it could be worse

Have you noticed the changes Google has been making to the way they display search results? Google Instant has been the latest, but before that, there was the introduction of the “Everything” sidebar. And that one in particular seems to have upset numerous Google search fans. If you do a search in Google for “everything sidebar,” the first few results are about removing or hiding it.

Not only that, but the latest offering from the Funny Music Project is a song all about hating the Google “Everything” sidebar. The creator, Jesse Smith, expresses a frustration that many of us can identify with, “It’s hard to find a product that does what it does really well. In a world of mediocrity, it’s the exception that excels. Then some jerk has to justify his job by tinkering and jiggering and messing up the whole thing.”

Tech folks like to tinker. We like making things work better, or faster, or be more intuitive. I’ll bet that there are a lot of Google users who didn’t know about the different kinds of content-specific searches that Google offered, or had never used the advanced search tools. And they’re probably happy with the introduction of the “Everything” sidebar.

But there’s another group of folks who are evidently very unhappy with it. Some say it takes up too much room on the screen, that it adds complexity, and that they just don’t like the way it looks.

Cue ironic chuckling from me.

Let’s compare the Google search results screen with search results from a few of the major players in libraryland:

Google

ProQuest EBSCOhost

CSA Illumina ISI Web of Knowledge

So, who’s going to write a song about how much they hate <insert library database platform of choice>?

2 thoughts on “it could be worse”

  1. Not quite sure as to the extent of the complaining. I mean, when you’ve got usage numbers like Google, even a small percentage of people complaining can still seem like a lot.

    That said, it’s not like these people are forced to use the ‘advanced’ options — nor, as you point out, do these options crowd out the normal interface (at least when compared to certain alternatives).

    I’d say the interesting thing to look at would be what the usage of the advanced functions is following the changes to the interface. That’s what counts!

  2. Leo, I think it speaks volumes that the first page of search results are complaints and not praise. Search results get bumped higher the more people click on them, and if more people are reading (and potentially contributing to) the complaints than anything else, then it’s probably a good indicator that there are a significant number of disgruntled Google search users.

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