you ask it to search for, and not get bizarrely and unhelpfully creative, as we all know it so easily can.

However, Google being Google, the implementation is clunky. Their press release says “You can access the verbatim search tool under “More search tools” on the left-hand side.”

You can look in vain for any sign of it, and you won’t see it. You actually have to run the search before “More search tools” appears as advertised, then you have to click it, scroll down to Verbatim and click that to search again. This is not helpful.

Why this can’t be put on Google’s front end, as an option to implement before searching, and not afterwards, I have no idea. It would be more convenient.

And no, it’s not as minor a point as it might first appear. A lot of people spend a hell of a lot of time on Google, and having to, in effect, repeat the first search in every session, equates to an awful lost of wasted time over a year.

And you can, if you’re not careful, end up having to activate the Verbatim option for every single search, as if you delete your original search term to type in another, Verbatim disappears, and has to be activated again.

To avoid this, just select (highlight), your previous search term, and overtype with the new one – that way Verbatim will stay active.

Of course, Google could always make Verbatim the defaults setting (or provide a way for users to make it so), but they don’t. Mind you, were they to do so, judging by the deeply crap spelling that shows up in search terms in my blog’s stats, that would result in a hell of a lot of failed searches. Hell, some people have trouble spelling DLA. Seriously. Thing is, that sort of error isn’t illiteracy, it’s pure carelessness.

So why not humour the literate, and the careful, and make the rest turn off Verbatim if they can’t spell, or can’t be arsed paying attention to what they’re typing?

Why does everything have to be reduced to the lowest common denominator?

4 thoughts on “Google now has a verbatim search facility…

    • I suppose – grudgingly – I can see why from Google’s perspective, as it will reduce the number of bad searches from numpties, but the aim should – always – be to raise standards, not lower them.

  1. minor point – Google is a major and very profitable business. It is a very useful tool and at the moment the best of the bunch. Google is essentially driven by providing the results its advertisers fee payers want you to see first (most people give up and try a different search argument after the first screen or two of the search results returned. A verbatim default would be very nice but, given the “you know what I meant” literacy levels of the global market, unsaleable to those who want to be found however badly formed the search request. See for more than you ever wanted to know.

  2. Given all the hoops you have to jump through I think I’ll be sticking to trusty old quotation marks. Might be interesting to see how the results compare. Unless it is a huge improvement I can’t see many people switching until the UI is tweaked.

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