A dash is a dash, right?



  • I just came across the official Google Cheat Sheet.  One of the search tips the page helpfully offers is

       virus <font color="#0000ff"></font>computer
       
    the word virus but NOT the word computer

    Okay, so let's try it. Copy "virus <font color="#0000ff"></font>computer" from the page, paste it into Google's search box and hit enter.  Like this. Oh, wait... wasn't it supposed to give results about non-computer viruses?

    Of course, the problem is in the dash: it's not an ordinary ASCII "hyphen-minus", nor even a proper Unicode minus sign, but an en dash. And, as it turns out, Google's own search box doesn't recognize it as having any special meaning, but just thinks it's random puctuation and ignores it.  (Mind you, it won't recognize a Unicode minus sign either.)

    I would've just let them know about the problem and asked them to fix it, but here comes the second WTF: if Google has some way to provide feedback about their own help pages, they've sure hidden it well.  Of course, they do have a "contact us" page, but that just links back to the help pages.  I suppose they probably want me to post on their help forums, though those aren't exactly easy to find either, and in any case there doesn't seem to be a forum for the help pages themselves.  (Perhaps I should try the web search help forum instead.)  Oh, and they demand that I register an account first, which is understandable enough, but really kills any residual altruistic impulse I might've had to help them out.  So, I'll just post here, where I already have an account, and laugh at them instead.



  •  It's the same withthe subtraction example.

    I put money on that the document was drafted in an application with auto-replace of dashes.



  • I'm sure your laughter has hurt poor Google's feelings so badly they have to dry their tears with their giant wads of money.



  • @dhromed said:

    I put money on that the document was drafted in an application with auto-replace of dashes.

    WORD! OMG! Google uses Word! Further proof that is all one big evil plot!

    Google == Microsoft

    Why, yes - it is time for my meds now. How did you know?

     

     

    Sorry, long day.... Anyway, I always hated that default. It seems to be so hard to turn off in Word 2007.



  • @vyznev said:

    I would've just let them know about the problem and asked them to fix it, but here comes the second WTF: if Google has some way to provide feedback about their own help pages, they've sure hidden it well.  Of course, they do have a "contact us" page, but that just links back to the help pages.  I suppose they probably want me to post on their help forums, though those aren't exactly easy to find either, and in any case there doesn't seem to be a forum for the help pages themselves.  (Perhaps I should try the web search help forum instead.)  Oh, and they demand that I register an account first, which is understandable enough, but really kills any residual altruistic impulse I might've had to help them out.  So, I'll just post here, where I already have an account, and laugh at them instead.

     

    They used to have such a feedback form, but it was not of much use. I once complained about a translation, explained what was wrong with it and even provided a correct translation. Instead of doing anything, they would have wanted me to go through some long "Get approved as a translator" -procedure.



  • @jpa said:

    @vyznev said:

    I would've just let them know about the problem and asked them to fix it, but here comes the second WTF: if Google has some way to provide feedback about their own help pages, they've sure hidden it well.  Of course, they do have a "contact us" page, but that just links back to the help pages.  I suppose they probably want me to post on their help forums, though those aren't exactly easy to find either, and in any case there doesn't seem to be a forum for the help pages themselves.  (Perhaps I should try the web search help forum instead.)  Oh, and they demand that I register an account first, which is understandable enough, but really kills any residual altruistic impulse I might've had to help them out.  So, I'll just post here, where I already have an account, and laugh at them instead.

     

    They used to have such a feedback form, but it was not of much use. I once complained about a translation, explained what was wrong with it and even provided a correct translation. Instead of doing anything, they would have wanted me to go through some long "Get approved as a translator" -procedure.

     

    Google's feedback system is an abomination.  What amazes me is that they not only make it difficult to submit feedback, they proceed to completely ignore it once you figure out how to actually submit it.

    Case in point: Google Maps.  I don't know where their map data comes from exactly, but it seems like every update just adds mistakes.  GMaps used to get my parents' address correct, now they can't even find the street when you search for it.  Yet they have street view of the whole neighborhood, and all the streets are listed correctly in that.

    Google has always had problems with my apartment address.  First, they thought it was at the other end of the block.  Then they started getting it right.  Then it somehow moved to the other end of the street.  Then it was right again.  Then back at the other end of the block, and now it's back on the other end of the street.

    The worst part is, they have a means of submitting corrections, but no way (at least not that I've found) to actually explain the corrections.  My building is mixed-use, which is probably what screws up their map data; the commercial and residential portions are considered to front on two different streets.  They get the commercial address right, so all I need is a means of explaining to them that it's the same building, but evidently they don't want to hear about it.





  • Based on my recent TDWTF-worthy experience dealing with Google’s DoubleClick team, I would agree that the reason they don’t give you an opportunity to give any useful feedback is because they would just ignore it anyway, or (in many of my cases) just paste back documentation at you, even when it’s an unbelievably stupid and obvious mistake that would take literally 10 seconds to fix. (Like, for example, failing to declare static functions as static, or typing “expland” instead of “expand”.) In fact, the only good customer service experience I’ve ever had with Google was with a Postini representative, and that was only after someone else there dropped the ball completely in resolving an issue.



  • Whats with all the problems with Google?  They are a search engine, use them just for that and you are fine.  Try to use them for mapping, or clicking and you are using a hammer to drive a screw.

    I find Google is a great front end to SSDS.

     



  • @KattMan said:

    I find Google is a great front end to SSDS.

    I never figured out how to make Google do Random Video.



  • @KattMan said:

    Whats with all the problems with Google?  They are a search engine, use them just for that and you are fine.  Try to use them for mapping, or clicking and you are using a hammer to drive a screw.
    So... who's AJAX-based map with street view and live traffic data should we use?

     

    I suppose, also, by the same logic, that we should avoid amazon's EC2 and S3 services.  Because they sell books.



  • @merreborn said:

    @KattMan said:

    Whats with all the problems with Google?  They are a search engine, use them just for that and you are fine.  Try to use them for mapping, or clicking and you are using a hammer to drive a screw.
    So... who's AJAX-based map with street view and live traffic data should we use?

     

    I suppose, also, by the same logic, that we should avoid amazon's EC2 and S3 services.  Because they sell books.

     

    You are correct, and windows should only be used to look out of and unix should only be used to guard your daughters.



  • @KattMan said:

    @merreborn said:
    @KattMan said:
    Whats with all the problems with Google?  They are a search engine, use them just for that and you are fine.  Try to use them for mapping, or clicking and you are using a hammer to drive a screw.
    So... who's AJAX-based map with street view and live traffic data should we use?

    I suppose, also, by the same logic, that we should avoid amazon's EC2 and S3 services.  Because they sell books.

    You are correct, and windows should only be used to look out of and unix should only be used to guard your daughters.
    Don't play the Xbox because Microsoft just makes software.



  •  I guess if they had a prominent, working "contact" button on the front page, they would get millions of "Help, my internet doesn't work!!!"-questions a day.

     

    Also, Google is about cool stuff. Fixing typos in old help documents is not cool.



  • @Ex-Navy Dude said:

    @dhromed said:

    I put money on that the document was drafted in an application with auto-replace of dashes.

    WORD! OMG! Google uses Word! Further proof that is all one big evil plot!

    Google == Microsoft

    Why, yes - it is time for my meds now. How did you know?

     

     

    Sorry, long day.... Anyway, I always hated that default. It seems to be so hard to turn off in Word 2007.

    Actually, it's the default in all of the ODF editors I've used also.  I haven't used Google's, but I strongly suspect that it does it, too.  Can't see the point, because they basically look the same to me, visually.  I mean, yeah, I can see the change when it happens, so I know there is a difference.  However, if you showed me a page full of dashes, I'd not be able to identify which was which without view source or otherwise using software to point out the difference.

    Sigh.  And I see it's time for my meds, too, though I have no idea why anyone would bother with such a useless conspiracy.



  • @fourchan said:

    Also, Google is about cool stuff. Fixing typos in old help documents is not cool.

    Right, cool stuff.  Like a shoddy, web-based office suite.  Or a search engine.  Or Yet Another Free Webmail Service.

     

    Don't get me wrong, Google is still the best search engine IMHO, GMail has good spam filtering and Maps is the best mapping software I've used.  It doesn't change the fact that none of what they do is "cool" so much as it is "good" (at best).



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @fourchan said:

    Also, Google is about cool stuff. Fixing typos in old help documents is not cool.

    Right, cool stuff.  Like a shoddy, web-based office suite.  Or a search engine.  Or Yet Another Free Webmail Service.

    Don't get me wrong, Google is still the best search engine IMHO, GMail has good spam filtering and Maps is the best mapping software I've used.  It doesn't change the fact that none of what they do is "cool" so much as it is "good" (at best).

    There was a time when their search engine really was legimately cool.  It's easy to forget that now.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Right, cool stuff.  Like a shoddy, web-based office suite.  Or a search engine.  Or Yet Another Free Webmail Service.
     

    Google Wave is pretty cool. So is Google Voice (and their shoddy transcriptions). And the google code repository (though not all that original, it's better than sf). Picasa tagging (and facial recognition is cool), Trend search gets used all over the place, and their site creator is the absolute best I've found for non-programmers. The google earth flight simulator isn't all that pratical, but it is cool, and google sketchup does have some legitimate purposes. I mean, who says Google Mars and Google Moon aren't "cool"?

    Gmail also has some pretty nice features, but of all the rest, I probably appreciate 1) being able to use pop3/imap without having to pay, 2) not throwing ads at the bottom of every email I send, 3) having a webmail interface which isn't littered with ads and nearly unusable (and conversations are cool).

    Plus, their development tools are quite nice, like GWT, Analytics, and their js cdn (also not original, but quite nice to have).

    And then there's the slew of other tiny products... like a free 411 service, Patent Search and others. But most of all, their strong promotion of OSS is fantastic, as with google summer of code, and so on. Any company which is willing to spend millions to buy out a product and then release it without ads for free is pretty cool to me.

    Out of curiosity, if you don't think google is cool, what do you think is cool?



  • @mann_jess said:

    Out of curiosity, if you don't think google is cool, what do you think is cool?
    Beer and the sound of his own voice.



  • @mann_jess said:

    <snip>
    Have the WikiBots finally infiltrated TDWTF?

    All you needed were dates in there. Linking to irrelevant pages.



  • @PJH said:

    All you needed were dates in there. Linking to irrelevant pages.
     

    **** I knew I forgot something.



  • @mann_jess said:

    @PJH said:

    All you needed were dates in there. Linking to irrelevant pages.
     

    **** I knew I forgot something.

    Bad bot!


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @mann_jess said:

    Any company which is willing to spend millions to buy out a product and then release it without ads for free is pretty cool to me.
    Without ads? You do know Google is an advertising company, right? Once one of their products hits critical mass, it gets ads.



  • @mann_jess said:

    Google Wave is pretty cool.

    WTF is it?  I'm not going to watch a goddamn video when two sentences could explain it.

     

    @mann_jess said:

    So is Google Voice (and their shoddy transcriptions).

    Can't use it so I can't say, but the page you linked makes it look, uh, unoriginal.

     

    @mann_jess said:

    And the google code repository (though not all that original, it's better than sf).

    Code seems to exist solely to host shitty, shitty projects.  If it vanished right now, my life would be better.

     

    @mann_jess said:

    Picasa tagging (and facial recognition is cool), Trend search gets used all over the place, and their site creator is the absolute best I've found for non-programmers.

    How does it differ from tagging in any of a zillion other photo album apps?  Trend stuff is okay.  I was unimpressed with site creator.

     

    @mann_jess said:

    The google earth flight simulator isn't all that pratical, but it is cool, and google sketchup does have some legitimate purposes. I mean, who says Google Mars and Google Moon aren't "cool"?

    Never used Google Earth but the flight simulator looks a lot lamer than a real one.  Sketchup?  (Seriously, do you work for Google?  You seem to know every lame-ass project they have.)  Mars and Moon actually seem pretty cool, but I'd hardly say that makes Google a cool company.

     

    @mann_jess said:

    But most of all, their strong promotion of OSS is fantastic, as with google summer of code, and so on.

    I've seen, like, a few useful OSS projects come out of Google.  The summer of code stuff just seems retarded.

     

    @mann_jess said:

    Any company which is willing to spend millions to buy out a product and then release it without ads for free is pretty cool to me.

    As noted, Google is an ad company.  Anyway, if they spend millions and the product bombs and fails to make a profit (and other than Search and Gmail, which have?) then the company is just being stupid.  It seems Google is trying to spend all its fake Internet money before the market realizes they are little more than a good search engine with a mature ad network.

     

    @mann_jess said:

    Out of curiosity, if you don't think google is cool, what do you think is cool?

    Beer, the sound of my own voice, lasers, big explosions, fast cars, boobs.  As far as tech..  I can't think of much in the last 5 years that has made me say "cool".  The big developments have been from Apple (oooh, good-looking, useless software and hardware!) or on the web app front (oooh, the same apps that were new on the desktop 15 years ago, only slow and ugly!).  Nanotech is pretty cool, assuming it can be implanted in my body making me practically immortal and indestructible.  Otherwise, it's been a lot of ho-hum recently.  Other than Google-branded, invite-only services that some other company was providing years ago, what do you think is cool?


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @morbiuswilters said:

    As noted, Google is an ad company.  Anyway, if they spend millions and the product bombs and fails to make a profit (and other than Search and Gmail, which have?) then the company is just being stupid.  It seems Google is trying to spend all its fake Internet money before the market realizes they are little more than a good search engine with a mature ad network.
     

    Actually, Google's strategy is pretty interesting - they buy and/or build all kinds of little tools, hype them to death, and throw them at the internet and see what sticks. The stuff that sticks gets gradually tweaked to produce revenue, and, by the very nature of the internet and their infrastructure, costs virtually nothing to maintain and they're only out whatever it cost to do it in the first place. Case in point: Google Maps has advertisements now - as well as paid business listings.

    The way Google can afford to do these things is that they've already built this massive, overly powerful infrastructure to support their existing money-producing search engine - and they built that infrastructure to be generalized enough that they can build any app for it.

     Even youtube doesn't consume nearly as much cashflow as Google allows people to think it does (Google has never really said just how much they lose on it - but some "clever" journalists over the years have done some basic multiplication and come up with some insane numbers - forgetting that Google does everything they can do to get bandwidth and electricity at below comodity prices)



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    WTF is it?

    Google Wave is like "hosted" email, combined with chat and a bunch of other tools. It's HTML/Js with inline editing and real time character-by-character transmission, with an API flexible enough to embed the entire UI in webpages and such. The video is a lot cooler than anything I have to say, but anyway... Googling it would bring up a feature list.

    @morbiuswilters said:

    Can't use it so I can't say, but the page you linked makes it look, uh, unoriginal.

    Google Voice gives me the ability to have a completely free phone service. (Which I now have as of last Tuesday... saving me around $100/month) Whenever someone leaves a voicemail, it can also transcribe the message and email and/or SMS the message to you immediately. It has a couple other relatively original features.

    @morbiuswilters said:

    Code seems to exist solely to host shitty, shitty projects.

    Any open code repository will have garbage, by its very nature. The point is that its nice to have a hosted code service available which is better than sf. If the content sucks, that's because people are making bad content, it doesn't mean the service is bad. Besides, I have found a few projects there which have been useful.

    @morbiuswilters said:

    How does it differ from tagging in any of a zillion other photo album apps?

    It matches similar faces -- so if I tag my friend "John" in a picture, it'll pick him out of every other picture I have hosted and automatically tag him there too. It's better at it than one might expect.

    @morbiuswilters said:

    I was unimpressed with site creator.

    I only mention it because it's infinitely better than any other option I've seen for non programmers to create a site. Embedding widgets (like a blog, calendar, etc) is awesome. Nothing else does that well, is at all usable, and not horrendously ugly (not to mention free). Maybe "cool" is a stretch for the actual functionality, but I do think it's cool they provide such a service since no other decent ones exist.

    @morbiuswilters said:

    Never used Google Earth but the flight simulator looks a lot lamer than a real one.

    It is. But it works with the actual globe, not some unrealistic simulation. It's not one of their "real" products, but I'd say it's a bit cool. At least for some people. I don't like it much myself...

    @morbiuswilters said:

    I've seen, like, a few useful OSS projects come out of Google.  The summer of code stuff just seems retarded.

    A couple good things have come out of summer of code. I can't give examples off the top of my head, and I don't care enough to look them up. But there have been a few occasions I've used something developed in that program. Anyway, giving essentially interns the funds and opportunity to develop open source programs of their choice is a pretty cool thing to do. And Google Wave is open source, BTW. They also do wonders to promote open source, which IMO is a big deal.

    @morbiuswilters said:

    As noted, Google is an ad company

    Obviously I know that. But not all their products are innundated with ads, and the ones which do have them are tasteful. Remember the web back in the day -- with those stupid flashing, moving, popup nightmares... I like that google (an ad company) doesn't do that, and frankly I'd rather have minimal, unobtrusive (and sometimes even helpful!) ads funding products I use rather than attaching a pricetag.

    @morbiuswilters said:

    Beer, the sound of my own voice, lasers, big explosions, fast cars, boobs.

    None of those are original in the slightest, and anyway, I definitely wouldn't use "cool" to describe them. 

    Of course, cutting edge science is cool, as are theoretical physics. Those don't really intersect with computing much, at least not in fields any of us will be handling any time soon. Computing, as a whole, is frankly pretty dull. "Cool" industry stuff for me constitutes anything original, amazingly useful, or profoundly better than all the alternatives. IMO, Google makes stuff like that a lot. I mean, compare them to every other major IT corporation on the planet.



  • @mann_jess said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    WTF is it?

    Google Wave is like "hosted" email, combined with chat and a bunch of other tools. It's HTML/Js

    To be anal about it: Wave itself is a protocol, like SMTP or Jabber (I don't actually know anything about Jabber, so that may or may not be an apt comparison). The thing you see in the video is merely Google's web client for it. There could also be a simple command-line client, as they also show in the video. Basically, Wave is a way to synchronize changes made by multiple participants to a document in (near) real time, with support for automated interaction via "robots". It's pretty fucking cool.

    @mann_jess said:

    They also do wonders to promote open source, which IMO is a big deal.

    Not to mention HTML5.


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