How useful is Google?

Here’s a quick test. When searching for ‘Red Dwarf’ on google.co.uk, how useful are the results? Let’s have a look.

  1. www.reddwarf.co.uk – Well, no argument there, I think. The official site should obviously be top.
  2. BBC’s Red Dwarf page – Well, let’s face it, the official BBC site is a bit rubbish. But to be fair, with reddwarf.co.uk being so good, I’m glad they don’t make the effort, and spend the time and my licence fee doing other things. So, whilst it’s obvious why it’s second… it doesn’t deserve it. It’s just not a useful site.
  3. Official Red Dwarf Fan Club – but not the one you’d expect. It’s the American one – and it’s stuck in 1999. (And for all I know from that site, the US fanclub is completely inactive – so if that isn’t the case, they need to realise how a non-updated site reflects on them.) Not a very useful link.
  4. IMDB entry – Not a bad link, although I’d argue it was too high up.
  5. Red Dwarf sounds – Oh, joy. A collection of Dwarf WAVs. I DON’T KNOW HOW DWARF FANDOM COULD LIVE WITHOUT THIS. Still, the hit counter (remember when all sites used to have them, because they were under the illusion that it was cool and actually meant something?) gives us the clue as to why it’s so high up – the site’s been online since March 1996…
  6. Amazon.com Series 1+2 – Hmmm. It’s not that it’s a problem that an Amazon listing comes up here – they’re pretty useful – but it’s more the fact that I’m searching on google.co.uk, about a British series… and the American release comes up.
  7. Sup’s Smegging Red Dwarf Page – Somehow, I wouldn’t feel safe without knowing this was on the web. NOT THAT THAT MAKES IT ANY GOOD. It’s fucking appalling by 2005 standards, and not that great by any other year’s. Again, it’s only so high because it’s been around so long, not because of any reflection of quality.
  8. Red Dwarf FAQ – No objection to this being here; and it’s linked to the official place, as well. “Updated 10 April 2000” is really a poor reflection on the state of alt.tv.red-dwarf than anything else.
  9. Red Dwarf Wikipedia entry – Not a bad link at all. I keep meaning to go through that entry and add/change some stuff – I did a few tweaks the other day. Although there may well be a dedicated Dwarf Wiki launching soon – watch this space.
  10. Red Dwarf Pile ‘O Smeg – OH FUCK OFF. I fucking hate this site. “These links are tested regularly to ensure the sites are online, no broken links, no wasted time.” Erm, no, they aren’t – Craig Charles Online is not up, and hasn’t been up for ages. More to the point, I’ve tried to add G&T to this list several times – with no response. It’s not that I mind people giving up on sites. But at least put a message at the top to let people know you’re not updating any more.
  11. TORDFC – The real thing, at last. A decent link.
  12. IMDB – Erm, again. The same page, too. THAT’S HELPFUL.
  13. Amazon Series 1 – See above.
  14. Red Dwarf Pile ‘O Smeg – Or, rather where Pile ‘O Smeg used to be. Kudos to the site owner for keeping this going all this time. Minus several points from Google for giving a completely pointless result.
  15. British TV Comedy Database Entry – Fair enough.
  16. Wikipedia Entry – Erm, again. Useless.
  17. BBC Comedy Guide entry – A great result.
  18. Red Dwarf Webring – Cor, remember Webrings? I’m tempted to add G&T to it for a joke. No use at all, apart from as a snapshot of the web in the late 90s.
  19. Red Dwarf Waves – Oh joy, more sounds. Never mind the latest news on all matters Dwarf – can I listen to Kryten saying Smeg again?

I could go on. I was sorely tempted to. But you get the picture. Half those links are completely useless .

Now, I know what you’re thinking – this is an extended rant on why G&T isn’t high in the search results, or something. But it isn’t. I couldn’t really give a buggery where G&T is – if people are interested, they’ll find it eventually. I’m simply pointing out how it’s easy to think Google Is God, and that anything relevant to your search will pop up immediately. But if there’s one thing you’d expect to easily be able to find information on on the net it’s Dwarf – and the above results are pretty shocking, really.

Not that it’s Google’s fault. It makes a fair stab at what it thinks is important, judging on what people link to. But the problem here is that so many people have linked to old, now practically defunct pages since 1998, that the results are badly skewed against newer, more relevant links.

The solution? The Semantic Web. Or: microformats. Or basically anything that will allow things to be properly machine-readable, rather than what Google does: guess. It’s something this site does slightly – but needs to do a lot more of. But I’ll be posting more about how you can make your site more semantic in the following weeks. It’s the future of the web. Along with better pornography.

21 Responses to How useful is Google?

Jump to bottom

  1. I still don’t know how I originally found G&T. Clearly it wasn’t via Google, unless I was looking for something more specific. What I do remember, however, was a night in February 2003 where I found the site and eventually stayed up until 4am reading EVERY SINGLE BASTARD ARTICLE on the site.

    Without which, of course, all this OD and fan film malarkey might never have happened. You cunts.

  2. Might be useful if we actually wrote some decent articles on there again, then…

    There are Plans In Place.

  3. I still don’t know how I originally found G&T. Clearly it wasn’t via Google, unless I was looking for something more specific. What I do remember, however, was a night in February 2003 where I found the site and eventually stayed up until 4am reading EVERY SINGLE BASTARD ARTICLE on the site.

    Thank God I’m not the only person to have done this…

  4. But then again I read about 2 years worth of Richard Herring’s blog in the space of about a month, once. I am an obsessive.

  5. I cringe when I read some old G&T articles. The factual ones are usually OK, but the opinion pieces are a bit… awduijhawihawdi.

  6. I’ve never really considered Google to be the bible people say it is, but you can’t beat it for specific searches such as “hotels + postcode” as opposed to a general search like “Red Dwarf”.

    I remember mentioning that, for a while, The White Hole was the top result on Google for the search “Red Dwarf news”. At the moment it’s the official site, but the second result is more surprising: http://www.reddwarf.nildram.co.uk/rdnews.htm – a site which I recently linked to out of the blue over on BTLi because it has an excellent piece of fan fiction. Needless to say, it hasn’t been updated in years.

  7. God knows what I was searching for, but I did actually find G+T through Google. All I know is that the article it ended up linking to was the one in which somebody named Squidy want on a rant about the sorry state of Dwarf DVDs and G+T revealed him rightfully as a twat.

    It was fun. I stuck around.

  8. Yeah, G&T comes a lot higher in the searches for *specific* things, rather than just Red Dwarf. Probably how a lot of people find the site.

    We need another big argument on G&T to liven things up a bit.

  9. Phil – if you found G&T through Google I worry what you were looking for… Spicy Cunt Fuck maybe?

  10. John Hoare:

    Red Dwarf Wikipedia entry – Not a bad link at all. I keep meaning to go through that entry and add/change some stuff – I did a few tweaks the other day.

    Wikipedia Entry:

    (one who is annoying or awkward; perhaps adapted from the words git and oik; a synonym for the word cunt)

  11. I found this site from the Wikipedia page. And then proceeded to spend almost a weekend reading EVERY SINGLE BASTARD ARTICLE (there have been a few since 2005). And laughing my ass off. I’m glad I found yiz (Hollister voice).

  12. >Phil – if you found G&T through Google I worry what you were looking for? Spicy Cunt Fuck maybe?

    Can’t be; I don’t think I’ve ever seen the word “spicy” around here =P …

    >What I do remember, however, was a night in February 2003 where I found the site and eventually stayed up until 4am reading EVERY SINGLE BASTARD ARTICLE on the site.

    I remember spending the most part of a couple of nights going through the whole site too. Even reviews of things I’m not ever likely to see. I also remember nearly piddling my pants laughing from some of them — because they were good, I hasten to add. They also helped desentitize me to the word “cunt” (altho’ I’d heard it before, from something Peter Cook and Dudley Moore did together).

    (Also, for those of you who are interested, there is some new material over at the Holoship Enlightenment. I started a new series…)

  13. G&T Admin

    Hooray!

    I like visitors. We need more of them.

  14. Well the Wiki page has now jumped up to 2nd position, but Pile O Smeg and Sup’s Smegging Dwarf page are 5th and 6th (and 17th) respectively.

    TORDFC has stayed in 11th place

    The first G&T link I found was on page 15 (I gave up counting, it was over 100)it’s an article by Tanya from 2005…
    “Why Rimmer IS Red Dwarf”

  15. > there is some new material over at the Holoship Enlightenment

    Tried commenting over there but my crap browser (Opera PDA) wouldn’t
    let me. Nice site though; I look forward to reading more.

  16. G&T Admin

    >The first G&T link I found was on page 15 (I gave up counting, it was over 100)it?s an article by Tanya from 2005?
    ?Why Rimmer IS Red Dwarf?

    Horray!

  17. G&T Admin

    >All I know is that the article it ended up linking to was the one in which somebody named Squidy want on a rant about the sorry state of Dwarf DVDs and G+T revealed him rightfully as a twat.

    Come to the UK, Phil, and I can arrange for you to meet Squidy in person. Won’t that be fun?

  18. >Come to the UK, Phil, and I can arrange for you to meet Squidy in person. Won?t that be fun?

    I owe him so much by this point. Do you actually know this guy, or was he just some drifting boob? And why has he not boob-drifted around here since?

  19. G&T Admin

    >I owe him so much by this point. Do you actually know this guy, or was he just some drifting boob? And why has he not boob-drifted around here since?

    I actually know him. He doesn’t take people disagreeing with him that well.

  20. >He doesn?t take people disagreeing with him that well.

    The thing that really hooked me, though, and I’m being completely honest here, was the respect that GT’s response piece paid to Squidy’s original complaints. That is to say that GT addressed everything, point by point, agreeing or disagreeing as is saw fit, and then explaining why.

    I do remember I wasn’t even necessarily in agreement with GT a lot of the time, but it made for a good read, and it was far beyond the usual “yes it is / no it’s not” debates that you find in most discussion areas online. It was a refreshing change.

    Then we all regressed to calling each other cunts and that was nice too.

Jump to top / Jump to 'Recent Comments'

Leave a Reply