This is Your Addressbar, This is Your Google…One is for Going Places, the Other is for Finding Them

I couldn’t help but to click through to a post with the title of “How Google Failed Its Users and Gave Birth to an Internet Meme“, but reading the post, I have to say that Mike is way off the mark here. His main point is that when users typed “Facebook login” into Google, they shouldn’t have gotten RWW, but Facebook:

While we mock those users, the simple fact is they haven’t necessarily failed, something failed them. With all of our talk about the semantic Web and search engine optimization and tailoring search results to the individual user, there are thousands upon thousands of users performing the same simple search and following the same wrong road. If this were a standard traffic sign misdirecting this many people, it would have been pulled down long ago. There would have been outraged citizens at town meetings and special reports on the five o’ clock news.

I think the real problem is that people are mistaking Google for the addressbar. This isn’t anything new, we’ve all seen it many times. I’m sure that on big sites like CNN, YouTube, etc one of the most common search terms is their domain itself.

The problem isn’t Google but browsers not making this clear…I know this might seem silly, but here’s a screencast showing the difference…

All silliness aside, and please don’t think I’m talking down to anyone, this has been a problem since Google became the default homepage for millions of people. I’ve seen it over and over again, people typing [whatever].com into the Google search field instead of the addressbar.

Where did browsers go wrong that they didn’t make this pretty important part of using a browser more clear? And what can be done now? It’s even more confusing now since if you type a term in the addressbar of Chrome and other browsers it fires off a search…

I guess Google really has taken over.

Now if I could only link my real YouTube account to my Google account…

Comments

  1. says

    Tris, I think this is the “those pesky kids are doing it wrong” all over again. Last week it was spelling and grammar, now it’s which button they push in their browser.

    They’re not “doing it wrong”, they’re just doing it differently. Not as efficiently, obviously. Not as error-proof, evidently. But not wrong.

    • says

      I don’t know Jan, typing in “Facebook login” to get to Facebook, but getting to Read Write Web and not getting the difference … that’s doing it wrong.

      And I really, typing “cnn.com” into Google to get there? That’s nothing new, I’ve been seeing it for almost a decade. So this isn’t kids I’m talking about here. So I stand by the fact that we haven’t done a good job at talking about how the tools work.

      It goes beyond the things I’m talking about. When I’m helping people learn WordPress, it’s not uncommon for me to have to break people of their “type into Google” habit so they can get to their WP installs (which wouldn’t be indexed in the couple minutes post install).

  2. says

    Tris, I think this is the “those pesky kids are doing it wrong” all over again. Last week it was spelling and grammar, now it’s which button they push in their browser.

    They’re not “doing it wrong”, they’re just doing it differently. Not as efficiently, obviously. Not as error-proof, evidently. But not wrong.

    • says

      I don’t know Jan, typing in “Facebook login” to get to Facebook, but getting to Read Write Web and not getting the difference … that’s doing it wrong.

      And I really, typing “cnn.com” into Google to get there? That’s nothing new, I’ve been seeing it for almost a decade. So this isn’t kids I’m talking about here. So I stand by the fact that we haven’t done a good job at talking about how the tools work.

      It goes beyond the things I’m talking about. When I’m helping people learn WordPress, it’s not uncommon for me to have to break people of their “type into Google” habit so they can get to their WP installs (which wouldn’t be indexed in the couple minutes post install).

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