There have been several Techcrunch posts recently discussing the quality of Google’s search and they prompted me to take a look at my own search experience. It’s true that even though I still use Google for most of my searches, I’ve been going to other resources to get search results, too, in areas where Google wasn’t giving me the results I needed. For example, I’ve been going to Yelp for local listings and reviews for restaurants, stores, attractions and just about anything local. I’ve been going to Amazon to read product stats and reviews, even if I don’t plan to purchase the product there.
My problem isn’t searches that I can find relevant results for elsewhere. It’s where Google is my only hope of reaching a relevant resource. Then, depending on the actual search, I often end up on the spam sites described so aptly by Techcrunch. In fact, there are some topics that I’ve realized that I cannot search for any more on Google such as travel, appliance care, car care, health and more. I simply have to wade through too many spammy sites to get any trustworthy content.
So Google comes up with +1, in some ways taking search back to the days of directories, where humans had a say in search results. It makes perfect sense. Why not let humans determine at least some of the value of a link? Even better, if these are humans I know, I actually trust their judgment to tell me one site is better than another. Mix that with the sophisticated relevancy results and hopefully I get results that are better for me and can’t be gamed.
The only downside is implementation: I need to click my +1 before I follow the search result to the web site. At that point, I don’t know if it’s a good/relevant result yet. If it’s a bad/irrelevant result I usually click back to the search results page but if it’s a good one, I usually don’t, and therefore usually don’t have a way to add my +1. Maybe the +1 option should be moved to the toolbar? Just a thought.