Major minor annoyances

1 minute read

Some people have issues with the fancy new appearance of the Google products that’s been rolled out over past 6 months or so. I don’t actually, but in the process it seems Google have also been shaping the profile of their products and services.

One manifestation of this is in the drop-down box under “More” when you run a search. One option under that menu I used to use extensively was Google Scholar, which would take the search term you just used and use it to search Google Scholar. Now, you click on “More”, go down to the bottom of the long list of options to select “Even More”, and then get taken to a web page which has Google Scholar there somewhere, just keep looking. Click on Scholar, and oh, by the way, you’ve lost your original search term.

This might be a symptom of the larger number of services that Google offers, but seems crazy for two reasons:

a) Some of the options in the menu bar or the “more” menu itself show up in the side bar after you’ve run a search anyway; redundant! Why not put Google Scholar over on the left there buddy?
b) It’s not clear why there isn’t space for Scholar, but there is for options like “Finance” and “Books”.

I find it hard to believe, but maybe this shows that academic users are in the minority. Some have implied that this is all about commercialisation, and others wondering whether this is the end for Scholar altogether (I doubt it, given Google seems to have some interest in research and academic collaboration).

Anyway, a solution is to forego Google altogether. I’ve been using DuckDuckGo as a search engine, and it’s pretty neat. The results it returns are nice and clean, it’s attitude to privacy is refreshing (it allows users some), and most importantly it allows specifying particular web sites to search using a bang (!) character. So Google Scholar is !gsc and can be entered on the fly, and once used is easily accessible in a drop down box for future searches.

Long-term, the question is what happens with offerings like Google Scholar, and whether alternatives like Microsoft Academic Search become more appealing.


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