I'm really disappointed in Google. This new Site Flavored Search that some folks are talking about is really kind of disappointing.


Simple. In order to add it on my site, I have to fill out a survey to help Google understand what sort of content my site contains. Well, that's not quite true. I'm just selecting from a list of categories that will be included as a hidden form field in the HTML used to submit the search request to Google.

Why do I have to do any of that?!?!

Google's AdSense program is already reasonably good about looking at a page and deciding what sort of ads to display there. What I exepected when I first read about this was an automated customized search. All you'd do is tell Google "this is my site... please customize search results." Then Google would do that. After all, they've already crawled your site if they're doing their job. (Intranets and firewalled stuff are a special case, of course.)

To me, this says their technology is less advanced that some (including me) expected. I figured that they bought Kaltix to build such a service, but I guess they're there yet.

As John Battelle says:

It seems a pretty blunt instrument for now (not instantly updated, categories are pretty general) but that will change with time.

Until that and automation happen, it's really not interesting...

I realize that automation won't be perfect, but it seems to me that Google should be doing the work here and then letting webmasters tweak things if Google guesses poorly. Instead, web publishers are doing all the guesswork.

That's backwards.

Posted by jzawodn at June 20, 2004 04:22 PM

Reader Comments
# Ron Bell said:


It seems to be less about giving you a robust tool to search your own site than about creating a site-author-influenced list of search results.

More akin to Orkut and to social networking than it is to a great local site search tool.


on June 20, 2004 04:52 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:


I never said it was about searching your *own* site. It's clearly about searching sites *like* the one you're on.

That doesn't mean they shouldn't do a better job of it.

on June 20, 2004 05:13 PM
# Sniffy McNickles said:

If it were completely automated, why wouldn't every search be "site flavored" (if initiated from a non-google property)?

What I'm getting at is that then it probably would get less attention, fewer people would hear about it and tie thier sites to Google, etc.

It would be better than this iteration for everyone except Google, who not only would miss the marketing angle, but would miss out on having a bunch of site owners do categorization for them, like Yahoo used to get.

on June 20, 2004 06:48 PM
# Philipp Lenssen said:

You are right, I was wondering the same -- I'm using AdSense, so they already figured out what my site is all about. Why not take this to the next level with their flavored search and skip the categorization process. Then again I'm not a big believer in personalized or flavored search to begin with -- not the way it's implemented at this time, not the way it may ever be implemented by the big G (or anyone else).

on June 21, 2004 02:02 AM
# Shivering Timbers said:

Jeremy, I have to disagree with you. I think this is a more flexible tool than you're giving it credit for. Sure, if all you want to do is have a "find sites like this one" tool, then it can be automated.

But what Google is really doing is letting you create a search box which is more focused than The Entire Internet. For example, if you have a blog with eight different categories, you can have a category-specific search box on each page, and a more general one on the top. So, if I had a "gardening" category and a "politics" category in my blog, I could set it up so that if someone types "bush arizona" in the search box on a "gardening" page, they won't get anything about our President's campaign trips.

on June 21, 2004 07:46 AM
# Peter said:

i think what you are asking for will be done at some point. you want them to auto-categorize your site, right? and then they'd let you refine that. i don't think that'd be a big step forward. it'd be a little easier to use and it certainly would be neat to see how google auto-categorizes websites (wouldn't that be an automated directory?), but I don't see it being that big of a deal, that it isn't there.

on June 22, 2004 07:55 AM
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