28 October 2009

Google Is Not As Smart As It Thinks It Is

Google doesn't always find what you want. I searched for the Illinois State Archives at Google just now and this lovely map came up with the address and the phone number (which are correct).
The problem is that the link Google brought up (which is purple in the image) first (right next to the map) isn't the Illinois State Archives website. Google wants you to think that it is. It's a site with affiliate links (which are fine), but that doesn't get me where I wanted to go, which was the state archives site. And of course, many of the links take you to places other than what you were looking for in the first place.
Of course, as soon as I clicked I realized I was in the wrong place and went back to get to where I really wanted to go (one of the links UNDER the map). The thing is, I knew what I was looking for, new genealogists don't.
Google is not quite as smart as it thinks it is.
I'm not opposed to people making money, but this site came up first because they optimized their page for Google. It was NOT a fluke. They knew what they were doing.
Always pays to check before you click. And to think.