Google fixes my custom search problems

Uh, wow. Now that’s customer service.

About a week ago, I wrote a blog post about my experiments with Google Coop Search, complaining that the engine I’d built to search Global Voices blogs retrieved very few results – three for a search on “Ghana”, for instance, leading me to the conclusion that the product was doing little more than retrieving the top 1000 results from Google’s main catalog and searching for sites in the subset of sites I’d included in the engine.

The folks working on Coop Search evidently read my blogpost and re-tuned my search engine… and yours as well. Now it gives 100 results for a search for “Ghana”, and similarly deep results for other common Global Voices searches. And then they emailed me and posted to their blog, letting me know about the fixes they made.

This is great news for me – with a hundred solid results from 3,000 blogs, Google Coop Search is now a reasonable solution to my search problems, removing a particularly thorny problem from my “to do” list.

But it’s also good news for Google as a whole, and anyone using their tools. It’s a really good sign when engineers are watching reactions to their products closely, monitoring the blogosphere, and proactively solving problems that users are identifying. What impresses me even more is that I didn’t file a bug report about my experiences with custom search, or attempt to twist the arm of anyone I know who works at Google – this was the team’s response to my observations about the tool.

Thanks for solving my problem, folks. I’m impressed, not just by the re-tuned approximation algorithms, but by the way you guys are doing business.

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10 Responses to Google fixes my custom search problems

  1. Pingback: …My heart’s in Accra » What Google Coop Search Doesn’t Do Well

  2. sean coon says:

    dewitt started at google a month or two ago… maybe the billsville connection is in silent operation mode?

  3. Richard Ball says:

    Yeah, the Google Custom Search folks are clearly very dedicated to their project. They’re much more responsive than other groups at Google. Compare the quantity and quality of responses in the Google Co-op group vs AdWords Help groups and Webmaster Central groups. Amazing – and impressive.

  4. Awesome post… I have to admit that I’m busy building a CSE as well and was confronted by that issue. You can see the CSE interface at my website but I’m building something more fancy. If you’re interested — take a look at http://www.nonprofittechblog.org/search/index.html. It’s in alpha development. In fact, I was busy doing refinements on my CSE and yours came up on the list.

  5. My experiments with the Google Custom Search aren’t sucessfull. Now I test it again ;)

  6. Vidal says:

    New Google CSE searchengine lauched! SearchHacker, Quick searches for many different file types like:
    mp3. mid, wav, au, wmv, avi, mpg, mov, mpeg, doc, xls, pds, txt, jpg, rar, torrent… you name it, can come in very handy! Have a look: http://www.searchhacker.com

    Another searchengine from them is http://www.camhacker.com where you can search for live public unprotected webcams

  7. I?ve enjoyed using Google for years, but its search engine usually leads to alternative search engines or unexpected results. One must click the backspace button to arrive where intended. And should one type the URL manually, it still takes you elsewhere. Seems others are having the same problem. However, I trust Google will indeed resolve this ongoing issue.

    Advocate4Good

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  9. Frantz Mark says:

    Monitoring? More like, being the Internet World’s Big Brother, if you know what I mean. The Big G controls most of the interactions on the web, thanks to its diversity. I once tried to promote a Plastic Surgery site through their AdWords advertisement system and it worked like a charm, hence showing the power of the Big G.

    Regards,
    Frantz Mark

  10. I think it’s the first time I’ve heard of Google Coop Search, as for the typical searcher, they’re bound to stick with the default search parameters. But now that you’ve mentioned it, one good thing to take note of is that Google, as Mark said above, is indeed Internet’s Big Brother as even though you just made a single search, that record is being recorded hence you get customized results everytime you search.

    Best bet to protect your privacy while surfing the web is to turn on safe browsing.

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