No Results Found

Did you mean: barn slow but?

I shake my head.  What?

Did you mean: barn slow but?

Yup, that’s what it says.  

On the website of the organization that manages a local conservation area, I entered “barn swallow habitat” in the search box.

Not completely at random, you understand, or without context, but because at this conservation area I had recently seen a structure built to offer, oh I don’t know, habitat to, you know, barn swallows, and I wanted to know more about it.  And this is the reply.

Screenshot of lousy search results.

I’ve talked before about the wonder of today’s search engines.  Years ago it was all keywords and logical operators; now I just ask whatever’s on my mind.

What was that Indian movie with Dustin Hoffman?

And the answer is: Little Big Man.  And it came out in 1970, and here’s a list of the cast and crew, some reviews, and the whole movie in case I’d like to watch it again.

Where can I find sand dollars in South Carolina?

And the answer is: Hilton Head.  And here’s how to tell a dead one (which you can collect) from a live one (which it’s illegal to take off the beach).  Thanks!  Good tip.

What’s a butterfly’s toungue (sic) called?

And the answer is: The type of flower a butterfly visits depends on the length of the butterfly’s tubelike tongue, called a proboscis.  And six other fascinating facts and a YouTube video of the proboscis in action.

And so on, searches without end, amen.

But when I try to find information on something directly from the organization responsible for that something, their search function goes all gaga.  In this case, you’d think they’d never heard of barn swallows.

Did you mean: barn slow but?

Sigh.  No, no I didn’t.  But thanks awfully for trying.

When appealed to, Google comes up with the press release about this nifty new habitat, issued by the very organization that can’t find it on its own website.

I shake my head.

 

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13 Comments

  1. I’ve yet to click on “I’m Feeling Lucky” — I’ll do that now and see what Googles offers up…it’s a recap of all the special Google animated graphics celebrating name days for people and events. Meh.

    Frankly, I don’t like the slightly snide “Did you mean…x?” even if it has my best interests at heart.

    It is quite a machine, this internet, but worrisome when it starts putting up sites for me to click on if I so much as ask for anything of a sales nature. Imagine the protocols that trigger a site up some long food chain to keep bugging me for weeks. The connections must look like a brain firing under an MRI.

    Altho it is fun to go “spelunking” from one initial topic down, down, down into the bowels of
    — for want to another word — knowledge.

    1. Isabel Gibson

      Barbara – Yes, the selling aspect is irritating. I guess that’s the deal for it being otherwise free. Although I understand that suppliers can buy better positions in search results, so it seems wrong to charge me too.

  2. Jim Taylor

    Barbara’s phrase “the bowels of knowledge” makes me wonder how many of us explore past the first page of Google results. I mean, if the first page, which consists of the most obvious responses to my selection of key words, doesn’t contain what I’m looking for, what chance is there that the 117th page will do any better?
    Of course, I realize that the first page may well be influenced by corporate sales efforts, but should I assume that the 117th page will not be?
    Jim T

  3. I used to be on the whole first page of Google (just my name) and I didn’t ask for it or pay for it. I think it has to do with one’s spread — I was on major TV and Radio stations doing interviews for one of my books. Haven’t looked at what barbara carlson + pocket lint chronicles lately — hey, I still am. wow. AND on page 2 thanks to posting on various blogs.

    Site #5 — National Treasure #150 Thanks Isabel!

    And, everybody, look up Isabel — she’s got a whole page ++ 😀

    1. Isabel Gibson

      Barbara – I’ve heard (and never followed it up) that different searchers get different results, based on what they’ve looked for before. For example, Google puts my site first when I search for “traditional iconoclast,” but someone/anyone else gets something else first. I dunno. It’s all magic, per Arthur C. Clarke.

  4. Tom Watson

    Isabel
    The other day I was looking up a particular item on Amazon. I left the site and went to the Staples site. Before I even searched for the item it was the thing to appear on the screen. So I checked another item, this time using Canadian Tire, then Home Depot. Same thing happened.

    Now, in each instance I as using Google Chrome, so I gather that the algorithm Google uses overlaid searches from one url to another.

    Tom

  5. Tom Watson

    Isabel
    The other day I was looking up a particular item on Amazon. I left the site and went to the Staples site. Before I even searched for the item it was the thing to appear on the screen. So I checked another item, this time using Canadian Tire, then Home Depot. Same thing happened.

    Now, in each instance I was using Google Chrome, so I gather that the algorithm Google uses overlaid searches from one url to another.

    Tom

  6. Alison Uhrbach

    Although I use Google all the time, I sometimes miss the search for knowledge that used to take me to the Encyclopedia Brittanica, or the National Geographics piled in our basement – or, in the early days, to my dad.

  7. Wade

    Hi Isabel. Just catching up from our four day power outage. Or should I say outrage. Sigh.
    I do not use Google, anything but, I think that they track, sell, sell you and everything you do to clients, advertisers and anyone else that will give them a dime for the information.

    1. Isabel Gibson

      Wade – Yes, we heard about your extended power outage. It’s a travesty! I have trouble believing that anything I do is worth even a dime, but I take your point. There is no free lunch. Or search engine.

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