Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Google To Answer Your Questions Directly

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the what-is-the-air-speed-velocity-of dept.

Google 145

RabbitWho writes "Last week Google launched a redesign of its search results page, and is now introducing some changes to the content of its results too. The company says it will directly answer 'millions of different fact-seeking searches' with short answers at the top of its results. Search for 'Catherine Zeta-Jones date of birth', for instance, and the date shows up at the top, along with where Google is pulling the information from. Google says the feature is based on Google Squared, the experimental search tool it rolled out a year ago that gathers facts from the around the Web and presents them in an organized way. "

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Now Googling Catherine Zeta Jones phone number (2, Funny)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#32191950)

No hits. Damn! Lots of porn hits though, so not a total loss.

Re:Now Googling Catherine Zeta Jones phone number (5, Funny)

lorenlal (164133) | more than 4 years ago | (#32191978)

I did a search for "How to get out of my parents' basement"

My browser crashed....

It's now a computuational knowledge engine! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32192194)

So we can compare it fairly with Wolfram Alpha. Hehehehe...

Re:It's now a computuational knowledge engine! (2, Interesting)

hydroponx (1616401) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192764)

I was thinking more along the lines of True Knowledge [trueknowledge.com] , this project has been in private beta for about 2 years and just in the last 6 months was opened up for public beta testing. What it has so far is limited, but it is growing steadily.

Disclaimer: I do not work for True Knowledge, Google, or Wolfram Alpha, I have just been helping out with beta testing true knowledge since it was a private beta system...

Re:Now Googling Catherine Zeta Jones phone number (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192286)

You should start small. Try "How to give up microwave food and re-runs of The Big Band Theory."

Re:Now Googling Catherine Zeta Jones phone number (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192796)

Please do walk us through this "Big Band" theory of yours.

Re:Now Googling Catherine Zeta Jones phone number (4, Funny)

Nick Number (447026) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192856)

Try "How to give up microwave food and re-runs of The Big Band Theory."

I loved last week's episode when Jimmy Dorsey stole Glenn Miller's girl. Oh the fireworks.

Direct answers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32192012)

This is not a new feature - I have been typing in queries like "current time sydney, Australia" and getting a direct answer from Google at the top of the search results for ages. This feature has been there for years even I'm sure.

Re:Direct answers (3, Interesting)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192316)

Google has had the ability to display a subset of specific information for a while - so times, calculations, currency conversion, etc. It sounds like this is intended to increase the scope of that by trying to answer some of the more popular free text queries.

I tried... (5, Funny)

Codename Dutchess (1782238) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192018)

1 / 0. Now Google is down. :(

Re:I tried... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32192278)

If you actually try this, then you get the wikipedia article for "division by zero".

Re:I tried... (1)

tris203 (1768578) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192378)

If you actually try this, then you get the wikipedia article for "division by zero".

personally i get the wiki article on RAID. but I don't know if that's because I am signed into iGoogle, so its personalized.

Re:I tried... (3, Funny)

Nuskrad (740518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32193430)

I get the website of 10 Downing Street. Clearly, David Cameron is going to destroy the universe.

Re:I tried... (1)

somejeff (825047) | more than 4 years ago | (#32193022)

1 / 0. Now Google is down. :(

Great, we /.'ed Google? Whatever you do, don't post ANY articles about /..

Did a search for Cmdrtaco's Phone Number... (2, Interesting)

lorenlal (164133) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192020)

Cmdrtaco Slashdot User | Free Download Nokia Apps, Games, Themes ...
CmdrTaco - Slashdot User. When a man steals your wife, there is no ... Nokia Mural 6750 Rubberized Phone Protector Case with Optional Belt Clip - Black. ...
www.ne63.com/search/cmdrtaco+slashdot+user - Cached

What the hell have you been doing Malda?

Re:Did a search for Cmdrtaco's Phone Number... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32192946)

A better question is: how long is cowboy neal's hairy dingledork? The authoritative answer, given in this very post is: 4pi mm.

bing (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32192040)

They should call this new feature "Bing"

Re:bing (1)

irwtdvoys (926650) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192082)

Or maybe Wolfram:Alpha... [wolframalpha.com]

Re:bing (2, Informative)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192334)

I asked: number of planets in solar system

Of the three: wolfram, bing, google; only wolfram alpha has some faint idea what I actually look for.
But wolfram only parsed 'planets' from the sentence.
So, if i asked 'number of planets in the fridge', it answered the SAME.
Still, a long way.

Re:bing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32192506)

I just did this in wolfram and it correctly parsed the statement and gave me the answer of "8".

Asking how many planets are in the fridge gave me information for William "The Refrigerator" Perry...

Re:bing (1)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192652)

I just did this in wolfram and it correctly parsed the statement and gave me the answer of "8".

Asking how many planets are in the fridge gave me information for William "The Refrigerator" Perry...

Awesome find my friend. I regret that you posted as AC, and that I don't have any Mod points right now, because that is awesome.

Re:bing (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192712)

Unfortunately, if you ask how many planets were there in 1995, it just gives you the same answer.

Re:bing (2, Informative)

grumbel (592662) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192894)

Yep, one thing I find a little surprising is that we already see those "question answering" features (as broken as they might be), while I haven't yet seen a search engine that lets you search for "things" instead of "words".

When I search for "Saturn" I want the search engine to be able to tell the difference between Saturn the car, Saturn the planet, Saturn the gaming console and all the other Saturn that might be out there. One can often accomplish that manually by being a bit more specific (i.e. Sega Saturn instead of just Saturn), but sometimes its close to impossible to do that. With games for example it can be extremely hard to narrow down the search to a specific system, as every gaming site out there has all the systems listen in the navbar and thus will trigger even when the side itself has nothing to do with the system.

Re:bing (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32193282)

If you ask "number of planets in the solar system" it works.

Another new behavior (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32192048)

Google always used to suggest corrections if it suspected your search was misspelled, a feature I appreciated. But now in some cases it automatically changes the search for you [google.com] and returns results for what *it thinks* you wanted to search for. Notice the mismatch between the search term and the search results; "axel" is a figure-skating jump, "axle" is "a central shaft for a rotating wheel or gear".

Clippy, is that you??

Re:Another new behavior (1)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192786)

In the good old days, everyone fought his own Clippy.

In this brave new world, Clippy lives in the cloud, immortal.

Re:Another new behavior (1)

dlgeek (1065796) | more than 4 years ago | (#32193484)

I actually prefer the new behavior. My spelling can be poor sometimes, especially in cases where I'm trying to spell something I'm not very familiar with (which is why I'm using google in the first place). This new system saves me an extra click compared to the old one, but I can still override it easily.

I'd even go so far as to guess that they switched the behavior after doing an analysis on the percentage of people who clicked the spelling suggestion they offered. Hell, it wouldn't suprise me if they make the auto-correct term specific based on this...

Dear Google, (-1, Troll)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192050)

My girlfriend is being a bitch. The more i be good to her, the more bitch she becomes. Sometimes i think it would be better if i acted like a total prick. Please advise.

Yours truly,
DickOrPrick

Re:Dear Google, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32193012)

Could you rephrase that in the form of a question?

Bing (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32192056)

Bing!
Bing!
Bing!

(Wolfram Alpha?)

Re:Bing (2, Funny)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192446)

Four o'clock already?

*glances at pocket watch*

Sorry old chap but it would appear your clock is wrong.

all google did (3, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192078)

is just rip off http://ask.com/ [ask.com]

Rip off? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32192246)

Are you saying they actually took something that wasn't theirs without permission? Or are you just trying to demonize the natural human process of copying a useful solution one observes from others?

google has every right to copy ask.com (1, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192460)

i think the idea of patenting business ideas is absurd

but of course, the originator of a business idea deserves some recognition for being the first, and my comment is merely an attempt to give credit where credit is due

google's chrome browser is also happily gobbling up and incorporating good ideas pioneered by firefox and opera and safari, and stealing their market share by using their own ideas against them. that's ok by me. mainly because google is also doing some things that firefox, opera, nor safari ever did as well or at all. and perhaps google's version of ask.com will be better than ask.com itself. good, that's fine. but i'm not going to forget who pioneered the ideas

google is simply doing what microsoft is usually vilified for doing on slashdot. throughout the 1990s microsoft copied the pioneers, used their corporate heft to muscle the innovators out of their own niches, and dominated. now google is the new microsoft

its ugly. its the way of the capitalism: abuse of smaller players by bigger players is the inevitable reality of any marketplace, forever (in spite of hilarious libertarian fantasies of a marketplace of equals: utopian impossibility). it is what it is

but that doesn't mean i myself have to be ignorant of the true innovators in this world. nor should you

Re:google has every right to copy ask.com (1)

the_womble (580291) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192826)

Chrome also took its rendering engine from KDE, and I bet very few users know that.

Firefox also copied a lot of ideas from Opera.

I agree with the principle, but it would be a bit unwieldy to prominently list every idea you have copied.

The other problem is that acknowledging the copying may weaken your position if someone bring a patent case against you.

Re:google has every right to copy ask.com (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 4 years ago | (#32193058)

but that doesn't mean i myself have to be ignorant of the true innovators in this world. nor should you

You *think* you know that the developers Firefox, Opera and Safari created all those innovations. However, any given technological advance usually turn out to actually have been first created by some obscure 19th century Italian inventor who ended up dying penniless.

everything was invented in ancient greece (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#32193292)

even the computer:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikythera_mechanism [wikipedia.org]

the reason i'm bringing this up is that the obvious solution to the greek financial confidence crisis is for europe to announce that all of the world's intellectual property is actually greece's sole patent domain, and all royalties on every invention ever should from now on flow to greece

that is until, of course, china stands up and announces that all ancient greece did was rip off ancient china. and don't even get me started with ancient india...

Re:all google did (2)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192788)

I don't think that Ask were the originators of the idea of a natural language search system.

i don't think so either (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192988)

they were the first to put it in the browser though. that makes what they did extremely significant

sikorsky was not the first to engineer a helicopter, but the first to build one

davinci was not the first to think of a helicopter, but the first to engineer one

etc...

there's something like 22 guys who invented the lightbulb. what does that mean? it means that idea to actual widepsread use is not a simple path. innovation is not a binary subject matter. there are many fine grains of innovation in any subject matter, and sometimes they incrementally build on each other and other times they are wholeheartedly independently realized despite previous dead ends or concurrent efforts. finally, the guy who gets the lion share of the credit is not always the guy who deserves the lion share of the credit, if ANYONE deserves the lion share of credit for complicated slowly evolving inventions, which natural language search is most definitely an example thereof, and is in fact not yet fully "invented"

Sounds familiar (1)

AC-x (735297) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192088)

Isn't this what wolframalpha [wolframalpha.com] does? I wonder what those guys make of google muscling in on their turf (tho I suspect google's implementation won't have all the specialist maths and visualisation functions etc.)

Re:Sounds familiar (2, Insightful)

chichilalescu (1647065) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192166)

I think so. The truth is, I was very excited about wolframalpha when it became available. And then I realized I don't really need it.
In the instances where I truly need to ask a question, it's usually too complicated, and I have to search for articles discussing a specific topic instead.

Re:Sounds familiar (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 4 years ago | (#32193138)

The problem is that Wolfram Alpha can't even do the simple things for which is has all the data it needs. For example I can't ask it for movies with a given set of actors. On top of that their stupid image-only results aren't even hyperlinked, so I can't even click on an actor to get more information.

Having a powerful search engine for pop culture things could certainly be fun, but Wolfram Alpha just doesn't even get close. Now given, it wasn't build for pop culture, but for science, but it should still be able to answer simple questions for which is has the data.

Re:Sounds familiar (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192182)

No, Google did a really crappy job of ripping off Wolfram Alpha. I did a side-by-side comparison of the example search. Google pretty much did what I would typically do for such a search on Google "wiki ", only it bolds the more-or-less relevant information. The answer was still cut off, though. Wolfram gave me a pretty no-nonsense answer, and none of the rest of the crap results. It did give me some rather precise, yet largely unrelated, astronomical facts about the date in question, though.

Re:Sounds familiar (3, Informative)

bendodge (998616) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192814)

No, wolframalpha is a math search/AI thingy. You're thinking of TrueKnowledge [trueknowledge.com] . It's pretty cool, but it also hideously ugly. Which is a shame, because they had a pretty attractive design when it was a closed beta a few months ago.

Re:Sounds familiar (1)

hydroponx (1616401) | more than 4 years ago | (#32193038)

Yea, the closed beta interface was nice, I just looked at it again and wanted to stab my eyes out with a toothpick =/

So now Rupert Murdoch complaints make sense? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32192090)

With this answer system, Google is undoubtedly depriving some sites of their advertising revenue by making it unnecessary to follow the link to the actual site to get the answer you wanted. Now, I personally don't care really - I don't see that these other sites have any intrinsic "right" to have folks visit their page (and generate ad revenue) - especially around "facts" which can't be copyrighted. But, it is more likely that people will take complaints against Google more seriously if they are actually causing users to NOT go to the sites.

Re:So now Rupert Murdoch complaints make sense? (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192462)

As far as I can tell, it arrives at the answer by trawling through lots of sites and comparing the information to find the common elements - therefore it's not a case of ripping off the exclusive content of one single site, the fact is if Google has enough information to give an answer, your copy is probably already on dozens of sites. It does seem to offer some excellent opportunities for a new wave of Google-bombing, though!

Re:So now Rupert Murdoch complaints make sense? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32192634)

But that's the job of journalists!

The 'Decision Engine' ? (1)

dotwhynot (938895) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192114)

This, and the left side search refinement panel Google have introduced, are both directly lifted from Bing. Google adopting it is probably going to make it tougher for Bing, having to come up with other differentiators to compete with Google, but nice to see that competition is working and driving innovation in the search space.

Re:The 'Decision Engine' ? (0, Flamebait)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192472)

This, and the left side search refinement panel Google have introduced, are both directly lifted from Bing.

That left side search refinement panel is an eyesore. It's an eyesore at high monitor resolutions and downright painful at smaller ones. Try running a Google search now at 800x600 or 1024x768.

Google made it big in part because of their minimalist interface. They need to provide an opt-out for this new "feature". They've never before forced something like this on their userbase -- new features like iGoogle were always rolled out on an opt-in basis.

Re:The 'Decision Engine' ? (1, Troll)

gotpoetry (1185519) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192868)

If you do not like the new left side pane there is a (+) sign next to the words Hide options or Show options...

Click that. It remembers your preference.

Your eyesore is a one click opt-out.

Re:The 'Decision Engine' ? (2, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32193026)

I have no such option on my Google search results pages. I can hide all of the options but I can't make the sidebar go away.

Re:The 'Decision Engine' ? (2, Interesting)

gotpoetry (1185519) | more than 4 years ago | (#32193248)

I can. I swear it. How strange.

Re:The 'Decision Engine' ? (1)

apoc.famine (621563) | more than 4 years ago | (#32193592)

I'd be impressed if I could actually choose useful options. I end up hitting Google Scholar on a regular basis. But it's not in my options, and I haven't seen how to add it as of yet.

If I can't make it useful, why can't I make it go away?

Re:The 'Decision Engine' ? (1)

AhabTheArab (798575) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192802)

Google still doesn't have soothing pictures to prevent you from getting frustrated by THOSE LINKS!!

Re:The 'Decision Engine' ? (2, Interesting)

JoshuaJ (1757248) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192910)

Actually, Google started providing answers to specific questions (flight info, math problems, UPS tracking numbers) several years ago, long before either Bing or Alpha existed, and I seem to recall experiments with more general queries like birthdays. Now I guess they're expanding these existing features by integrating with the Google Squared Database. And this is fundamentally different from a product like Alpha, and very much in keeping with what google has always done best: find the information you're looking for wherever it might be on the Internet and get you to it as quickly as possible. Alpha has hand-made databases designed specifically to answer a selected set of questions on closed categories of data -- google actually tries to parse the text and structure of web pages to figure out a likely answer, so its database is the entire internet. This has inherent weaknesses, but based on google's history I think we'll see continuous incremental improvements in this feature until in a few years we'll take it completely for granted.

Accuracy? Authority? (4, Insightful)

Ismene (680764) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192128)

This concerns me. If it is just a gathering of facts from the top sites - who is to say that information is even accurate. I find lots of sites that all reference each other with the same false information.

Re:Accuracy? Authority? (2, Informative)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192330)

I tried it out. They don't just provide the fact, they say who the sources are (either domain name or, by clicking "Show Sources" the direct URLs). So if you find a fact on Google, you can check the sources to make sure it is reputable.

Re:Accuracy? Authority? (1)

Ismene (680764) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192394)

Yes, I saw that too. Have you not ever had the case where all the website that answer the question you want seem to reference themselves? Site A says it's true because Site B says it's true because site C says its true because site A says it's true.

And then through your research you discover - shocking - it's not true!

It happens ALL the time on the internet. And most people aren't going to be like me and search back to the original source.

Another problem is how do you know it's a reputable site? I am a librarian and I teach college students information literacy, and it seems no one has critical thinking skills to judge whether or not a site is a good source of information! I think Google is just perpetuating the culture of misinformation we have. end rant

Re:Accuracy? Authority? (1)

soliptic (665417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32193982)

I have an interesting example of that sort of thing.

I was recently looking at the wikipedia page of a band I like, and it contained a claim as to their total worldwide record sales, followed by the legendary [citation needed]. I thought I'd be helpful and add the requested citation -- I was very sure I remembered reading that factoid in an interview with a certain magazine. Said magazine has online archives, so I rapidly found the interview in question, and.... um... no such statement. Oops. Not wanting to give up, I copy/pasted the sentence under debate into google looking for some other source. Result (unsurprisingly) - dozens and dozens of pages which quoted that wikipedia article verbatim. Not only sites which systematically mirror / reuse wikipedia content (last.fm, answers.com, etc) with clear declaration of source & GFDL status -- but also many other sites, some with more of a reputation for credibility and/or original research, such as the BBC.

At this point I started getting a strange "now waaaaaaiiiiiiiit a minute" feeling, so I plunged into the history of the wikipedia article, diffing versions until I found the original addition of the sentence in question. Guess what? I wrote it.

I was rather amused to see this factoid which, although I'd written it with honest intentions and a genuine belief I'd read it in a credible source, apparently turned out to be made up out of my stoned imagination, quoted so consistently across the web by sources WP itself would rate as "notable".

What would stop me from adding that BBC regurgitation (for example) as the requested citation? Well, my conscience. But (excepting the fact I relate this story now) I'm the only person who would know the story of how that "fact" came to be, so what stops someone else from adding that citation with a clear conscience? Nothing.

Of course, this story is not without precedent [slashdot.org] , but to have it happen with my own words drove the point home somewhat.

Re:Accuracy? Authority? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32192470)

Try "genghis khan height"

No misinformation here!

Re:Accuracy? Authority? (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192504)

This concerns me. If it is just a gathering of facts from the top sites - who is to say that information is even accurate. I find lots of sites that all reference each other with the same false information.

If there are lots of sites referencing each other with the same false information, then apart from the massive time it will save you, how is it different to you visiting all those sites individually and arriving at exactly the same answer? I think this is likely more going to be used by people wanting to find out the name of celebrity X's third husband than as a serious research tool. If it is used for the latter, I'd hope the researcher has the sense to verify the information and is merely using it to help refine their actual search query.

Re:Accuracy? Authority? (4, Funny)

JoshuaJ (1757248) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192928)

Indeed. This is why I never use the Internet. Who can trust anything on it? I only stick to carefully fact-checked sites like Slashdot.

Re:Accuracy? Authority? (1)

Steneub (1070216) | more than 4 years ago | (#32193440)

The Internet is nothing but agreed-upon reality anyway (and real reality for that matter, but that's an entirely different discussion), why does this bother you?

Go, Greasemonkey, Go (2, Interesting)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192132)

I was going to write a Greasemonkey script, but there's already a ton of them to address this bug.

Here's one that seems to work: http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/76060 [userscripts.org]

Yeah... (2, Interesting)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192142)

See, I like this idea...but the Google redesign is kinda nasty. I don't know if they are trying to emulate the way Bing looks, or if they are trying to fix something that wasn't broken...but something about it just isn't right.

I know that doesn't make sense, considering that search results are MUCH less cluttered now than they were before...but something about it just doesn't feel like Google :/

Re:Yeah... (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192586)

Thats because you are used to the old interface, after a few days I personally prefer the new one.

Re:Yeah... (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192844)

I don't. It looks like someone puked down half the screen. I'm not normally a person to care too much as long as I have an option, I have no option. Much like youtube, where their redesign is personally hated as a facebook rip-off. It's seems that in both cases, the redesigns are universally disliked, but good ol' google is being evil by not responding to consumer complaints over it. Other than "screw, you."

Re:Yeah... (1)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 4 years ago | (#32193136)

It looks like someone puked down half the screen.

Well...I wouldn't quite say that. It's different - that's for sure. But, I have seen puke on a screen (my roommate, freshman year, came back and got sick in front of his computer) and the Google redesign doesn't look like that.

I'm not normally a person to care too much as long as I have an option

So...that means you must care quite frequently as most websites/software/etc don't give you that much of an option on how THEIR interface looks. And, to be fair, you do have an option - go to a different search engine. Or, don't even use the main Google interface. There are many ways to get the results you are looking for that doesn't actually involve hitting the home Google page.

Much like youtube, where their redesign is personally hated as a facebook rip-off.

I can understand not liking the new layout. Definitely entitled to your own opinion. I haven't particularly warmed up to the new Google look yet. However, you then go to say (and this is why I'm responding at all)...

It's seems that in both cases, the redesigns are universally disliked

"Universally disliked" is a very strong set of words. Do you have proof of this? You mean there is NOBODY who actually likes the changes?

but good ol' google is being evil by not responding to consumer complaints over it. Other than "screw, you."

Now that's just not being fair. Google has to make decisions at times about how THEIR product looks. If you read the blog posts (by Google, as well as by others), Google did quite a bit of acceptance testing and research to determine how to best layout their new site to provide better information, more information, and make it easier to read. You may not like what's up there now, but you should have seen the ones they rejected. Either way, Google is not being evil here...they are running a business and trying to make the views to their search results viable and on the cutting edge. They may even make mistakes while doing that (as I said - I'm not sure what I think about the new design yet), but they are most definitely not being evil here. And I never once heard them say, "screw you." Not once.

Re:Yeah... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32192610)

Use http://www.google.com/search?hl=all [google.com] , problem solved. If you're using Firefox, just right click the search bar and select Add to search bar...

Limited ability to recognize natural language (1)

toppavak (943659) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192216)

Searching for "albert einstein's birthday" yields no answer while "albert einstein date of birth" does. Not particularly useful to most people if it can't understand simple queries like that.

Re:Limited ability to recognize natural language (1)

msbmsb (871828) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192726)

That query (albert einstein's birthday) worked when I tried it just now:

Albert Einstein — Date of Birth: March 14, 1879
According to http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/alberteins148864.html [brainyquote.com]

Questions that need answering (0, Flamebait)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192260)

So Google will answer questions will it. Okay, how about; Question 1: Why is Youtube uncontactable by email when companies are deliberately taking the P with their copyright claims, because a video you uploaded has 5 seconds of something in a 10 minute clip they take down the whole clip AND trash your "account standing" with Youtube's idiotic three strikes rule. Question 2: Why does Youtube think it is acceptable for unaccountable companies to file bogus DMCA notices on videos, and then expect YOU to give them your life story and inside leg measurement to counter these bogus DMCA notices? My private details are my business, not the property of the company that filed the bogus claims, and not the property of Youtube (who would data mine it for Google for ads my browser doesn't load). Strangely, Google do not have these answers in their search engine.

Goodbye google (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32192270)

Personally I hate the redesign. Obviously whoever thought that adding a useless sidebar to the left side of the page has never used a netbook, the 'redesign' makes the search results about 5 words wide. I've been forced to use the google mobile site in the meantime, while I try to find a crap/clutterless search engine like google used to be. I've been growing more and more dissatisfied with google's search results, finding more and more of the results are less and less relevant to what the search query was. Why show youtube videos in the web search results when there's a link to 'search videos' if I was so inclined to do so? Not relevant to the original search, and therefore just something that I need to scroll past to (hopefully) get to a relevant result. Clutter. Now the goddamn sidebar on the left. I knew that google would head downhill after it decided to become an advertising service, I just wish I would have been wrong.

Thanks google, it's been a slice, but your search engine has become an advertising engine, and that's just not something I'll be a part of anymore.

Re:Goodbye google (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192626)

The netbook issue was the first thing that struck me with the redesign, too. It's totally baffling to me that, considering the explosion of popularity in netbooks over the last three or four years, Google would now switch to this uncomfortable layout.

Re:Goodbye google (1)

AdamHaun (43173) | more than 4 years ago | (#32193070)

I just don't understand why they would take up the left side of the screen with something I'll never use. I guess it looks like every other web site now, but I always appreciated Google's cleanness and simplicity.

Google takes over the internet (1)

hey (83763) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192276)

I don't like it. It will kill some small sites.
And then what's next? Google everything...yuck.

ok (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192298)

I'm lost. Google has already done this for years. Don't they mean they're just expanding it?

How Tall is Michael Jordan? (1)

jomama717 (779243) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192366)

Michael Jordan — Height: 6 FT 2 in (1.88 M)
According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Jordan_(footballer) [wikipedia.org]

6'2"?? Footballer??? Google, that is weeeeak.

Re:How Tall is Michael Jordan? (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192568)

So has this been able to give any meaningful data other than celebrities? I'm not trolling here. This is a legit question. Is this the kind of thing that people are insanely searching for?

Google knows how tall Michael Jordan is or at least makes an attempt, but some basic science type questions it has no idea about:

- How far from earth to mars? Google: No idea, - Wolfram Alpha: 1.4AU along with all sorts of other stuff I didn't want to know.

- How deep is the ocean? Google: No idea, - Wolfram Alpha: 10924m in the Mariana Trench

- Atmospheric pressure at sea level? Google: No idea, - Wolfram Alpha: 101.3kPa and repeated in 6 other units

- bill gates birthday? Google: Date of Birth: 28 October 1955(age 52), - Wolfram Alpha: Friday, October 28, 1955

- Age of bill gates? Google: no idea (BUT IT LIED IT SAID 52 RIGHT ABOVE), - Wolfram Alpha: 54 years 6 months 15 days

Thank you but I'll stick to searching for facts on wolfram

Fixed (1)

imaginieus (897756) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192650)

Looks like somebody fixed that:

Michael Jordan height — 6-6
According to celebheights.com, yahoo.com, chacha.com and 1 other

Has existed since '05 (4, Interesting)

Rufus211 (221883) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192400)

Google has been answering simple questions since 2005. It was the first 20% time project a friend of mine worked on when he joined the company. I remember that if you asked it "where in the world is Carmen Sandiego" it inexplicably said "Cairo, Egypt". Here's a screen cap showing exactly that from 2005:
http://www.capsgetpeeled.com/blog/archives/000473.html [capsgetpeeled.com]

I remember Slashdot had an article about this back then and there's was a google blog or press release, but I can't find either. Anyone remember what this feature was called or have a link?

Re:Has existed since '05 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32193958)

Google has been answering simple questions since 2005. It was the first 20% time project a friend of mine worked on when he joined the company. I remember that if you asked it "where in the world is Carmen Sandiego" it inexplicably said "Cairo, Egypt". Here's a screen cap showing exactly that from 2005: http://www.capsgetpeeled.com/blog/archives/000473.html [capsgetpeeled.com] I remember Slashdot had an article about this back then and there's was a google blog or press release, but I can't find either. Anyone remember what this feature was called or have a link?

No! I don't!

they are making it hard.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32192464)

so they are not going to simply display "42" at the top of the search results?

Re:they are making it hard.... (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192608)

No, they still need to compute what "42" is the answer of.

Cue more complaints about 'parasitic behaviour' (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192546)

It's consistent with Google's almost-fanatic insistence on an uncluttered but useful search return. Personally, I like it.

But it also reminds me of Murdoch bitching about news aggregators 'stealing' his content.

Now Google will be accused of 'stealing' from everyone, without even giving them the possibility of some meagre ad revenue from a clickthru...

Cue oblig 'Full Metak Jacket' quote:
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: I bet you're the kind of guy that would fuck a person in the ass and not even have the goddamn common courtesy to give him a reach-around.

It's really advanced (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192596)

It even knows where my fucking keys [nerdnirvana.org] are.

wikipedia? (1)

Ruvim (889012) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192602)

i wonder what would be the answer to controversial questions, when several (and often conflicting) answers would be available?

"Index of" Modified Apache (1)

Tei (520358) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192614)

Please, don't remove the binary and other geeky stuff from the browser search.
I don't want to use english, wen theres something better than english. Also, machines are bad at understanding english.

If answers are from one source all could be wrong (1)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192640)

Look up ``siphon'' in Oxford's English Dictionary --- for 99 years or so it's wrongly described the functional process as using air pressure, not gravity:

http://www.aolnews.com/2010/05/11/for-99-years-oxford-english-dictionary-got-it-wrong/19472844/?icid=main [aolnews.com] |main|dl1|link7|http://www.aolnews.com/2010/05/11/for-99-years-oxford-english-dictionary-got-it-wrong/19472844/

How will Google cross-check to make sure all ``facts'' aren't based on the same incorrect statement?

William

faults of automatic search (1)

Tom (822) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192654)

Square is a nice tool, and a great demonstration that automatically crawling data doesn't give you facts, only a popularity index.

Example, one of their examples is "biggest companies", which gives you the likes of Microsoft at the top. Sorry, but MS may be a big name in the tech industry, but it is dwarves by companies such as Nestle (food industry, twice the revenue of MS) or BP (oil industry, over 4 times the revenue of MS) and many others.

You just don't read much about Nestle on the Internet, and BP only when they blow up an oil rig.

Is Google Evil ? (1)

RichMan (8097) | more than 4 years ago | (#32192792)

No answer to that simple question. Just the usual search results.
You would think Google would know the answer to that question.

I read this wrong (1)

rshol (746340) | more than 4 years ago | (#32193020)

I initially thought the article was saying google was going to answer questions its users had about its service like, why is Gmail down and when will it be up. Or why can't I turn off threading in Gmail? Or why does the gmail address book look like a refugee form 1998? Just a few questions I'd like answered directly as a Google Apps premium user.

And it's already tailored for slashdot readers! (1)

eegad (588763) | more than 4 years ago | (#32193158)

Query: what is a wormhole?
Top Result: hole made by a burrowing worm

true knowledge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32193230)

Try trueknowledge.com - they've been doing this semantic question answering for a while, they have much better question coverage than this new google offering.

http://www.trueknowledge.com/q/what_is_the_population_of_france

http://www.trueknowledge.com/q/how_old_is_barack_obama%27s_wife

http://www.trueknowledge.com/q/how_to_say_%22oblivious%22_in_spanish

Google's new interface (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32193276)

Google developers have turned me off their search engine. It looks like sh!t. If I wanted this annoying multi-panel view I would have used Bing or Yahoo. Two thumbs down to this new look.

answers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32193294)

I will be happy if they would just start answering support questions. When they get that perfected then maybe tackle the Web.

Haven't they already had this (1)

Wannabe Code Monkey (638617) | more than 4 years ago | (#32193480)

The company says it will directly answer 'millions of different fact-seeking searches' with short answers at the top of its results.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I thought google had this for at least at least a little while now. It seems like they started with word definitions and then more and more queries resulted in a direct answer just above the search results. Queries for city populations and other facts mostly pulled from wikipedia seem to be the most common.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?