Google's latest similar searches test? Hate It!

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 28, 2013
Updated • Mar 28, 2013

We all know that Google is constantly tweaking, testing and experimenting with the layout of its search engine results page. I'm not only talking about the interface surrounding the results but also the results itself. As far as the interface goes, we have seen the black navigation bar come and go, the left sidebar moved to the top, and several other changes to Google Search that Google was criticized for.

As far as the search results go, Google has been experimenting with displaying less than ten results by default to users, decided to move Adwords ads on top of the results - something that it advises webmasters not to do, and hid away links that pointed to the cache of a website or similar pages.

If you are searching for certain terms right now on Google, the phrase "hotmail calendar import intervall" works very well on my system, you will notice another experiment or test that Google seems to be conducting. Take a look at the following screenshot to understand what I mean.

google search similar searches

The company limits the results to five instead of the usual ten, and adds a single "results for similar searches" result at the end of the page. So, you do get five results for the phrase that you searched for, and another that Google believes is related to what you searched for.

Note that this is different from the "searches related to" listing underneath the search results that you may see for some queries as those only suggest additional searches that you can conduct.

Why I dislike it? First, Google is displaying only five results for the query I searched for even though there are more results than that. Second, Google again tries to patronize its users believing that it knows better what users want than the users themselves. As the example above shows, this does not really work out that well as you do not get an answer for your query on the Microsoft account sign in page. The second page lists ten results as usual by the way.

What's your take on this? Do you like the new results for similar searches listing, or do you think that it is too patronizing and not helpful at all or most of the time? (via)


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  1. GoogleHate said on September 2, 2013 at 12:31 am

    Obviously the 751,000 results that google found for my search weren’t good enough, so it shows me 4 results and then shits out some irrelevant crap that I don’t need.

    Fuck, google are so annoying.

    WTF is it with big co’s that they lose sight of what their users might actually want and puke nasty stuff at them instead.

  2. Matt Stevens said on June 21, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    I’m using and this started happening to me today, at first I thought it was some kind of bug – I’m really pissed off it’s actually supposed to be an enhancement. Sad times.

  3. Matthew said on April 11, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    “Results for similar searches”? It’s horrible, just horrible, and with most Google stuff, they know better than you, so there’s no way to remove it. Horrible. If I wanted an alternative search I would have searched for an alternative search.

  4. zarg said on April 9, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    If you add quotes around each individual word in your search term, the annoying “similar searches” does not appear. As in: “google” “alienating” “users”. This is not to be confused with the verbatim search: “google alienating users”

    If I knew how to write a Greasemonkey script to automatically insert those quotes I would, but alas I do not.

    1. May said on April 28, 2013 at 3:12 pm
      Reply adds the quotes for you…

  5. NachoKingP said on March 31, 2013 at 8:28 am

    Maybe it would work better if you spelled “interval” properly? Worth a shot.

  6. Lisa said on March 29, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    In other news about google, they are now trying to add a shopping service with same-day delivery…

    Has google leadership gone mad?

  7. ank91 said on March 29, 2013 at 4:56 am

    i use “user agent switcher” addon and set it to opera mini.

    now google search pages loads fast without any ads.

  8. ilev said on March 29, 2013 at 3:05 am

    StartPage is not a search engine. StartPage uses Google search !!

    Startpage offers you Web search results from Google in complete privacy!

    When you search with Startpage, we remove all identifying information from your query and submit it anonymously to Google ourselves. We get the results and return them to you in total privacy.

  9. Ken Saunders said on March 29, 2013 at 12:10 am

    “Google again tries to patronize its users believing that it knows better what users want than the users themselves”
    Spot on, although, average Internet users, the majority, click on the first link that they see. I tell people to read the URL and description, not just the link text, but, Google no doubt has metrics that would back up what I’m saying.

    I find that more often than not, the results that I need are further down in search results. Sometimes as low as 20 or so. Probably because I think for myself and I don’t want the most obvious or most popular result. I want the correct one.

  10. Anthony said on March 28, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    I absolutely despise the so-called “similar searches” junk. I mean, I have my preferences set to display 100 results per page, for a reason…I hate excess clicking! The similar searches infuriate me because when they come up, there are fewer than 10 results on the first page (and they’re usually junk!) Thanks for your write-up on this, Martin.

    Google has really been sucking lately…not only with the similar searches junk, but I get the impression that their search results overall are deteriorating in quality. I really need to make an effort to give alternative search engines a try…StartPage looks promising.

  11. berttie said on March 28, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    I jumped off the Google bandwagon a few years ago. Startpage finds what I’m looking for and doesn’t keep tabs on me, nor does it try to out guess me and tell me what *it* thinks I should know.

    1. ilev said on March 29, 2013 at 11:27 am


      “Startpage finds what I’m looking for ”

      StartPage doesn’t find anything. Google does.

  12. Yoav said on March 28, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    I find this innovation useless and annoying. Google is really shooting itself in the foot lately.

  13. Nebulus said on March 28, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    I wonder how Google is choosing WHEN to give you this new form of results, because it doesn’t happen on every search…

  14. GiddyUpGo said on March 28, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    Just block Google and use DuckDuckGo, or any OTHER search engine.
    I have for three years and do not miss Google.

  15. Marc said on March 28, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    Couldn’t space by saved with a collapsable list, similar to how show more results from a site works? Instead of replacing half of the queried search results!

  16. Marc said on March 28, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    For some time now I’m getting used to scroll results of the first three pages.

  17. Karl J. Gephart said on March 28, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    Five is pretty ridiculous. What has ticked me off even more is that, some time ago, Google has faded the coloring around the paid ads at the top, above the organic search results–no doubt, hoping to get searchers to click on the paid ads.

  18. Ficho said on March 28, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    I guess we should wait for Greasemonkey script to fix this stupidity.
    I already use 6 scripts to “fix” Google.

    1. joao henriques said on March 29, 2013 at 11:08 am

      i only use google monkey r, which do you use?

  19. boernie said on March 28, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    When searching for your term I get 4 actual results and 6 (!!!) more or less related results!
    Google is really starting to piss me off!

  20. Lisa said on March 28, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    key phrase: “Google again tries to patronize its users believing that it knows better what users want than the users themselves”

    I also notice I am getting more useless junk results in searches instead of less.

  21. sades said on March 28, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    Any way to disable this? without logging in with my google account that is.

    They’re starting to become more draconian now, makes even bing looks great!

  22. Oxa said on March 28, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    I stopped using Google about a year ago after a couple of years of frustration with the Google’s search results. I now use Startpage (ixquick). Google’s attempts to guess what you’re searching for are not only patronizing, but counterproductive.In my experience, they’re wrong 99% of the time. There was a golden period when Google was the search engine par excellence, but that ended years ago with their constant tweaking of the search algorithm and the presentation of the results.

    1. Matt said on March 28, 2013 at 11:23 pm

      Yep, I too get by just fine with Startpage, Ixquick, and DuckDuckGo for 90+% of my searches.

      1. Anonymous said on October 18, 2013 at 11:56 am

        Yeah fine but startpage is based on filtered google results.

    2. ReX said on March 28, 2013 at 7:14 pm

      Just did some quick tests with Startpage…
      It’s nice to finally find actual results that are relevant to the thing I was looking for, I’m gonna make the switch.

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