The 5 Most Annoying Flaws of Modern Internet Search Engines
The search engine is my favorite part of the Internet. Not social-media apps or porn or even a certain list-based website.
Yes, obviously you read Cracked if you're reading this, but, y'know, don't ever forget us.
The search engine is glorious. We all know it provides information on bargains, directions, movie times, what have you. But the reason I love the search engine is because it's so valuable in answering trivial questions. Questions like: Who was in the movie? What year did that song come out? What are the lyrics to that song? What was the name of that childhood toy I loved? It's great at recapturing memories.
Except when it's not. Sometimes, your search does not yield a bounty. You hit a roadblock. Or two roadblocks. Or, y'know what, let's say five roadblocks. So here they are: the five most frustrating problems you face with search engines.
Your Memory Isn't Specific Enough
I was born before the Internet was part of our daily lives. And during that time, a whole bunch of questions plagued us that we'd solve in two seconds today with the help of Google. Questions like: "WTF are the words to 'Come on Eileen'?" Holy crap. When I was a kid everyone knew that early-'80s song and no one knew the words. In college, when my band did a retro cover, we searched for anyone with the lyrics, and when no one had them and they weren't posted online, we just made them up.
Anyway, about 10 years ago it finally occurred to me to look up those garbled lyrics, and the search engine did not fail me. But sometimes there are memories from childhood that are too vague to be searchable. For example, there was a popular phrase in my house which allegedly came from a television show called The White Shadow. It goes something like this:
There are four kinds of people in this world: those who like you for the wrong reasons, those who like you for the right reasons, those who dislike you for you wrong reasons, and those who dislike you for the right reasons. And it's only the last group you have to worry about.
Now, given that that phrase has formed a huge part of my entire adult existence, I've always wanted to hear the original wording rather than my older brother's possibly incorrect paraphrasing of a show about a former pro basketball player whose injury forces him to retire and teach basketball to inner-city kids.
Yes, it's a real show.
But no construction of that phrase has ever turned up a hit on my searches. It's simply too hazy a memory to find anything. Actually, that's not true. At this point, all you can find is the article I wrote about it.
UPDATE: Several readers have found The White Shadow Quote. I apparently am not nearly as talented, smart, or cool as you all. Here it is and my brother got it pretty correct: http://www.tv.com/shows/the-white-shadow/just-one-of-the-boys-44145/
Too Much Like a More-Popular Result
Sometimes, there's an added problem to the hazy memory: The thing you're trying to remember is too much like something much more popular. For years I've been trying to remember what the hell the name was of that childhood movie or TV show where a street gang battled a gang of mimes in an abandoned theater. These mimes fought with mirrors and smoke bombs and ultimately got their asses kicked. Well if you search it, you get ...
Every result is The Warriors, even beyond this screen cap.
Well, I can see why the Internet is confused, because The Warriors is about gangs, and it has a gang called The Hi-Hats who are mimes, but no, that's not what I'm talking about. Yes, I'm looking for a movie about fighting mimes that is not the most famous movie of all time to feature fighting mimes. And if anyone has any idea what the hell I'm talking about, please tell me, because even I was so convinced it was The Warriors that I watched it all again recently and that's not it. It's quite frustrating, but something good came out of all my fruitless searching. I found the intro to a TV show called The Renegades that was a knock-off of the The Warriors. I wrote about it a couple of months ago, but because it bears repeating, here is the greatest TV intro ever:
Did you know that there are times people use the Internet and don't want porn? Yeah, it's weird, but apparently it happens. Well, this entry's a little different from the others because it's not about being unable to find the result you want -- it's about being distracted in your search because you get porn results you weren't looking for.
Let's say you're a cooking enthusiast, and you're hoping for a great recipe for Boston cream pie! Or any cream pie, really. What you're looking for is ...
... and not ...
But if you search "cream pie," at least some first-page results will be wrong.
And if you wanted a video of someone making a cream pie? Even worse.
And Heaven help you if you want a recipe for seven-layer blowjob cake.
One of the Search Terms Is Way Too Common
How about this one? Ever search for something really common? Like, maybe you're into the band The The or maybe you're tone deaf and neurologically impaired and looking for info on the band Fun. Sometimes certain words are so common you get inundated with false hits.
Ultimately, I found a picture of the band by searching "stop, please stop, OMG, you're so terrible, please stop!!!!"
Or if you want an example that doesn't involve your favorite easy-listening pop recording artist, how about this one? Sometime in the last few years, I heard a quote attributed to a popular American writer. Could be John Updike or Saul Bellow -- a writer of that age and stature. He said something to the effect of: Any writer who doesn't reflect his time might as well just give up. The point was, it's not only OK to write in a way that reflects your environment, it's essential. That phrase inspired me to pursue my novel Notes from the Internet Apocalypse, unafraid that it would be too dated by reflecting how society related to the Internet at this particular time in history. I'd love to have the real quote, but when I search ...
Just too many bland words, but if you can find the quote, I'll be your best friend.
Stalking People With Common Names
If you're anything like me, sometimes you stalk people from your past online. Also, if you're anything like me, I'm guessing you looked a lot like this in college:
Sorry, I'll stop with that joke.
Anyway, it's awesome when you're stalking, like, "Gwendolyn Abiganksi," or "Myron Stuvididetz," but every once in awhile you have the misfortune of wanting to investigate someone with a super common first and last name. And then what? Then you're in a sea of Smiths and Joneses and Johnsons. (On an unrelated note, "Sea of Johnsons" comes up fairly easily in a bukkake porn search.) In any event, there's a woman from my distant past that I met my senior year of college and never saw again. Her name was Heather White. There's very little else I remember, but when you search that, you find ...
Shockingly, there is no information about "played pool with long-haired guy at The Nines in Ithaca in 1995."
A better search might be "women who are horrified to find their names in Cracked articles next to entries about cream pies."
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