As of 2016-02-26, there will be no more posts for this blog. s/blog/pba/
Showing posts with label Google Search. Show all posts

Recently, Google Search moved the search options from left-side to top-side:

Left: old design, options at left-hand side. Right: new design: options at top below input box

More space for result?

With the new design, theres a bit more breathing room, ...

I have to say that I don't feel it for web search results. It doesn't seem to add any useful space at all from what I see since the width of result seems to be same, ~500 pixels.

Even with the Knowledge Graph, still looks same to me:

In fact, little more awkward white space on wide screen, which should be everyone's screen type nowadays. If you maximize the window, it always has a lot of white space on search results, that probably will never be resolved. It's fine actually, not really a big issue.

Click harder!

It's bit of strange when using the "Search tools," such as time range. In the old design, you click and options drop down, then you move your mouse cursor directly downward. But with this new design, you have to go left and little bit down. Since the options now is actually drop-down menu style, it requires two-clicks if you want to change from "Past hour" to "Past 24 hours." Less efficient than the old design.

To make this point for clear, please search for "apple tart" in Recipe search. The tick boxes for ingredients were used to be easy to click on, now you have click more times. It's so inconvenient.

Fewer search types shown initially

Another issue with this new design is Video search isn't shown initially, you have to click on "More" to access it. Frankly, I use video search quite often, especially when a song is bugging me. Beside Video search, News search isn't shown, either. I also use News search whenever I hear something, just not as frequent. I think Google tries to maintain the same width as the result area width for the default search type. So, they demote Video and News.

Although I do find search query will promote certain search type, e.g. searching for viral video promoting Video type or "notes app" promoting Application type.

Something is good?

One thing is good from the new design is the image search:

More thumbnails in one page, it's good, right?


I can understand why Google want to make it better for tablet and mobile users, but rolled this design to desktop users, I don't feel it's right design.

If I have to give this design a score, I would say 2 out of 5 with this comment: not an improvement.

I was googling for a song called "What If Your Best" by FFH. After I entered the first three words, before I finished, I saw:

At the first glance, I wonder why so many people have problem with the birthday on February 29th? 3 entries are about it. #1, #3, #6, and #9 are about health. #2 is about a song,  #8 is about iPhone. And I didn't understand #5.

People do ask Google a lot of questions, in a weird way, sometimes. Even blatantly without even trying to word, they probably think their search keywords would never see a light.

Anyway, after I googled the song, I went back to check #5... I guess I am not the only one who tries to google it, just I didn't know the object in that question beforehand and you can use "orbit" in that way. I am sure most people google it with complete question.

"what if your wife orbits" has only 5 words, it's actually the shortest among the 10 suggestions, so I doubt it's truncated because of its length. I have tried all three SafeSearch settings, they all returned with that same suggestion. I wonder if Google does remove some words intentionally regardless the SafeSearch setting.

If that's the case, I think google might just remove it since you already remove partially, or it would only prompt people to google it in order to satisfy one's curiosity as I did. And I am sure many of you have already googled it before you read this post entirely. :D

Google announced their latest update on Transparency for copyright removals in search. They receive more than 250,000 requests per week, it's not a shocking number by my expectation. If people knew we can submit removal requests via a webform, I am sure the number would be much higher, and I am intended to submit my removal requests in the feature.

I have seen some of my contents were duplicated on Google Search results, though some claimed that's for mirroring lest sudden unavailability of access, but that's just pure non-sense in these days. Unfortunately, I licensed some works under the Creative Commons, which rendered me useless to take any action if I wanted to.

I have written a post telling you not to license your work and you should follow my advise, so you can take down those garbage websites when they ripped off you Flickr photos or your articles.

Recently, one of my popular-free-to-rip-off Flick photo gets ripped again, which is not even a good photo by any means. those rippers don't even care about the quality of the photos. They find whatever the photo relates to the keyword they need, then just shamelessly use the photo with same generated text in multiple sites.

It's not only the copyright being violated but also your reputation, which is a severer issue for everyone. See how my username gets attached to that page in red box in the preview image? It uses "by livibetter," that may read as if like 'this page is written by livibetter' if the reader doesn't read carefully. I doubt any human would even pay attention to read that page. However I am more consider how Google's bot thinks about it than real people and you can see the text preview, it sort of confirms my worry.

Sigh... if I didn't license that photo, then I could take it down since it would be violating my copyright. It's not only good for me but might also help a tiny bit for other people. For example, you wouldn't see that entry if your search unfortunately could hit on it.

There are plenty of pages like that if you have tried to search your contents, I am sure you will find your works are being violated. This world is filled with good people but also shameless people as well.

In the Google blog post, there is one thing very interesting:

For example, we recently rejected two requests from an organization representing a major entertainment company, asking us to remove a search result that linked to a major newspapers review of a TV show. [emphasis mine]

So, shameless people, again, huh? They do whatever it takes to abuse you in every way they can to screw you up. Producing bad TV shows result bad ratings, that is the perfect logic. But they want to fix it by muting other people's voice, how absurd is that? They maliciously use and copyright claim as censorship tool and attempt to manipulate people to think that's legit and ethical, sounds familiar to you? Those people truly have no moral standards in their hearts, wait! I doubt they even have a heart.

I wish Google would release such information in the future, I tried to find about denials in Transparency Report, but I can't see anything about the result of a request. That would be great to see those people being exposed their ridiculousness to the public.

By the way, GitHub has a repository about DMCA takedown requests they receive, read those commit messages, a few of them are quite funny.

I don't know how I could miss this post in last December, this graphing function is great, although still can't compete with your hand-held graphing calculator yet.

Just now, a new 3-D graphing is released. Unfortunately, my browser doesn't have WebGL enabled.

I haven't tried to guess some function names of frequency analysis, but I guess only the mathematical functions from your high school math class. But hey, polar coordinates system is part of high school math. Am I asking little too much?

When will I have data = load("http://....") ; fft(data)?

And why am I feeling Google Search is doing other things better than doing its search?

I think Google Math is a good lame name for this graphing feature and the calculator.

More than a month ago, I mentioned that I wanted to turn off personalized results and there I have it today (the Global icon):

It is really strange, it seems Google was listening to me. I also posted something about Google Analytics Email report, then two weeks later, Google Analytics posted about it.

Either I am being stalked or I have ability to see good stuff which should have been implemented or known well. (Or, I just bet everything I know)

You may want to turn it off permanently:

By the way, as I said more than once, I did google myself at least once a time to see what Google has crawled within 24 hours.

I am not sure how to name this post, don't want to use "bad" or "mayhem" to describe those URLs.


This first one is from phpBB, here is an example:
The query part is mingled with path. I don't agree with this at all. Resource and query are different types of things, they should never be categorized as the same. One reason I can think of doing so is to make referrer with query part useful when the web statistics analysis software requires more attention.

The only part can be and should be in path is the topic ID and others should only be in query part.

In RFC 3986:

The path component contains data, usually organized in hierarchical
form, that, along with data in the non-hierarchical query component
Although it is not said definitively, but I think judgment is same from everyone who read that URL, i.e. don't mix them.

Google Search

Second one is Google Search URL, the example:,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=e2019294b4afe1bc&biw=920&bih=986
249 characters in total and I have replaced some characters because I don't know if it will reveal my privacy or being used maliciously if I posted it unedited. Here is a breakdown version:
20 pairs of key-value. If you are interested, go check out Yahoo and Bing, they are as simple as you search in 90s. Google probably came from 24th century.

I have a problem when I wanted to get a video search query for posting. It took me a while to find out beside the q is the tbm=vid I need.

Of course, you can just grab the entire URL but you never really can understand each parameter is for. You can assume Google does not put sensitive information in the URL, but you are just risking yourself. And, posting that super long URL is not always welcome.

I think Google Search URL become mayhem after they started integrating with different type of searches and adding the sidebar with seamless switching.

Every time when I need to post a search URL, I have to manually edit or create one. I wish there is a option on top-left corner saying "Link to this query" as you have a similar thing in Google Maps.

Final thought

Not everyone has ever paid much attention to URL (except people only care about so-called SEO), but I do and sometimes I didn't like how developers use and design URL.

I would even say
is better and fine, it's history. They didn't have the need to put descriptive text in URL in that era and web server may not be supporting at the time.

As technology evolves, URL rewriting or dispatcher is created and supports such use. We may start to take advantage of it, (some) people do read the URLs. But never mis-use it as phpBB does.

Google used to keep things simple, not complicate. But I don't feel it's still been that way nowadays. People change, so do companies. I am sure some people like the nostalgic Google Search. I don't have preference of how results should look like, but I don't think Google needs to be so complicated on URL, either.

They, the URLs, should be simple and clean, sharp and direct, straight-forward to the point, no fuss, no BS. At least, not too much, so it won't get too stinky.

As some of you may know you can search "time UK" for current local time on Google or Yahoo. I use this feature quite often, but one thing I never couldn't understand is why I can't query by the timezone.

It makes no sense to me. Since it's about time, using timezone as key is so natural to me. When you are participating international events remotely, it is not always have geographical location listed in the time table, timezone abbreviation is most likely to see. Practically, an event often is listed with two or three different local times with respective timezones.

I just don't understand why Google engineers don't get it or, the worst,not even think about it.

Okay, no timezones, fine. Then how about ISO-3166-1 alpha-2/3?
  • "time DE" gets you time in Delaware. I can't really argue about this one, because it's US-regional Google Search.
  • "time DEU" gets nothing.
  • "time GER" gets nothing.
  • "time germ" still nothing.
  • "time germa" still nothing.
  • "time german" frak still nothing.
  • "time germany" yea, finally.
Although "time CET" gets nothing on Yahoo, too, but "time DE" will get you time in Delaware and time in Germany in second line. You can also try "time NL"

Yahoo is smarter when you ask about time. Note that it's not like Google can't give you a list of times regarding the key you use, see "time US".

Maybe time is not so important in Google?

I had thought about writing a web page which can support querying by timezone, but DST is really the pain in the ass and I don't really know how to get accurate DST starting and end information.

Yesterday, I was thinking to turn off Personalized Results, so I can see what non-signed in user would see. Don't want to use second browser/private session/etc to because I remember I used to see there is a link below the search result which you can temporarily turn off personalized results, but it has long gone.

I head over to the Search Settings, funny thing is I didn't see such option even a help entry, Turn off personal results, mentioning it. I don't have Web History running but I do have Google+ and I can see those additional results/annotations for social circles. I sometimes see Google Help doesn't help at all because things have changed, but help documentation doesn't get updated.

Anyway, what I saw is Blocking unwanted results, I don't long how long it have been sitting there, but I am glad I finally noticed it!

"You may block up to 500 sites." Oh yeah, that should be enough for me. I tried one and the website was removed from the results immediately.

I don't intent to block spam websites or content farms, those sites could be more the the population of cockroaches in the entire world. I want to block some archive websites as I mentioned in a post about Google Chrome Personal Blocklist Extension.

For those spams, I can only hope Google Search's algorithm will make them never see the light, rusting at the deep dungeon. Don't even think about it, they are rats, not dragon slayer. This is not video game, you nerdy dude! ;)

As for archive type websites, I don't really need to see them when there are original public source, even they are legit in my definition.

I have seen many times, they outrank original source which is never a good thing in my opinion. Besides, for one source, it could be four or more website doing the archiving. That means every five results, there is only one unique content, the only difference is the design/layout and ads.

Back to the blocking setting, you can download the list as text file, but I don't see an option for you to upload. If you really have many entries, it will be easy to maintain on your end with your favorite editor.

How so? Because I wouldn't just let it be simple text of lines of URL. It will be grouped with comments. For example, if the original archive site down, I can uncomment the archive sites group, then upload the temporarily updated list, so I can see those blocked archive sites.

Of course, I will have my custom shell script to generate uploading list text file, comments will be removed from output. Well, you only need one grep, actually.

But that's just how I would like to use it if you can upload. Who knows, we might even have API for this. I only really hope this setting will stay, Google has terminated too many good stuff.

Alright, enough talking, time to put into more action. Gotta add more blocked sites to the list, it's Friday!