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- Answering NO to "Did you mean..."
- Terry Pinnell
January 8, 2011, 9:32 am
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For example, I was trying to find something on an entry my virus scanning
software thinks needs removal, called CloseAllExplorerWindows.exe
(I'm 99% sure this program is harmless, i.e. a false positive, but
curiosity sent me to google.)
But the result I get is:s
"Did you mean close all explorer windows.exe"
plus a list of many hits for that.
Is the answer simply that this only arises when there are ZERO hits for
the specified target?
Terry, East Grinstead, UK
Re: Answering NO to "Did you mean..."
Terry Pinnell wrote:
I don't think it means exactly ZERO hits, it seems to show up every time
there is less than 10 to nicely fill up page 1 of search results and it
also comes up when there is a common typo (like, if you typed Epxlorer
Windows). 9 times out of 10 it's actually a useful feature because people
do make typing mistakes, and quite often. But that one time you really
need to match a weird phrase, it backfires.
You can force proper results by wrapping the phrase in quotes (and
disregarding the search suggestions that keep nudging you off the unbeaten
path, so to speak) but I don't think you can suppress the "did you mean"
suggestions on the resulting page. Why would you, anyway, just ignore
them. At least wrapping it in quotes does not force you to look at the
results of search for their suggestions instead of what you actually need.
Google is trying hard to guess what you mean by your search term
(employing some magic algorithms with names like "Reasonable Surfer") and
that means that they are bound to always anticipate that you are searching
for a phrase that's more common than what you are actually searching for,
unless you are already searching for some common term. Common terms also
let them cache the search results (my assumption) and thus ease the load
on their servers, so there is every incentive for them to nudge you into
something that's compliant with the norm, whatever the norm happens to be
at the moment.
So, yeah, use the quotes and other advanced search operators, that'll make
them search harder :)
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