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Simplifying Search For a Younger Audience

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the timmy-needs-his-pokemon-strats dept.

72

An article in the NY Times discusses how kids interact with search engines, which are primarily designed for adult users who are familiar with basic internet concepts. From the article: "When considering children, search engines had long focused on filtering out explicit material from results. But now, because increasing numbers of children are using search as a starting point for homework, exploration or entertainment, more engineers are looking to children for guidance on how to improve their tools. ... Stefan Weitz, director of Bing, said that for certain types of tasks, like finding a list of American presidents, people found answers 28 percent faster with a search of images rather than of text. He said that because Bing used more imagery than other search engines, it attracted more children. ... Children also tend to want to ask questions like 'Who is the president?' rather than type in a keyword. Scott Kim, chief technology officer at Ask.com, said that because as many as a third of search queries were entered as questions (up to 43 percent on Ask Kids, a variant designed for children), it had enlarged search boxes on both sites by almost 30 percent."

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72 comments

Google (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30554610)

I recommend they use google, then.

webbrowser Homepage sites should offer search (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30554918)

It would be nice if Slashdot had a re-direct and webservice to allow it to cascade search queries onto peers for a search of user's shared data. It would make it interesting if such competing organizations would allow such a service in search technology that not even Google could catalogue. This would be like a known proprietary-access SAMBA or FTP share.

But who do you believe, an Anonymous Coward like me or CIA's bandwidth-sucking Google bot leeching of common phone-book and library knowledge without anyone's permition? Google should be ashamed. Bring transparently torrent'd FTP shares into play, perhaps with an intelligent WIFI Hub protocol so complementing a WIFI Hub can pass a courier as would a repeater to solicit or notify roaming terminals of requests all through leapfrogging through nearby Hubs in such gateway mode.

Re:Google (4, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#30554926)

I was going to say... How can you be 28% faster with an image search, when you type "list of am" into google, it predicts you want american presidents, and then comes up with wikipedia's list as it's first result... That seems pretty hard to beat.

Re:Google (2, Insightful)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 4 years ago | (#30555214)

Image search is probably not the best way to learn who the president of a country is. Wolfram Alpha seems the best approach to this sort of thing:
http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=who+is+the+president+of+the+USA [wolframalpha.com]

Re:Google (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 4 years ago | (#30559484)

Although it doesn't know who the president of Europe is. It's Herman Van Rompuy, and Wolfram Alpha is by no means alone in not knowing this. Google give the answer as the seventh search result - a link to the BBC article announcing his appointment.

Wolfram Alpha? (1)

peater (1422239) | more than 4 years ago | (#30554620)

Wolfram Alpha seems to be a good step in this very direction.

Re:Wolfram Alpha? (2, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30554640)

Back when I inhabited sci.space.* on usenet it was customary to detect school projects and to tell the poster to GTFO. Somehow I doubt wolfram will do that so I wonder how many school projects it will solve in their entirety.

Re:Wolfram Alpha? (1)

zeroduck (691015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30554944)

If Wolfram Alpha really can do the entire project. . . the teacher should be assigning more difficult things. Kids could use a basic calculator for ages to do their multiplication homework, somehow civilization still survives.

Re:Wolfram Alpha? (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 4 years ago | (#30555946)

Currently Alpha fails to even estimate very simple questions ("estimate how many Christians are there in Hawaii?") despite having all the necessary information (religion rates there & population). I was hoping to find a generic order of magnitude problem solving engine, instead I found a hyped Ask Jeeves from 1997.

Re:Wolfram Alpha? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30556078)

very simple questions ("estimate how many Christians are there in Hawaii?")

No, asshole, this is not the kind of input Wolfram Alpha expects. Try "Christians in Hawaii" and you get the semi-helpful note that "Functionality for this topic [Religions] is under development..."

Similarly, doing "Hawaii demographics" turns up no data on religion. There's a complaint to be made here, but you have to make the right one.

URLs? (5, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30554632)

My son types whatever he wants into google. He doesn't know how to type URLs. My wife and her sister are the same. If home didn't go to a search engine they would be lost. If home didn't go to google they would search for google first.

Re:URLs? (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#30554706)

Odd, my parents (55/60) do the same. My mom had no concept of how to go to 'gmail' other than to type 'gmail' into one of those 'empty boxes' at the top of the screen.

If Firefox didn't automatically try and parse a partial URL, they'de be lost.

My siblings seem to do ok. Where as I grew up right around the explosion of search engines seemed to hone in on what to type to get what I wanted. Hell 95% of the time I 'solve' a computer problem at work it's because the person I'm helping doesn't know how to type in what they're looking for.

ICANN is to blame for needing most searches. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30554958)

It should be strait-forward, remove all .COM entries to separate the queries by where the server is located.

If I wanted Google, there's nothing that should keep from http://google./ [google.] The same is for GMail. You see, ICANN wants every country to participate in the international naming scheme and get money for squabbles between their fee-dom of selling the 3-digit registry, when it's absolutely ludicrous that your DNS requests should even leave the tier of your ISP.

Of'course the whole setup is to favor commerce rather than network proficiency. That's why the Internet is a giant joke for politicians to make-believe they can regulate, and is why every website is an administrative failure because of the pseudo-politics involved in the dellusion of its regulation.

Re:ICANN is to blame for needing most searches. (1)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30555258)

OK, I'll bite. Why is it ludicrous for DNS requests to go outside the tier of your ISP? Why did you bother to specify the tier, as opposed to you saying, for example, DNS should be handled by the ISP and go no further? I'm inferring here that you are including an ISP's peers as on the same tier, or something like that, and all I can see is that there are some good arguments for doing it either way, and you've really got me wondering what's so obviously flawed about one side of the debate that it settles the whole thing.

Your point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30559588)

So I'll elaborate, that DNS to me should be handled how AOL and Compuserve provided their network service. Much of the Internet is nothing more than a scam of commerce. The only way for recognition is to agree to the trade and legal stipulations that ICANN pushes. Much of the routing is to a style only approved by ICANN. The People's Republic of China wants to happen what I'm discussing, but they are just as cruel as ICANN; more to facilitate commerce by their predirection of political slant, no different than how the DMCA, RIAA, FBI, CIA, NBAACP, and whomever else want the Internet catalogued in commercial registries rather than a form and style of communications. The regulation is bi-passing the function of networks to regulate the very servers even if they're not using the network.

The Pirate Bay is being hit by the same manner. What we need is the Internet to behave like a proxy CB Radio to hosts can pass information on behalf of eachother (tor) without getting screened for religious and political reasons of anti-speach. So that's why now there is the reserve for jurisdiction to thrive in an administrative capacity of consent through the many facets of ICANN's registration scheme of adding their postfix qualifier characters (read .net, .com, .edu, .name, etc) upon a domain name. It's all a scam to carry jurisdiction and rule other than what is decided by those administry over the services. ICANN in this regard is in-fact a host peer for it's DNS service allocation, in direct competition with GNUTELLA and KAZZAA and Torrent trafick; ICANN is actively and indiscriminately invading with violence other networks that it has no jurisdiction over.

Imagine sending HTTP and FTP requests through a torrent scheme of peers that all have a presence and preference: unreachable by foreing legal claims, and impossible to be traced. hmmmmm, like 4chan and a Proxy wrapped into one without being banned.

my neighbor... (1)

airdrummer (547536) | more than 4 years ago | (#30555830)

is a widow in her 70s...i'd put linux on her old pc so she could continue to use it after it became too slow (ie: win98 was bogged down with malware)-: but her grown kids got her a new windoze laptop (fuckin' microserfs)-:

so the other day she called me, saying windoze had just updated itself, and now she can't get on webmail or anything...

i click on her shortcuts, and a firefox window opens(i've @ least got her away from internet exploder;-) but it's too smal to show anything, maybe 1"x1", not even any controls...it was no problem to grab the l/r corner & expand it, but she was totally flummoxed by it:-(

to paraphrase my dad: no one's ever gone broke underestimating to capabilities of the average microserf;-}

Re:URLs? (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30559352)

Odd, my parents (55/60) do the same. My mom had no concept of how to go to 'gmail' other than to type 'gmail' into one of those 'empty boxes' at the top of the screen.

I have relatives who would type in Gmail, please. That it's a computer is no reason to be rude!

Anyhow, the ability to correctly deduce what keywords will give you the results you want seems to be rarer than it should be. Yet the ones deprived of Google-fu still use the "I'm feeling lucky" function, and then complain when it throws up a porn site instead of Audubon Society when they searched for tits.

Re:URLs? (1)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 4 years ago | (#30555246)

My son types whatever he wants into google. He doesn't know how to type URLs. My wife and her sister are the same. If home didn't go to a search engine they would be lost. If home didn't go to google they would search for google first.

I'm surprised at the number of people I have worked with who are the same way and many of them use Yahoo instead of Google. They tend to be the same people who are astonished at my use of keyboard commands. Happy Boxing Day!

Re:URLs? (1)

BrentH (1154987) | more than 4 years ago | (#30555280)

That's because the whole concept of TLD's is unnatural because its not part of the name. Gmail is gmail, nog gmail.com. I think a lot of problems would be solved if we'd drop TLD's (and the www prefix!).

URLs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30555554)

My son types whatever he wants into google. He doesn't know how to type URLs. My wife and her sister are the same. If home didn't go to a search engine they would be lost. If home didn't go to google they would search for google first.

But if they do not know how to type URLs, as you just stated, then how would they search for Google to search whatever it was they wanted to search for in the first place? You failed logic, please hand in your membership card.

Re:URLs? (1)

Faerunner (1077423) | more than 4 years ago | (#30555600)

1) Find the closest 'open box'. If Google's not open, that's either the address field or the Google Search field provided at the top of my version of Firefox. I assume they have something similar.
2) Type 'google' into box. Since Firefox finishes partial urls if it has a clue, it'll take them straight to google. If they typed it in the search field, it'll search for Google. Either way, they get there.

I've known people who do this as well. If they are handed a written or typed url to get to, they'll type it into Google. Usually, this lack of efficiency characterizes every thing they try to do with a computer, and occasionally every other thing they try to do in life. They appear to be incapable of retaining more than one skill at a time, and I shake my head in wonder that they manage to get through the day. The worst part is that most of these people are at worst slightly below average IQ - they're not mentally incapable (so I assume)!

Re:URLs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30555650)

Typing the URL into a search engine isn't completely dumb. You can prescreen the result instead of being taken to a pron site if you mistype it. And (at least before the stupid Awesome bar in Firefox) it kept junk out of your address bar's drop down list.

Re:URLs? (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 4 years ago | (#30559794)

To be honest, I even find myself doing this a lot. I's use I'm feeling luck except my spelling is awful most of the time. It doesn't help that I normally work across multiple machines with distinct bookmarks and no system to synch them.

News? (1)

garyisabusyguy (732330) | more than 4 years ago | (#30554636)

Seriously, this reads more like the 'Mikey likes it!' life cereal commercial than research.

This must explain why google has such a slim market share

Re:News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30554780)

Parts of it read like the same Bingspam that's been doing the rounds of all the tech sites.

Typical of Microsoft to target 2 to 17 year-old children though.

Remember kids, binging is bad mkay? And just becos their OS looks like a Fisher-Price toy doesn't mean it's safe to pay with.

Kids aren't stupid (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30554644)

Now look, the moment new tech comes onto the field, it's usually kids or other youths who, after somehow obtaining it, are the ones most comfortable with it.

You don't hear a lot of stories about kids going "Well this newfangled contraption is far too complicated. No sirree, back to the cosmombulating gizmotron 3000 which has worked for me for the last 30 years."

You don't need to make a "kiddy" version of the search engine. Children will learn to use the adult tools easily and will be prepared for the future. If we force them to use dumbed down versions, eventually dumbed down versions will be the norm since the next generation will be against changing it.

Re:Kids aren't stupid (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30554728)

This is exactly it...

I am a teenager, and even I can notice it. 30 seconds with a new piece of software I'm already better at than most adults 20 minutes in with the manual. They are incredulous, "How did you know how to do that?!?!" I have no explanation, it just seemed natural that that button is used for this, and if I want to do some heavy duty photo editing I'm going to need to download a crack for photoshop and etc... It just comes from growing up with technology.

Just leave things the way they are, kids will adapt and they'll probably be better at it than most adults in 20 minutes, just like I am now.

Re:Kids aren't stupid (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30554776)

To be fair, your feeling of superiority is mainly because you're a teenager.

Re:Kids aren't stupid (3, Interesting)

bertok (226922) | more than 4 years ago | (#30554940)

This is exactly it...

I am a teenager, and even I can notice it. 30 seconds with a new piece of software I'm already better at than most adults 20 minutes in with the manual. They are incredulous, "How did you know how to do that?!?!" I have no explanation, it just seemed natural that that button is used for this, and if I want to do some heavy duty photo editing I'm going to need to download a crack for photoshop and etc... It just comes from growing up with technology.

Just leave things the way they are, kids will adapt and they'll probably be better at it than most adults in 20 minutes, just like I am now.

I have to second this.

People assume that just because they had a hard time adapting to technology as adults, that children would have an even harder time. I've found that the opposite is true. A family friend has an AD domain for his children's PCs, and they understood the concept of a 'user', 'logging in', etc... at the age of 4 or 5! I started programming in basic when I was about 7 years old, and I could code proficiently in C++ by 13. I remember having XT-era PCs at school, and even though we had very little time assigned to use them (a few hours a month), many students learned a lot of basic skills in no time at all.

I actually work for a department of education at the moment, and my instructions are not to "dumb down" apps too much for children. About the only thing I did was make some screen elements highlight during the "on mouse over" event, as very young children have poor hand-eye coordination. A strong visual effect helps them target and click more effectively. I've sen similar features in other "for kids" apps too.

I collect search logs from a library app used by about 600,000 children, and they search well enough. Junior kids tend to use shorter words ("dog" and "cat" are very popular terms), but other than that, they seem to find what they're looking for relatively quickly.

Re:Kids aren't stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30558158)

Right on. Today's kids have their advantages.

  Back when I was 8 or so and messing with my Atari (computer, not 2600), I was the only one with a clue. This is because my parents considered it as a fancy toy, with a few modest practical applications (it did have a dot-matrix printer, so some word processing could be done.) But my parents never considered it as something to take seriously. Because of this, they really never bothered to use the computer and experience how to use it themselves.Thus my only resources were checking out some library books or getting the occasional magazine with some BASIC programs in back. Thus my being self-taught was the only option in regards to computer literacy. (But starting out in the 8-bit days also taught me be OS-agnostic, not sure if many people starting out a decade later have that particular outlook.)

Nowadays, kid's parents are quite used to computers, and consider the computers as quite a versatile and powerful tool rather than just a mere toy. (Although they're still plenty fun in that regard too.) So now a kid can ask a parent how to do some types of computer tasks, and should be able to get a reasonable answer more often than not. If kids are around grownups, they also pick up on things fairly intuitively by watching. So if they see mom & dad's browsing habits, it doesn't take too long for them to figure out what works or doesn't. (Of course sometimes they may pick up bad habits) And if mom & dad doesn't have an answer, then they also have their school and internet friends to ask as well as being able to do an internet search. At least they have a head start on the previous generation.

The way I look at it, they don't really need to change the search engine tools all that much though. Any search methods that work easier for adults should be easy enough to use for kids, without need to oversimplify things. (Kids may find other ways of using them, but that isn't necessarily indicative of any UI or workflow problems. Adding a cookie or something to save user search prefs from the default start is probably the only major change needed.) Considering how computer-savvy a lot of people are when their only help was self learning at a young age (there really wasn't anyone around who could answer questions), today's kids should do plenty fine in comparison.

Re:Kids aren't stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30581702)

kids tend to use shorter words ("dog" and "cat" are very popular terms)

Are you sure they aren't searching for "doggie style" and "pussy"? Don't get me started on searches for "mules" and "roosters" ...

Re:Kids aren't stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30554806)

How true is this, really? By that I mean what percentage of kids grok new tech well?

Perhaps because some kids catch on fast and do better than 'average' adults, we have wrongly inferred that kids catch on fast.

I caught on fast in 1978, but very few of my contemporaries did. Later I wrongly presumed my niece, who was a sharp book-reading kid of the mouse generation, would become the 'IT support staff' of her home & I could stop handling that. Didn't work out that way. Despite daily use, she's a decidedly non-technical average user. I've remained the 'tech' guy for family and friends, more than half of which grew up with the mouse now.

Re:Kids aren't stupid (4, Funny)

dkf (304284) | more than 4 years ago | (#30554856)

Later I wrongly presumed my niece, who was a sharp book-reading kid of the mouse generation, would become the 'IT support staff' of her home & I could stop handling that. Didn't work out that way. Despite daily use, she's a decidedly non-technical average user. I've remained the 'tech' guy for family and friends, more than half of which grew up with the mouse now.

Smart kid to avoid getting stuck in a tech support role. Kudos to her.

Re:Kids aren't stupid (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30554988)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Functional_fixedness

The older you get the more often you look at things based on previous experience. This can be useful sometimes, but other times it can cause you to have difficulty grokking new tech.

Imagine if someone redesigned an interface in a completely different manner. How confused would we be if to "press" a button you had to waggle your left eyebrow at a rate of 2 waggles a second? Why hello Rainbow's End how are you doing?

I caught on fast in 1978, but very few of my contemporaries did. Later I wrongly presumed my niece, who was a sharp book-reading kid of the mouse generation, would become the 'IT support staff' of her home & I could stop handling that. Didn't work out that way. Despite daily use, she's a decidedly non-technical average user. I've remained the 'tech' guy for family and friends, more than half of which grew up with the mouse now.

This may be due to specialization of labor. You know how to do the computer stuff so none of the others cared to learn it. Maybe one of them can bake awesome cupcakes which you yourself cannot.

Also, let's not forget that in 1978 computers were relatively new, and people with it were far more likely to study how it works. Look at cars. Back before or during the Model T era most people who owned an automobile would be hobbyists who'd work out all the kinks. As the automobile became more prevalent, now we've got people who can just figure out how to pump gas.

Hell, I barely understand how a light bulb works and those things are everywhere.

Re:Kids aren't stupid (1)

Faerunner (1077423) | more than 4 years ago | (#30555846)

"Hell, I barely understand how a light bulb works and those things are everywhere." This. One generation grew up with a "new" gadget, which they were eager to figure out and impress others with. This generation sees computers as something necessary to life, like light bulbs. Some people grow up with light bulbs and figure out everything about them; most learn how to flip the switch and get light. Today's kids will be -comfortable- with the presence of tech and learn how to use it as a matter of watching parents and peers do so, but they may not understand it.

Re:Kids aren't stupid (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#30556298)

I caught on fast in 1978, but very few of my contemporaries did. Later I wrongly presumed my niece, who was a sharp book-reading kid of the mouse generation, would become the 'IT support staff' of her home & I could stop handling that. Didn't work out that way. Despite daily use, she's a decidedly non-technical average user. I've remained the 'tech' guy for family and friends, more than half of which grew up with the mouse now.

How to stop being Tech Support:

a) Screw up their computers even worse than they were before you had to fix them. Afterall, if they get to install every stupid thing without consequences, so should you. Have the Russian National Anthem play on start up and a collection of sound effects (preferably labelled "wild and zany") accompany every little mouse click, starting an app, switching an app and so on. If there are no children in the house, think about a "Best of Goatse" screen saver. When asked how it got on there, give their typical answer "Idk, *I* didn't DO anything or download everything. I swear! Ooh, look at that, scamz-r-us.com is offering free mouse pointers!"

b) Upload their Uncle Jim's and wife "personal homemade" picture and video collection to the pornographic versions of flickr and youtube, with it helpfully bookmarked. Make their channel their homepage so they can track all the helpful comments and view counts.

c) Suggest a Mac. Let a mac "genius" take care of it and give them sticker shock (reality) at the same time.

d) If a Mac is too expensive (it must be, they don't give you $20 worth of compensation for hours of work...) install LinuxFromScratch (Gentoo is far too user friendly). Make sure not to get all the way into installing an X-server and any of those pesky window managers. They should be comfortable with the commandline, afterall, it's what people were using 30 years ago and it will bring back a strong sense of nostalgia as they struggle reading the man page for mail. Who knew email could be so fun!

Re:Kids aren't stupid (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#30556688)

Now look, the moment new tech comes onto the field, it's usually kids or other youths who, after somehow obtaining it, are the ones most comfortable with it.

So the folklore has it. But like all folklore, it's only partly truth.
 

You don't need to make a "kiddy" version of the search engine. Children will learn to use the adult tools easily and will be prepared for the future. If we force them to use dumbed down versions, eventually dumbed down versions will be the norm since the next generation will be against changing it.

If 'searching' were a technology - you'd have a point. But searching is only the first step, then you need to evaluate the search results to determine if they really do hold the answer you seek. This, like any intellectual activity, requires a certain amount of experience and education, something kids lack.

Stop thinking of the children! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30554662)

And stop dumbing everything down. It used to be that entering a couple of words into a search engine gave a somewhat predictable result. Now every search engine keeps second-guessing me. "Did you mean...? We've already included the suggested results." No, if I had meant that, then I would have typed it. Some words have become almost unsearchable because search engines keep "generalizing" them to words so generic that they hardly filter anything anymore (which happens easily considering there are more languages than English and similar looking words can mean very different things). Until computers become sentient and can actually "do what I mean", I want them to do what I tell them to do, got it?

My point exactly. On-topic results, & no Goats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30555014)

This technology was demonstrated of all places the same Christmas Island where Goatse was originally hosted (and thereafter terminated). This guy [youtube.com] has technology that technology that filters inappropriate results, but I'm more concerned with his affiliation with former and ex Nazi party members back in World War 2. I just get the feeling that just because he's a good speaker, a community organizer, progressive, some prior relationships with minority political views, things can't possibly get worse... (read: Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Polpot, Bush-en Sr. & Jr., and now Barack H. Obama.

Predictive (1)

Smivs (1197859) | more than 4 years ago | (#30555026)

Now every search engine keeps second-guessing me. "Did you mean...?

Yeah, it's great. I can type any old s**t into Google and it knows exactly what I mean!

Re:Stop thinking of the children! (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 4 years ago | (#30555142)

Some words have become almost unsearchable because search engines keep "generalizing" them to words so generic that they hardly filter anything anymore

Quote the words (i.e. "foobar" instead of just foobar), that disables the generalization and spelling fixes, at least for Google.

Then put + in front of everything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30555216)

Why isn't there a preference setting for this though? The second guessing of spelling I don't mind, at least the real results still show up ... but leaving out search terms silently is just insane.

Google stop words are (mostly) back in again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30555260)

but leaving out search terms silently is just insane

If you're referring to "stop words" ("the", "of", etc.), while Google used to leave those out unless you gave just the right directions to include them Google no longer does that as of early last year.

http://www.seofaststart.com/blog/stop-words-are-dead [seofaststart.com] explains that Google (and what was then MSN, presumably Bing followed in MSN's footsteps on this) are now (mostly) paying attention to "stop words".

There's been some speculation that the change may have been a results of Google implementing this http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.htm&r=1&p=1&f=G&l=50&d=PTXT&S1=7,319,994.PN.&OS=pn/7,319,994&RS=PN/7,319,994 [uspto.gov] patented document compression scheme.

(NO, I don't fiddle around with Search Engine Optimization. I am working to setup a search engine for a government organization so "well, how would that search behave in Google" is often a helpful point of comparison)

Re:Google stop words are (mostly) back in again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30555424)

No I mean that if you do a simple search for multiple terms (so a default AND search) it will silently show results which don't contain all the results. Only words with + are guarantueed to be contained.

Re:Stop thinking of the children! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30559528)

And, if you glance down three enties in the results, you see you actual search anyway... *sigh*

Re:Stop thinking of the children! (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 4 years ago | (#30555210)

This kind of guessing can be useful. If I am unsure about the spelling of a word, I search for it the way I recall, and Google will probably give me: "Did you mean: [the correct spelling]".

On the other hand, it can be a pain if it's done wrong. In a certain auction site, I searched for 'Integris' (a computer accessories brand), and got hundreds of results that included "integrated", "integrator", "integral" -- everything that was vaguely similar, and I found no way around to search for the exact spelling only.

Re:Stop thinking of the children! (1)

Dwedit (232252) | more than 4 years ago | (#30555296)

Put a plus sign before the keyword, that will force a particular spelling.

Google's aggressive spelling correction (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#30556704)

On the other hand, it can be a pain if it's done wrong.

Over the last year, Google's spelling correction has steadily become more aggressive. At first, Google just suggested "Did you mean X?", but gave you the results for what you'd specified. Then they started displaying "Did you mean X", and gave you the results for X. Then they just gave you the results after spelling correction and don't even tell you they did. Recently, they've backed that off a little, and now intermix results from the original query and the spelling-corrected form.

If you want literal search with Google, quote the words being searched.

Adults (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30554690)

The idea that most adult users are "familiar with basic internet concepts" made me chuckle. If anything, I'd expect a kid to figure out how to use a search engine effectively (rephrase search terms; skip results that are obviously spammish SEO garbage) a lot faster than a typical adult.

Kids-friendly search engine (1)

halfey (1516717) | more than 4 years ago | (#30554702)

Filtering the explicit material from search result is one thing, but can any search engine be simpler than what we already have in Google or Bing? Adult content are already filtered by default and they're already simple enough that even my 5-year old nephew can use them with no fuss. Perhaps what the people want is a schoolkid version of the existing search engines that will assist the kids in their homework right out of the box?

clunky interfaces (4, Insightful)

seeker_1us (1203072) | more than 4 years ago | (#30554712)

He said that because Bing used more imagery than other search engines, it attracted more children.

Funny, this is the opposite reasoning as to why I started using Google over yahoo/excite/altavista.

All the other search providers started cluttering their pages up. Google was simple and clean and did what I wanted.

Re:clunky interfaces (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#30556720)

He said that because Bing used more imagery than other search engines, it attracted more children.

Funny, this is the opposite reasoning as to why I started using Google over yahoo/excite/altavista. All the other search providers started cluttering their pages up. Google was simple and clean and did what I wanted.

And of course, your preferences and idiosyncrasies are exactly the same as everyone else's. Not to mention the difference between search providers results pages as so small, as far as clutter goes, that one suspects 'prejudices' is a better term for your behavior than 'preferences'.

Re:clunky interfaces (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30556918)

Well, Microsoft has just decided to take ownership of their most devoted userbase: stupid fucktards who can't read. They love Bing, because it flashes pretty pictures in front of them, like Boobah!

Yes, make it more image-oriented (4, Funny)

hwyhobo (1420503) | more than 4 years ago | (#30554790)

After all, "Bob" was a great success.

Re:Yes, make it more image-oriented (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30554924)

A "Troll" mod for mentioning a Microsoft failure?

I really hate how low Slashdot has sunk.

How are we going to de-infest this place of all the Reputation Managers? It really sucks having most of the interesting comments modded to invisibility and all the "I love Linux, but [Microsoft product] is way better" posts on +5.

A better search (2, Insightful)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 4 years ago | (#30554802)

Won't that be grand? Computers and the programs will start thinking and the people will stop.

- Dr. Walter Gibbs

With apologies, but the wisdom of TRON seems so appropriate right about now.

Ask.com (3, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30554812)

I don't think their search boxes not being big enough is the main improvement they need to work on. How about improving search results by 30% instead?

And they've been doing this for a while too. In an interview last year [practicalecommerce.com], their exec mainly droned on about Ask3D, one of their many hare-brained attempts to make an "Ask X", where X is some stupid representation of results for gimmicky or audience-targeting purposes.

In some ways, it's not totally stupid from a business point of view. Google has pretty good results (though the web's increasing noisiness and the arms race with SEO is making them maybe worse than they once were), and it's hard to beat them at that game. So competitors are inevitably trying to find other angles on which to compete, like trying to come up with results presentation that's snazzier than Google's list of links (though Google's list of links is getting more complicated in graphically subtle but quite useful ways), or special versions like "Ask Kids" to try to convince niche audiences that they need something special for them rather than a general-purpose search engine. But I'm not really convinced there's anything to these attempts.

Re:Ask.com (3, Interesting)

Mark Trade (172948) | more than 4 years ago | (#30555094)

I don't think their search boxes not being big enough is the main improvement they need to work on.

In fact, there is empirical evidence that supports your idea: the average web search query is about 3 words long (depending on which search engine was examined, this varies +- 1 or so).

For example, see this paper: http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=281250.281253&coll=ACM&dl=ACM&CFID=68253875&CFTOKEN=24736044 [acm.org]

Won't somebody think of the children?!?!? (1)

HigH5 (1242290) | more than 4 years ago | (#30554916)

Hey, I used to be the kid that learned everything by himself and taught my parents how computers and programs work.
Microsoft, the nanny company?

Just watch them and learn how they solve things (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30554980)

I have two boys (age 2 and 4) and, by simply observing the way they learn, I can easily spot logical flaws in software or UI in general :-) For example, they tend to mix Google Earth and Network Connection panel on Win as they both use Earth-like _icon_. They can't find things on Win7 because UI and _icons changed_ (their first OS was XP). Furthermore, they manage to run application from Win Explorer by it's _order_ - not it's name since they can't read and English is not their native language anyways. They adopted multitouch UI last year in a _day_ (moving, resizing, running things) which tells more than tonns of studies. Younger boy adopts things faster because older one already "dumbs things down" to the level they can both understand.

Children are not stupid (1)

ChristofferC (1025109) | more than 4 years ago | (#30555124)

Children are much more open to new ideas and learn much faster than adults. Why the hell would they need a simplified interface? Senior citizens are the ones in need of simplified interfaces.

translation (3, Funny)

mrphoton (1349555) | more than 4 years ago | (#30555366)

"He said that because Bing used more imagery than other search engines, it attracted more children. ..." translation: bing is for children who have not yet leant how to set the default search engine to google.

Bad example (1)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 4 years ago | (#30555488)

Kids who can type "who is the president?" (implied: "...of the US") into a search engine and get a result back probably already know the answer.

unbelievable... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30556690)

There are people that actually use Bing. Whodathunkit?

Wolfram|Alpha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30559576)

The question mentioned in the article: Which day would the vice president’s birthday fall on the next year?

This seemed like a perfectly reasonable question for the self-proclaimed "computational knowledge engine". Sadly it fails as well.

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