Archive for June 13th, 2011

13
Jun
11

Dear Google, STOP GUESSING WHAT I WANT

Dear Google,

You’ve been, for many years, the search engine of my dreams. I’ve loved you, worked with you, used you and let you use me. We’ve shared many things. We’ve gone many places. We have lived and learned and grown together during our time together, and I have never really strayed. Oh, sure, I’ve occasionally glanced at another engine. Even flirted a little from time to time. But I have never, ever considered leaving you for another.

I mean, really. None of the other engines compare to you. Yahoo? A pale shadow. Bing? A pretentious imitation. Wolfram-Alpha? Egotistical, single-minded, and smarter than I need it to be.

Google, you are my search engine.

And through all this, I have never asked anything of you except honest answers to my questions. If I wanted to know about Genghis Khan, you knew where to look. If I wanted to find a new tattoo design, you pointed me in the right direction. If I wanted to buy shoes, you were there for me. You even began to show me where I could find things in my own town. Pizza? It’s right over there! Movie times? Gotcha covered!

Which is all good. Every innovation has tried to make the information I receive just what I was looking for. All good.

Except that now Google, you have finally gone just a little too far. Lately, when I have searched for information on anything—seriously, just about anything—you treat it as if I existed on an island, with no cares for anything but my immediate surroundings. You have localized virtually every search I make. If I want to find the best internet deal on blue jeans, you send me to my local Sears. If I want to learn who my biggest SEO competitors are, you only show me those within a 10 mile radius.

If I type something with an unconventional spelling, you think you know what I meant—and deliver what you think I wanted, not what I searched for. Spell check is all well and good, but maybe I wanted to search for “flikr” not “flicker.” Possible, maybe?

If I search for Cowboy Boots on Wednesday, but on Thursday I want to find the Cowboy Junkies, DON’T SHOW ME BOOTS!

You believe you can read my mind. That you can tell just what I was thinking when I typed that search query.

I NEED YOU TO STOP IT.

Not kidding. This could seriously ruin our relationship. End it forever, even. If I want to see local search results I’ll tell you that’s what I want. Stop reading my IP and deciding for me what you think I should see. If I want to search for something that’s spelled weird, LET ME.  And don’t think you know what I want today just because you saw what I wanted yesterday. JUST STOP IT.

At the very least, give me an option! Let me choose a version of your engine that just gives me the best answer, not necessarily the one you decide is the best answer for me.

No, really.

Formerly yours, and still yours but beginning to have second thoughts,

Me