Google Hummingbird is Intelligent Enough to Successfully Emulate Stupidity


Hummingbird is horrible. It aims to help out some users that seem to battle with the concept of using the internet, and takes the rest of us down with them.

One of the reasons I have started using other search engines more often since Hummingbird went live (Yandex is pretty good; I already said that Bing is decent enough) is that when I run a search query, it’s because I know what I want to look for. I don’t use a search engine like some sort of advisor to report back on what it thinks I want to search for, I want it to return a load of pages that contain my search terms on them. I want search engines to be STUPID.

Computers are stupid. They can perform many millions of calculations every second. This is because they are great being stupid VERY FAST. If you input a series of instructions to a computer (a program) that turn out overheat its hardware or nuke the hard drive, it’s your fault, as computers follow instructions to the letter.

Computers have all the sentience of a cow pat. It’s humans that make the things useful.

Let’s go back to search engines. I’m the USER. I run this. If I pick up a rolling pin, and decide to ram it into my own face, so be it. If I decide to roll out dough with it, that’s my choice. It is merely a TOOL. I don’t want the rolling pin to criticize my rolling technique. I don’t want it to suggest alternative flours to use. I don’t want it to do anything other than what I damn well please.

Google is becoming the super keen dog that fetches the newspaper and dumps it, torn to shreds and saliva strewn, at my disappointed feet. Eager to help, but too dumb to manage.

As one example, I’ve been trying to find information for Australian Expats moving to the UK, amongst other things. Certain search qualifiers just don’t seem to be recognised, such as:

Moving from Australia to the UK

FROM and TO are the really important bits. Google just gives me the opposite:


This is obviously just one example. It’s not fair to fly off the handle on the basis on one poor search – but it seems to be affecting the results of everything I search for.

Hummingbird is geared towards people that open up a search engine and talk to it. Seeing as even the most complicated of algorithms still rely ON BEING STUPID VERY FAST, it irritates me to distraction when my concise search queries, containing the words that would appear on a page that answer my query, now don’t return useful results because Google is so clever it’s now intelligent enough to be dumb. I must coach it along, give it a hand, and construct actual prose so that it can go about interpreting my intentions. Incorrectly.