How to explain to people in your business that Google.com isn’t really very good at the kind of search they want.

I’m regularly told that people want the google experience at work.

I know what they mean.

They mean “we want to find what we want”.

But Google isn’t actually very good at this when what you want is a specific thing.

Where Google excels is search problems where we can define the search problem as:

  1. Show me something popular.
  2. Show me some information about a thing, I don’t really care where it comes from – just that it’s popular.
  3. Show me some information about a thing, I don’t really care if it’s trustworthy or not, just that lots of people link to it.
  4. Show me some information, I don’t care whether or not it’s findable in a week or a month.

Google solves the problem of finding what’s popular, now.

Business search problems though, are almost always about what’s unpopular, specific and authoritative.

And Google isn’t very good at those.

For what it’s worth, Google recognises that the search it provides isn’t the right search for every situation, it’s why we have Google Scholar.

1 thought on “How to explain to people in your business that Google.com isn’t really very good at the kind of search they want.”

  1. I think Google is better at finding specifics than you give it credit for. But I agree that consumer search behaviour is very different to search behaviour inside organisations (both in terms of what people are looking for and the corpus of content that they are searching over).

    A problem is that most people have no idea how Google works – it is just “magic”. Which means that they assume that the Google experience is simply the result of a whizzy bit of software – rather than the efforts of hundreds over thousands of people and tens of billions of dollars over the course of 20 years.

    https://www.oreilly.com/library/view/enterprise-search-2nd/9781491915523/

    Like

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