Google Pulls the Plug on Uncle Sam
From Government Computer News:
Saying that search technology has made some specialized tools unnecessary, Google has discontinued operation the Google.com/UncleSam tool for searching government websites....
"Today, search quality has advanced tremendously, and based on our analysis we've found that in most cases you're better off looking for this kind of specialized information using the regular Google search box..." Google said.
Government marketing maven Mark Amtower, in a blog post on the subject, says Google doesn't understand what it did. In response to Google's assertion that users can now find all they need in a regular search, Amtower writes: "WRONG!!!! Regular searches include all the non-government sites we were able to filter out through the use of www.Google.com/Unclesam. ... You don't understand the nature of our searches and you are WAY off base."
I tend to agree with Amtower. I was dismayed when I tried searching Google Uncle Sam last week only to find it was gone.
It was the ability to filter out non-governmental sites that was the beauty of Google Uncle Sam. As a legal researcher, I valued being able to zero in just on authoritative government sources.
My colleague, Bill Ebbott, reminded me of a good workaround: limiting the domain name to .gov in a Google advanced search. The search results will include both federal and state sites, but the federal sites tend to display at the top for the most part.