Google now warns you if your search terms won't get you great results

Android Central search results on Google
Android Central search results on Google (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google will now alert you if there aren't any good results for your search terms.
  • It will also offer tips on helping you reformulate your terms.
  • This nifty little addition will be rolling out in the U.S first.

If the best place to bide a body is on Page 2 of Google Search, the best way to never find it is an imprecise search term. Google is good at working out what we're most likely looking for, slicing through typos and suggesting terms based on what we've been doing on the web lately, but it's not magic.

Sometimes, a search for a flibbertigibbet or a thingamajig when you're looking for a fillet and gimlet isn't going to get you what you want. From today, the search engine is going to alert you when a search term you've just run is a semantic dud.

Elizabeth Tucker, a Product Manager at Google wrote in a blog post:

Starting today in the U.S., we're rolling out a new message that lets you know when Google hasn't been able to find anything that matches your search particularly well. While you can still go through the results to see for yourself if they're helpful, the message is a signal that we probably haven't found what you're looking for. When possible, the feature will also provide some alternative searches as well as tips on how you could reformulate your query to better find the information you seek.

Google Search rephrase

Source: Google (Image credit: Source: Google)

While it's a U.S only feature at launch, Google will probably roll it out to other countries in the world over the coming year. Search is Google's most popular product, and while it has little innovations and extras here and there, helping you find things is its core mission. Letting you know that it's probably not going to find anything from what you've just searched is going to be a definite time-saver.

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Michael Allison
  • I don't need Google to tell me how to formulate search terms. If I want search results for a particular string of words, that's what I want. I don't need Google to refocus my search into what they think is a "good search".
  • duckduckgo is the way to go
  • Yeah duckduckgo is my primary search engine. I ditched Google a long time ago. But sometimes I'll get referred to Google unintentionally via email links or whatever. It is quite enlightening to compare search results between various search engines. You can use the exact same search terms and get completely different results. And what appears at the top of the list on duckduckgo and similar search engines doesn't appear on the first 5 pages of Google, if at all. Anyone who believes Google doesn't manipulate search results to align with...we'll say a certain "perspective" either totally naïve or a fool. And encouraging people to formulate searches in a particular manner (to use specific words and omit others) is just another way to propagate the hive mindset. Anyone who thinks Google is doing them a favor by making search suggestions for them is giving up independent/critical thinking, which is exactly what Google wants.