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    • The kids in my junior high think there's nothing on the subject they're searching for if it's not found in the first 3 Google search results let alone think of going to page 2. "Mr. Davis I can't find anything on ______". My response: "Did you search page 2 of the results"? Invariably I get a dumbfounded expression at which point I go over to their computer and show them how to search, how to look for clues in the urls and so on.

      How many people regularly search past page 1 and why does it matter? Chris was just extolling the virtues of search engines and though I agree with him for the most part, I wonder if search engines are truly effective. Just this morning I was searching for something and it kept sending me to other more popular stuff. They are trying to build an AI that knows my wishes and can find it but they've failed so far. Failed in the sense that they have a heck of a long way to go as I'm regularly frustrated with the results they give me.

      Who else is frustrated with the limitations of search engines? Who regularly goes to page 2 or 3 or beyond? What importance do search engines have? What if we were to instantly go back 5 years in search engine technology - would it really matter much?

      I think future AI personal assistants will be huge but we are at such an early stage that I think of search engines as still stupid. I'm sorry geeks but I'm not happy with what I'm so far getting.

    • I normally find exactly what I want on the first page. There is a joke that says if you ever wanted to hide a dead body, hide it on the second page of Google Search results, because nobody ever looks there.

    • Here's some data from something like 100 zillion searches and 10 zillion clicks.

      Question: is Google so good that people find what they're looking for in the first few listings? Or is it that Google creates the expectation that the first few results are probably the best, thereby making the top sites popular?

    • I'll go to page two, three or even page 6 if I'm looking for something. Unfortunately, good isn't as good at search results as it thinks it is, especially when researching facts and not just looking for pop-information.

    • Agreed. I do like the fact that once it gives up on a given search term it shows a strike-through. This helps me to modify my query when I'm not getting what I want. Still, even though it doesn't always find what I'm looking for, it's pretty damn good in general. It's about the only free web service that I would gladly pay for if they were to require it, though I might want to demand greater tracking and privacy protections as part of the deal.

    • Interesting question!

      I just realized that I now *do not trust* anything on the first page of my search results. Truly. If it’s on the first page, I assume it’s an ad, or a “sponsored” entry, or an uber-popular site with a bunch of sensationalist crap. I always scroll down past the first five or so entries and then start paying attention to the content clips to find what I want...

    • Fascinating. I am interviewing a guy tomorrow morning on Cake whose photo processing has gone viral lately with all the beautiful photos of Jupiter. I needed to prep and couldn't find much about him on the first page of results, other than pointers to his Twitter and Flickr. But deep into the second page, voila!

    • What an interesting angle re: the photoshopping of images! Did you follow the links to the two Red Spot photos and see the difference? Fascinating. I thought it was especially interesting that NASA only put “Enhanced” in the headline of the red image but not the soft orange image. I also think it’s pretty cool that the artists’ styles are becoming identifiable, and that there is a bit of competition baked into the work, too. Ha! What an interesting Citizen Science twist to this Jupiter project!

    • Interesting to come across this post, just this past week I've decided to do a little experiment and go to the back pages of all my Google searches over the next couple of weeks. I'm hoping I can more find more off-the-wall stuff that hasn't yet gotten an algorithmic boost to the front pages.

    • I've been doing the same! The results have been great. It has turned up some great articles a few pages in that apparently went unnoticed. I formed a subjective hunch that longer-form articles from publications like The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and WIRED end up lower in search rankings than shorter ones from Buzzfeed and USA Today. My guess was shorter attention spans ==> people choose the short articles ==> Google prioritizes them.

      However, people with data write that I should rethink:

      Welcome to Cake, soulcruzer. 🙂 I'll be interested to hear what you learn with your experiment.

    You've been invited!