Monday, September 14, 2009

All 4 search engines fail for a simple currency-involving query

I was on a webpage with the price of a Kodak AIO. I selected the price, right clicked it and chose the Search Google for... option. My intention was to get the current conversion for this price (written in US dollars) in Indian rupees. Google failed - it didn't consider $129.99 as a special query that merits some smarter results (in addition to the usual ten blue links).

Disappointed, I went to Wolfram Alpha. It made the mistake of choosing Singapore dollar as the default interpretation for the $ sign, but that's a smaller mistake - it did bring up many currency conversions, which would've nailed my problem, had the interpretation been correct.

The key idea here is that I, as a user, shouldn't have to conduct multiple queries, or perform adjustments to my queries, to get results for simple queries such as $129.99. It's Google's duty to detect these more-meaningful queries, and - perhaps based on my IP address or my Google Account information - show me some intelligent results related to currency. I can obviously type convert $129.99 into indian rupees into Google to get the answer, but that takes so much time and effort.

Google failed even when I tried to provide some help - $129.99 in rupees - while Wolfram Alpha once again did better, although its interpretation was incorrect again., Bing and Yahoo all failed as badly as Google - no point in giving their screenshots (they are all considering $129.99 as a meaningless text-string, instead of a meaningful value).

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