The College Humor video below is NSFW, contains some profanity and mild sexual situations, but we’re posting it here because not only is it amusing, but it is an interesting insight into the relationship between users and search engines.
People struggle to find the “magic” set of keywords to describe their information need. As we first mentioned back in 2007:
In their paper entitled “Beyond the Commons: Investigating the Value of Personalizing Web Search,” Teevan et al. state that, “Web queries are very short, and it is unlikely that a two- or three-word query can unambiguously describe a user’s informational goal.”
Simply put, it can be difficult for the user to accurately express what he or she is looking for with just a few words. Even with many words, depending on the type of query, it can be difficult to express what is ultimately desired from the results, regardless of whether the user is an expert in the domain or not. How many times in real life, speaking with real people, do people need to employ many words, over many sentences, to express a thought or need?
As a result, people will often ultimately end up fumbling and guessing with their search engine, which is humorously displayed in the video below.