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The Internet Open Source

Ask Slashdot: What Features Would You Like In a Search Engine? 276

New submitter nicolas.slusarenko writes Nowadays, there is one dominant search engine in the world among few alternatives. I have the impression that the majority of users think that it is the best possible service that could be made. I am sure that we could have a better search engine. During my spare time I been developing Trokam, an online search engine. I am building this service with the features that I would like to find in a service: respectful of user rights, ad-free, built upon open source software, and with auditable results. Well, those are mine. What features would you like in a search engine?
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Ask Slashdot: What Features Would You Like In a Search Engine?

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  • privacy? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tommeke100 ( 755660 ) on Saturday April 18, 2015 @04:36PM (#49501395)
    Next to working well, maybe the assurance that not all your search queries were logged and sold to third parties or used for advertisement?
    • Re:privacy? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by smittyoneeach ( 243267 ) * on Saturday April 18, 2015 @04:54PM (#49501485) Homepage Journal
      So, how much are we willing to pay as a subscription to make up the lost revenue?
      Or do we just expect the vendor to eat the opportunity cost?
      • Re:privacy? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Saturday April 18, 2015 @05:31PM (#49501603)
        If there were millions of users, how much would it COST to keep it operational? Figure that out, then add some reasonable profit percentage. Win-win.

        Do you think you could run an operation like that for around $3.5M a year, given 1M users? Great. Charge $5 per year per user. I'd pay it.
        • The cost would seem proportional to the users.
          As far as running the business, just let me sharpen my AWS knives a little more. . .
          Of course, in our post-capitalistic era, just having a good business plan is necessary but insufficient to protect you from Big Oligarchy and Big Government, assuming you could pry them apart with a crowbar. If you offer a viable alternative, look for "something really, really unfortunate" to arrive with an innocuous name like "Net Neutrality", or something.
          • Re:privacy? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Saturday April 18, 2015 @08:44PM (#49502411)

            If you offer a viable alternative, look for "something really, really unfortunate" to arrive with an innocuous name like "Net Neutrality", or something.

            Since you brought up Net Neutrality: can you give me one example of a small, innovative startup in the ISP business in the last 10 years?

            No? Why not?

            I'll tell you why not: it is not a competitive market. It's a de facto oligopoly, with barriers to entry that are far to high for the little guy to vault.

            That's where government's legitimate role begins: by regulating or breaking up oligopolies and monopolies, so that there can be competition in the marketplace.

            Don't expect market forces to fix a problem when there isn't a real competitive market in the first place. That's not very realistic.

            And I'll answer my own question: the only "new" broadband ISP to make a name for itself in many years now is Google, and they can hardly be called a "little guy". They are one of the few groups that has the money and muscle to elbow its way in to a business that is very hostile to outsiders.

            • Well, there are incubators that support some shiny new thing, e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instagram [wikipedia.org] but they tend to Do One Little Thing Well, a la Unix, and then sell their soul for rock-n-roll.
              But we think about IT here. There are also business in the Real World http://www.groundedcoffeeshop.com/ [groundedcoffeeshop.com] but both of these examples underscore your broader point, if I may radically restate it: economic activity of consequence is a top-down, not a bottom-up affair these days.
          • Actually a search engine is one of the few things where the cost depends less on use and more on the amount of the Internet you would like to index. It takes a lot of storage and processing power to create an easily-searchable index of the Internet.
      • Re:privacy? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Saturday April 18, 2015 @06:39PM (#49501899)

        They could sell ads without tracking people.

        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          Seek government funding as an independent service to the community to ensure equal access to all business by all the people. Attempt to create a level playing field, obviously the corporate greed driven solution is not working quite that well. Many companies, in fact likely the majority would be better off setting up an organisation to fund independent equal search with a fixed set of rules to set ranking results, likely in partnership with government.

          Designing a search engine. The two obvious things are

      • There are other ways to monetize your product. If the engine is actually good and popular then they can monetize licensing for mobile devices, selling into the corporate space with indexing and appliances for the enterprise, definitely not as profitable as advertising and given greed is number one priority for companies like google, and just about every company for that matter, it isn't likely to happen.

    • Re:privacy? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rudy_wayne ( 414635 ) on Saturday April 18, 2015 @04:58PM (#49501497)

      Here's a radical idea. How about if the search engine returns results that are ACTUALLY WHAT I'M SEARCHING FOR.

      One day I was trying to find a particular video clip. No matter how i tried to refine my search query, all I got was completely irrelevant bullshit. Now, the video I was looking for was somewhat old and obscure and so its entirely possible that it doesn't exist anywhere on the Internet. That's fine. I can accept that.

      But, if that's the case, then my search should return zero results. Not thousands of irrelevant results.

      • by TWX ( 665546 )
        It has gotten a lot worse, hasn't it?

        I want a search engine to identify when someone is attempting to manipulate it and to counter that. I don't want Google Bombs like "miserable failure" regardless of how I feel about the actual politics, to make the results useless. I'm not so childish as to expect an echo-chamber everywhere I look.

        This means no more companies whose entire existence is to try to improve someone's search rankings.

        As to data being collected, I'm actually okay with the top 80% of
        • Re:privacy? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Rei ( 128717 ) on Saturday April 18, 2015 @05:39PM (#49501647) Homepage

          I just want the search engine to stop changing what I'm searching for. I don't want to have to quote every word like I have to do with Google to make sure that the word is actually in the page, and by "the word", I mean "the word I type, not a word that Google things may be similar to the one I typed". It's worst when you're searching for foreign words, product names, acronyms, or whatnot and Google tries to treat them as if they're English words and declines them or chooses synonyms.

          "Did you mean X?" is fine. Even "Searching for X (see original results here)", if you're very confident that the person made a common spelling error or whatnot. But just going in and swapping out words as if this is expected behavior? Terrible. At least let me disable it if you want to do that...

          Beyond all this: I do like how one can do simple commonn operations on Google - math, conversions, etc. The more of these the better IMHO, so long as they have a standardized format - be they tracking numbers, flight lookups, whatever. It's okay in my book to be a bit Wolfram-y.

          Keep the interface plain, simple, the sort of thing that'll work on any browser, from a modern Chrome to a simple text-only browser. Only use javascript where it's not essential for the site to work. Here's an example of something that would be a good use of javascript: if you need to track clicks, like Google does, do it through javascript rather than by having a link redirect like Google does. I hate how I can't just right click and copy link on Google without getting some massive Google redirect link.

          Just my thoughts. :)

          • by dwywit ( 1109409 )

            Try google verbatim. Saves having to put quotes on every word.

            What was wrong with '+' as an operator, anyway?

            • Re:privacy? (Score:5, Informative)

              by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Saturday April 18, 2015 @08:45PM (#49502419)

              Try google verbatim. Saves having to put quotes on every word.

              What was wrong with '+' as an operator, anyway?

              According to Google Drops Plus Sign from Search Operators [seochat.com]

              It has to do with limiting confusion about the search engine’s social network, Google+.

              To Baio, “it seems obvious that they’re paving the way for Google+ profile searches. When Google+ launched ... they coined their own format for mentioning people – adding a plus to the beginning of a name... The fate of the ‘+’ symbol was clear: protect a 12-year-old convention loved by power users, or bring Google+ profile searching to the mainstream? It was doomed from the start.”

          • Re:privacy? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by jenningsthecat ( 1525947 ) on Saturday April 18, 2015 @06:25PM (#49501833)

            I just want the search engine to stop changing what I'm searching for.

            This, exactly. Google's ideas regarding 'synonyms' for my search terms would be laughable if they didn't waste so much of my time. Also, these days when I do an 'allintext' search it almost always turns up far more results than did the same query without the 'allintext' operator. Now just how in the fuck does that happen?

            I would pay two or three hundred dollars a year for access to a search engine with Google's reach and power, but without all the ad-oriented bloat, the lowest-common-denominator attempts at hand-holding, and the Microsoft Clippy-isms. You know - something that's more suitable for real research and for getting a job done than for figuring out where to have dinner or what meaningless bullshit the Kardashians and other such social parasites are up to. And while they're at it, they need to include a way of searching for exactly what I type, including case, punctuation and special characters. And if my search turns up zero results, that's fine. I'd far rather have that than be insulted by Google's insistence that it must have something I'm interested in.

            I'm not so naive as to believe that anyone else can replicate Google's massive search capabilities. So I really wish Google would provide a search interface for those of us who have both a good idea of what we're looking for and a clue about how to do research. It would cost them next to nothing, they could charge for it, and they'd be doing the world a favour.

            Hell, right now I'd settle for Google circa ten years ago - it was way better than it is now.

          • by skegg ( 666571 )

            Interpreting as:

            not a word that Google thinks may be similar to the one I typed

            Interpret instead as:

            not a word that Google things may be similar to the one I typed

      • And, have it do an "untailored" search by default. If I type in a search phrase I get results relevant to where I live. This can be useful in the odd case I want to find a local service provider, but the 99% of the other times I want non-local, fully globalised results, and I can no longer seem to be able to that.

        One example, we had a local rugby player Jarryd Hayne who went to the US to gamble on an NFL career. No matter what I search I only get results from Australian media outlets which I don't want. I
  • Best feature (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Goglu ( 774689 ) on Saturday April 18, 2015 @04:37PM (#49501397)
    Confidentiality
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Google and Bing now keep track of which search results you click on. When you hover your mouse over a search result they use JavaScript to show you what the final destination URL will be in the browser status bar, but when you click the link it takes you to a Google or Bing URL to record your selection and then it redirects you to the final destination. Very sneaky, they didn't used to do that. Plus many people log into gmail and leave it logged in all the time, so Google can attach your search queries a

      • They are engaging in a war on privacy.

        Or, they're trying to make a viable business out of operating mammoth server farms so you can get stuff you don't have to pay for.

  • Simple (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JMJimmy ( 2036122 ) on Saturday April 18, 2015 @04:42PM (#49501421)

    Search for what I type in, now what you think I want. I'm so sick of having to change every search to "verbatim" because my search terms are being ignored. I'd switch to someone else but they seem to be carbon copies.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by CarlosM7 ( 642308 )

      Also, don't remove search terms, and I want all of them "anded", not "ored."

    • by kackle ( 910159 ) on Saturday April 18, 2015 @05:07PM (#49501529)
      Amen, brother. Similarly, I switched from Lycos a decade+ ago because they dropped Boolean searching (some of us are power users!). I used Yahoo! next, but it was painful on dial-up with all the extra junk on their home page. Then I came across this new, misspelled site called "Google". I loved it; but lately it has been wearing on me as it panders more and more to the masses.

      Note to Google: We nerds might be in the minority, but it is WE who direct the non-nerds as to how to set up their digital devices, avoid online trouble, choose their search engines, etc. Don't ruin it for us. I already started to keep one eye open for another search place, because I fear it'll only get worse.
      • If you find a good one let me know. I've tried Bing, DuckDuckGo and a smattering of others - they all seem to have the same results or lack any sort of depth which is highly disappointing. My next to try is Blekko - I like the concept of /topic and more of a command line concept.

        • oops.. never mind. Blekko is already gone... hrm... maybe Ark? Seems more social than geek though.

    • Re:Simple (Score:5, Funny)

      by swillden ( 191260 ) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Saturday April 18, 2015 @05:40PM (#49501659) Homepage Journal

      Search for what I type in, not what you think I want

      I want a search engine that searches for what I want, not what I type, and not even what I think I want.

      • Search for what I type in, not what you think I want

        I want a search engine that searches for what I want, not what I type, and not even what I think I want.

        I can't tell if that's sarcasm, stupidity, or trolling... you actually want a search engine that when you search it ignores your input (ie: gives top results saying "missing: stormtrooper" from a search specifically for stormtrooper information), ignores what you tell it not to give you (ie: -books will still give Google Books results) and generally give you crappy results (ie: try searching for terms which happen to coincide with a syndicated news story - it's impossible to filter out every news outlet tha

        • Why would I want crappy results? I want it to give me what I want, which by definition isn't "crappy".
          • Why would I want crappy results? I want it to give me what I want, which by definition isn't "crappy".

            And you think a system built by man can divine what you and everyone else wants at the moment you type it in? That'll be the day. Until then, assume I know what I want and not your system.

            • Evidently, this is akin to the SCOTUS definition of obscenity. I can't tell what I want, but I'll know it when I see it.

            • Why would I want crappy results? I want it to give me what I want, which by definition isn't "crappy".

              And you think a system built by man can divine what you and everyone else wants at the moment you type it in? That'll be the day. Until then, assume I know what I want and not your system.

              I think systems built by man that knows a sufficient amount about me, my interests and my needs can. We're not there yet, certainly, but the question was what I want... and that's it.

              Put it this way: Suppose you had a really bright personal assistant who knew pretty much everything about you and could see what you are doing at any given time, and suppose this assistant also had the ability to instantly find any data on the web. I want a search engine that can give me the answers that assistant could.

              • False analogy. There's a huge difference between a personal assistant, who by definition *I* know personally, and a faceless business entity who I know not at all (read adversarial entity) scraping 'enough' information about me to presume it knows me sufficiently to second guess what I want and give me that instead of what I requested. Truthfully, why on earth would I trust such an entity?

                That's the problem with hypotheticals. They don't reflect the reality we live in.

                • Re:Simple (Score:4, Interesting)

                  by swillden ( 191260 ) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Saturday April 18, 2015 @07:43PM (#49502187) Homepage Journal

                  False analogy. There's a huge difference between a personal assistant, who by definition *I* know personally, and a faceless business entity who I know not at all (read adversarial entity) scraping 'enough' information about me to presume it knows me sufficiently to second guess what I want and give me that instead of what I requested.

                  Not really.

                  I'd say there's a good argument that all of the information I give Google actually exceeds what a personal assistant would know about me. The real difference (thus far) lies in the assistant's ability to understand human context which Google's systems lack. But that's merely a problem to be solved.

                  Note, BTW, that I'm not saying everyone should want what I want, or be comfortable giving any search engine enough information to be such an ideal assistant. That's a personal decision. I'm comfortable with it... but I'm not yet getting the search results I want.

                  • That's my entire point... any algorithm might be able to show you what you want/need *sometimes* but they can never know what you want/need *now*. Just because you search for, lets say, "batman vs superman" several times does not mean that in this very moment when you search "super bats attack man" that you're looking for batman vs superman.

                    Just like a personal assistant won't know that today you're feeling like a spiced latte instead of your usual black coffee, neither will any predictive algorithm. If y

      • Reminds me of this old chestnut... [thedailywtf.com]

  • by SeaFox ( 739806 ) on Saturday April 18, 2015 @04:42PM (#49501423)

    What made Google so great when it was still relatively new was the results were more relevant, i.e. they weren't just a bunch of advertisements. With the rise SEO that is less the case now, and looking for something on Google for me now means adding "-buy -purchase -price -shop" automatically.

    • What made Google so great when it was still relatively new was the results were more relevant, i.e. they weren't just a bunch of advertisements. With the rise SEO that is less the case now, and looking for something on Google for me now means adding "-buy -purchase -price -shop" automatically.

      Google seems to ignore '-term' when it comes to certain sites/terms.

    • What made Google so great when it was still relatively new was the results were more relevant, i.e. they weren't just a bunch of advertisements. With the rise SEO that is less the case now, and looking for something on Google for me now means adding "-buy -purchase -price -shop" automatically.

      Unfortunately, that's what happens when a search engine is run by a company that depends on advertising for 96% of its revenue. Google is not in the search business. They are not a technology company, no matter how many data centers and driverless cars they have.

      They are an ADVERTISING company and their business model depends on getting you to click on as many ads and "sponsored links" as possible, using whatever deceptive methods necessary.

      • by afgam28 ( 48611 )

        If anything, being an advertising company provides an incentive to downrank ad-like results. Why would anyone buy an ad if their shopping site already appears at the top of the organic results?

      • by Ksevio ( 865461 )
        But they are also in the search business since they can't receive money from their advertising customers if they don't receive screenspace from their searching customers. Just because their money comes mostly from advertising, does not make them an advertising company.
      • They are an ADVERTISING company

        Mod Up!
        I'm sick of Google being referred to as a technology company. They are an advertising company that uses technology. But at heart, advertising is their core business.

    • You seem to forget just how useless search engines were before Google. I remember using some, and they were utter rubbish. Google shot to success in their early days because they had the better algorithms: If you searched with them you'd probably find what you wanted on page one, not page twenty-five.

      • They were only bad if you didn't know how to use them. I found them to be infinitely better than what we have now - even Google of 3-4 years ago was better than now.

  • First of all, I would make it so you can press the Enter key and it conducts your search. Forcing people to either tab or navigate their mouse to the button makes it a little annoying.

  • by ModernGeek ( 601932 ) on Saturday April 18, 2015 @04:44PM (#49501435)

    I'd like to see a completely open search engine that allowed people to download the search indexes freely so that they may create their own in-house appliances for search without the need for going through some proprietary site that may or may not be available in the next ten years or even months.

    A site that promises to deliver you your privacy is not enough, because they could really be doing anything. Google promised us our privacy, and changed and deleted their old privacy policies even though they said that they'd always keep all copies of a privacy policy on archive. They went back on the word "never" and have continued to discontinue online services that people have become accustomed to with little to no notice.

    A reasonably sized search index that is extensible based on what one is searching for would be great. Localizing URL suggestions, wikipedia caches, and other toolbar-suggestion searches in a networked work environment would all have benefits; the applications are almost endless. Freeing the shackles of search from a few could do so much for innovation, privacy, and security.

    • There are two issues with this.

      Search indexes are very expensive to make - lots of data to download and analyse to come anywhere near reasonable coverage of what's out there. Someone has to pay for it.

      The amounts of data involved are huge. By the time you're done downloading such an index, even assuming you've got sufficient storage at hand, it's horribly outdated.

      There is a reason there are no recent small search start-ups: you have to be pretty big to even consider this. When Google started, the Internet

    • An open DECENTRALIZED search system would be way better than a system that's simply built on open source. Hell, for all we know maybe even Google is completely on open source. But the data sets that seed the search engine, without which the algorithms are simply crunching meaningless strings of letters, are kept close to Google's corporate bosom.

      What we need is a search engine where everyone that searches can have access to the entire data set if she or he chooses to do so. This is similar to the way the Bi

  • Exact searches (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Try searching for someone named "Beiber". Google might find him, but he'll drown in a million entries for some singer named "Bieber". But I did not search for Bieber.

    There are many cases like this, where something rare has a name similiar to something more popular. Don't assume I mistyped! I rarely do. But if I mistype, I can search again. But I can't deal with a search engine that blatantly assumes I'm dyslectic.

    And finally, let me search for source code snippets without turning up tons of irrelevant stuff

    • This pattern was one of my main frustration with MS. They increasingly adjusted the interface for stupider and stupider end users, which is ok for that type of user, but FFS at least have the "I've used a computer before and am comfortable fiddling with settings" option for the rest of us. There's a lot of people that know what a computer is and don't need to be treated like imbeciles.
  • by schwit1 ( 797399 ) on Saturday April 18, 2015 @04:50PM (#49501467)
    And stop providing results that fail to have ALL of the search terms.
    • I don't agree with this. Certainly results with all search terms should be promoted at the top, but once those run out the rest should be displayed. That allows you to easily find information when you don't know exactly what you're looking for. The term may be misspelt (on the website, not necessarily by user input), or there may be a different term for the same thing and the resulting website gets picked up on the rest of your search omitting the one word that is "wrong".

  • by Livius ( 318358 ) on Saturday April 18, 2015 @04:51PM (#49501473)

    and nothing else.

    Stop adding 'features' to things that don't need them!

    • Why? As long as it doesn't affect searching why not add features?

      Why is it such a problem that if I google "Where is my phone" that it brings up the option to call it along with search results for that search? Why is it a problem that when I type EUR-AUD I get a currency conversion screen along with results to articles and currency converters about the Euro?

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      and nothing else.

      Stop adding 'features' to things that don't need them!

      YMMV, but that's one of the reasons I really like google. For example converting units, what's 53F in C again? I could get a thousand hits that could give me the formula or a conversion table or whatnot but just "searching" for it saves me a step or two. I often use it instead of the built-in calculator just because it's already up. I suppose it could go overboard with Clippy-isms but I haven't felt that has been the case.

  • In addition to Google-like relevance (which is a must if you are going to survive in this field), it would be nice to have:

    1) Boolean search (cat or feline) and not (catwoman or cartoon or dog))
    2) Date range which works (e.g., I want to search for websites talking about Enron BEFORE the scandal).
    3) If I see a result that's obviously relevant, I'd like to be able to down vote it..

    • by ADRA ( 37398 )

      #3 Who has more time to manipulate an open source web engine index? A do gooder looking to relfect bad SEO in a search result, or an SEO not looking to pump their own numbers floating their own crap to the top (through whatever carrot/stick-like measures implemented).

      Google had some extremely bad queries some years back due to every SEO on earth trying to game the system. The only reasonable solutions on the top of my head are:
      1. some sort of real-id-type verification system that requires actual investment

  • I'm wondering what you mean by "Search Engine"? Do you mean a way to sort and rank websites? That's only part of what Google does. You may want to identify what is missing from Google [newslines.org] before following the models of the past.

  • To give me search results that accurately are what I meant to type and not what I did type. And a bonus would be if it would accurately know better than me what I am looking for an give me those results. In other words read my mind and correctly anticipate when I am wrong and still give me the correct answer.
  • It wouldn't respond to my request. I had to allow a jquery script. Then it searched but couldn't find 'Benghazi'.

    Things have been lost from search. Alta Vista allowed search for 'word1' NEAR 'word2', which proved very useful. Google used to give information about its finds such as date, size, ('cached' is still there, but hidden) and some things so long abandoned that I can't remember them. You know why date is important; size is also important because a very large page containing your terms is probably cli

  • Also, filter out all the pages-of-links search spam
    If you want to charge a fee, you could include a link to someone who is better at searching for stuff than I am, or maybe Watson.
    Finally, include all the internet that Google hasn't indexed.

    Have you seen this list of some of the few alternatives [wikipedia.org]?
    • This!! For various technical reasons, I don't think a regex-capable, public-facing search engine is feasible right now :(

      But I'd beg, borrow, and bite to get some sort of "regex lite" capabilities (we could start by excluding the stuff that's np-hard, like lookbacks).
  • Being able to say "find 'blah' when it is within X words either side of 'bleh'......"
  • When I open your search engine, I want the focus of my cursor to default your search form.

    After I found out that you didn't even have this, which requires no more than one single attribute in html, I didn't have the confidence to go to any further. Usability testing is cheap. The idea that you would forgo any kind of basic usability testing, before asking for feedback from Slashdot users, tells me you don't have the experience, nor the real desire, to make a decent halfway usable search engine.

  • Culling (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Moof123 ( 1292134 ) on Saturday April 18, 2015 @05:36PM (#49501627)

    Make it easy for me to specify I am looking for technical information, or looking to buy something, or what have you. All too often I am trying to do a search for technical information, but if that acronym has also been used by Beiber lately I am SOL. I would love it is I could weed out the pop culture hits when I wanted to omit them.

    Similarly I would like a search engine that I could easily specify if I also want hits for related words, or just EXACT match, and whether to ignore capitalization or not. It is maddening when an acronym also happens to be a common word and I get flooded with useless crap.

    • ...but if that acronym has also been used by Beiber lately I am SOL. ...

      What does the Skilled Occupation List have to do with this?

  • 1. Return first the results which exactly match the search terms.

    2. Do not include results where one or more of the search terms only exists in an advert on the page.

    3. Re-introduce a feature which an early search engine (I think it was AltaVista) where you could specify a search term to be 'near' another.

    4. (more important in languages other than English) Allow you to specify that any tense, person or case of a search term be matched (eg if searching in French, *aller would match any of 'vais', 'vas', 'v

  • First I want a toggle that I can never ever ever ever ever see that domain in my search results. So ask.com answers.com experts-exchange.com huffpo and especially Quora you fucking turd pile of shot Quora; I never want to see Quora again in my life.

    When I want a little pizza joint or some place that hasn't hired an "SEO" guy all I get are page after page of directories derived from some government database or some crap like that. Their actual page is bottom ranked. I don't want review sites. I don't want
  • Google has been ever-more pissing me off with its "sponsored" results in which I am almost never interested... I have to go further down the page to get the things I want.

    Related to this: Google's recent proposal to post "truthy" results before others. Just no. I don't want or need a nanny-search. I'll judge the results for myself.

    As far as I am concerned, results "filtered" or sorted according to Google's idea of "truth" is little more than a rather transparent effort toward censorship.
  • Google!!!!! Do not reinvent the wheel. Google can be a wonderful search engine. How in the heck can a new product provide the variety and depth of search that Google can with their enormous data base and ample hardware?
  • ...all meta shopping sites.
    I'm at my wits end when alibaba or ali express or kelkoo or tengo or whatever is in the top five of EVERYTHING I search for. I don't ever want them to be even in the top 1000 unless I explicitly type "Meta shop" or whatever.

    Apart from that one filter, just search for what I fucking asked for, not what you think I might have meant.

  • I find it most annoying with Google last several years that they mangle the URL they send me to so I can't easily change it to the parent or higher level URL.

  • When I search, I don't mind ads. I mind malevolant ads. But I mind malevolant sites more. One is solveable. Generically the site that has the most to gain through advertising pays the most. And I generally benefit from those. But SEO is more insidious. They are trying to gain my attention from generally more appropriate sites by gaming the system. If the system is evolving correctly the best most appropriate sites get selected automatically. The major search sites recognize these things.

  • So say I'm searching for something with really common words in it. I can't think of anything specifically right now, but this is my most common search failure.

    I get back a bunch of results. They have all the words I'm looking for, but they're all about two or three more popular topics. I'd like to be able to select a search result and tell the engine that results like this are incorrect for some semantic reason. Maybe it's a band name and I'm looking for a book titleâI should be able to say I don't wan

  • Specify search areas:
    [X] Public internet index.
    [ ] Torrent sites only.
    [ ] File database of dubious legality.
    [ ] Archive of device drivers that actually work.
    [ ] The Dark Web, whatever that is.
    [ ] Data sheets and manuals.

  • Without good results, it doesn't really matter about the bells and whistles. I use a search engine to find information, so it better do that extremely well. For example, I just couldn't stand using DuckDuckGo (aka Bing) because of this, and went back to Google. Bing consistently failed to find information the information I wanted, while Google had it on the first page.

    So, after your engine returns as good or, ideally, better results than Google, you can start thinking about other features.

    One feature I'd re

  • Search engines should shine a light on sites that show different results to different users, maybe its for commercial exploitation (GEOIP blocking), or political propaganda or whatever.

    Search engine show allow users to run crawlers in coordinated distributed manner, this helps users have privacy, it adds extra noise to surveillance systems, it might give users deniability as to their intent to access subversive material. It it should help with the first problem.

  • I've started drifting away from using Google/Bing/whatever, in favor of loading a bunch of site-specific search engines into my search bar.

    So if I'm looking for, say, a specific Magic card, I don't let Google search the entire net, and find everything that happens to say "elvish mystic", giving me a ton of irrelevant stuff (even searches like "mtg elvish mystic" bring up pages to buy one instead, which usually don't have the info I'm really looking for). Instead I click an extra button to go straight to Wiz

  • Get rid of the sites that have a single paragraph and then a registration or paywall blocking the rest of the content.

    Get rid of the sites that are just copies of other pages with ads.

    Or let us easily block a site from appearing in results in the future. Enough users vote a site off, have a human take a look to see if they should remove it for everyone.

  • Privacy goes without saying, of course... but if I put a period or a comma in my search, I damn well meant it to be there. Pay attention to it.

  • by Snufu ( 1049644 )

    evil.

  • I'd like a search that actually searches exactly what I type and not what it thinks I might mean.

    Including punctuation exactly as I type it instead of ignoring it.

  • by Misagon ( 1135 ) on Saturday April 18, 2015 @08:07PM (#49502277)

    Search features I depend on:
    * Non-English characters. Handle multiple encodings of web pages and URL-encoded characters in search queries.
    * site: to search only within a domain. This is often a national domain, such as "site:co.uk" to search only British sites.
    * Minus: Begin able to block certain words, or sites.
    * Plus: A word prefixed with a plus is required.
    * Quotes/hyphen: Searching for exact phrases. "Java class file" is different from "Java File class".

    Where current search engines are lacking:
    * If there is a period between the words then they do not belong to the same phrase. (A search for "Hello Google" should not return "Say Hello. Google for it." as its top result)
    * Use word order in search query to weigh how important a search term is. Rank pages higher wihen those words are closer together.
    * Don't correct my spelling by default, assuming that my search query is in US-English. (I am speaking to you Duck-Duck Goo!). I can spell, and I do not always write English. If I misspell then that is my mistake, and sometimes I search for a brand name that was misspelled intentionally.
    * When indexing a web page, identify what is the important text on the page and ignore the rest. For instance, on an internet news site, the text in the articles is most important. On a forum text inside the comments. On this forum, articles followed by comments. What people have written in their signatures is not important. Slashboxes are not and ads are definitely not.
    It is aggravating when you use Google on a collecting site and you get every other page on that site in every search result because members have listed their collections in their signatures.
    If I search for the word "review", I don't want every page on every web store that has a Reviews tab.
    Pages on a site often follow a certain pattern - find that pattern to find which text on each page that is the most unique.

  • by iMadeGhostzilla ( 1851560 ) on Saturday April 18, 2015 @08:34PM (#49502363)

    Think of Google's search as your type as 1-dimensional suggestion list. I'd like as I type to see around the search bar a matrix of categories: news, videos, documentation, blogs etc. Then as I hover over a category with a mouse I zoom into a matrix of subcategories for that category using the mouse wheel. I zoom out back one level if that's not the branch I'm thinking of.

    In addition, I don't want to click until the very end, and maybe not even then. Hovering over a set of results shows me what's at the deeper level, and when I'm looking at a one or a handful of pages that match the criteria as I refine further, it is also shown as a cell. Hovering over it will give me a preview -- from the search engine, not my browser fetching an actual page. Only when I'm certain I want to go there, I'll click.

    That would be a search engine of the future. Or, idea #2: make it like google, but when I control-clik on the link for the page it opens a sanitized copy of the page, provided by your server, so I know there are no scripts or malware and crap. And if possible give me that sanitized preview when I hover over the page so if I'm lucky I don't have to click on anything at all.

    I know sites wouldn't like it but just saying what I'd like to see that I think is technically possible. Thanks for listening!

  • Suppose I type in a phone number Google understands I live in the UK. The same goes for wanting to buy a mattress. So far so good. That's helpful intelligence.

    But if I want to view the poems of Emily Bronte I don't want 100 gazillion results from Amazon.

    Just like I use NoScript and AdBlock+ so I want to cut out the shop windows. If I want info from the web then I don't want canned waffle.

  • I'd love to search using regular expressions, failing that, at least a much more precise way of indicating what must and must not be in the returned results.

  • It would be very useful to be able to control what the search engine thinks I'm actually searching for. Taken from: http://unqualified-reservation... [blogspot.co.uk]

    A more intriguing question is whether the Graffiti approach can be applied to full-text search. Many modern search engines, notably the hideous, awfully-named Bing, are actually multiple applications under the hood - just like WA. If Bing figures out that you are searching for a product, it will show you one UI. If it figures out that you are searching for a c

  • "Near" keyword, logic constructs, all those nice features AltaVista (which was just a hardware-demo) had, and Google never managed. Google is borderline unusable these days and you strongly notice they do not care about good search but only about placing their adds and profiling you.

  • 1) Exact string matching. As an example, if I search for " 'x.25' " don't give me hits for something with dimensions of 45mm x 25mm.
    2) Allow more complex search constructs . For example I'd like to be able to specify the search term " 'x.25' near protocol -handbook ". You can sort of do that with Google's Advanced Search, but it's extra steps and you still don't get terms like 'near' or exact match.
    3) Bonus points for boolean constructs such as " (lions or tigers or bears) near woods ".

    In short, provide a r

  • a search engine that searches the internet. Not parts of the internet, all of the internet.

    I'd also like the search engine to do Boolean and regex.

    P.S. I couldn't give a flying fuck if it:- has ads; tries to profile my search queries. I can at least attempt to get avoid those things. But if it does not index the entire internet it's as useful as a range of shoes that consist of one size and one style only.. And no, I don't care if it doesn't come with a free set of steak knives and is 100% dolphin free and

  • Ability to right-click (or whatever) on a listed result and mark it as "I never want to see this site in any search I run on any topic ever" (useless result) or right-click on a listed result and mark it as "The content of this result isn't relevant to my search, block this page and all others like it from this search so I can find what I'm looking for" (irrelevant result/bad context) and re-run the search.
    • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

      That's an interesting idea, and then we can get rid of all those useless "experts-exchange" links and similar.

      What I also would like to have as a feature is the ability to search also for "special" characters. Google today seems to see "+" and a lot of other characters as spacing characters, but sometimes I really want to search for "a+b" as a term.

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