The dumbing down of search…

It is with regret and some measure of guilt that I give laldy with the above Daily Mail-ism.

Especially on the eve of my 100th post (woo-hoo!).  Frankly though, no other term seems to fit the bill for today’s sermon.  


It seems Yahoo no longer provide the full range of Boolean search operators in their search, according to Pandia.


For the uninitiated – here’s what Boolean logic is, and here’s how it can be used in practice.


I certainly don’t use it in every search I run, but if I need to find alternatives to certain words, or find references to people before and after they’ve changed name (or if they’re known by different names), or if I want to avoid the inclusion of certain terms in conjunction with the terms I’m using, Boolean logic can be pretty useful in limiting the endless drone of irrelevant content coming back.


But now if you want to run a search for Wales, but avoid results about the Prince of Wales in Yahoo, you can forget it – because they’ve done away with the NOT operator.


They still recognise the OR operator – for now.


Is this yet further proof of search engines dumbing down – concentrating all their efforts on stupid simple search at the expense of logical, reasoned, intelligent search?


MSN ditched its search builder option (more whining about which at the bottom of this article) a while ago – not to mention the disappearance of Yahoo Mindset.


How search engines think they can be on to a good thing in restricting search options in this way, or in offering search options then snatching them from under our noses, isn’t clear.


Reducing searchers’ options is contrary to the very nature of the Internet.



UPDATE: Looks like I should have laid off with my Daily Mailism afterall!


Contary to the nonsense above, you CAN still remove terms from putting a minus sign before those terms you want to leave out of your search.


If I’d bothered to read the article properly, rather than going off half-cocked, I’d have noticed this crucial difference!


That’s not to say that this isn’t a form of dumbing down (certainly anyone used to using Boolean Logic in its AND, OR and AND NOT form will attest to this).  And it certainly makes long strings hard to read back.


Nonetheless, I’ve scored out the wrong, but will keep it up here in all it’s (otherwise) glory.


100th post indeed…

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