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fremen_warrior's avatar

Obscured by words?

Asked by fremen_warrior (5461 points ) January 11th, 2013

Have you ever had a hard time googling for particular info because the key phrase/word (suddenly) became popular/widespread (or its popular meaning got distorted)? My example of this interference would be “Epic” – an old Amiga game (I was looking for the mian theme starts at 00:35 as it’s quite good imo, for a 1 floppy game at least and the story’s decent too) – typing in “epic soundtrack” or “epic theme” obviously didn’t initially get me what I was looking for. My question to you is how often you encounter this kind of overlap. Can you give us examples of this?

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9 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Epic is way too common a word with many different uses to pull up good search results. It would have been better to input Amiga Epic soundtrack.

ETpro's avatar

This question was about just such a thing. Searching for “wall mounting scroll” and such found all sorts of ways to hang things like Chinese Rice Paper scrolls from ceiling to floor, but nothing appropriate to hang something 8 feet wide by 3 feet high. Fluther Jellies came through, though.

glacial's avatar

It can be helpful in these cases to “subtract” more common uses of your search word. For example, when looking for @ETpro‘s scroll mount, you could use the search terms “wall mounting scroll -rice -chinese”. That will remove (many of) the interfering popular results. Just make sure the words you are subtracting are not relevant to your own search in any way.

I’m trying to think what might have helped for your search… perhaps ”-fail”? It depends on what keeps turning up in your specific case.

ETpro's avatar

@glacial Sadly, removing Chinese from any manufactured thing you want to buy is probably relevant to the search. But I actually did try that.

glacial's avatar

@ETpro Yeah, I actually spent a bit of time looking for your scroll mount myself, with no success. I’m glad someone was able to help you.

Jeruba's avatar

People who have professional-grade search skills can find just about anything. There’s an art to it. I once saw a researcher produce an intelligent, informative display of findings on the meaning and significance of the word “the.”

phaedryx's avatar

Here’s how I would approach it:

1. I’d search for amiga game epic
2. I see that there is a wikipedia page for it that mentions that the music is from the “Mars Suite” of The Planets.
3. Search youtube for Mars suite Gustav Holst
4. Listen to the first result

And go from there

A cheat sheet I use when I google: http://i.imgur.com/au2cW.jpg

(a bit more here)

fremen_warrior's avatar

@phaedryx that’s actually very useful, thank you :-)

glacial's avatar

These and more options to refine searches are also available by clicking “Search tools” (below the search bar) or “Advanced search” (hidden within the gear wheel) on your results page. I tend to prefer clicking to typing options in the search bar.

The other trick is to be able to put yourself in the minds of the people writing web pages and the people who look for things similar to what you’re looking for. Both of these sets of people influence how results are selected for you by google.

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