Do you use Google as your address bar?

Yes, I know you’re typing “http://www.mywebsite.com” into Google search. I know because I get reports of the search terms people use to get to my site, and half the time those search terms are simply my web site address.

Don’t worry, it’s not your fault. Computers are hard to understand, and requiring you to know the difference between a browser address bar and a search web site is not fair. Really – I know plenty of people who are very intelligent and straight-thinking, who don’t necessarily know all the finer points about surfing the web.

I don’t want to condemn or ridicule you, I want to educate you. I know it’s annoying to have to learn new things, especially when it doesn’t seem to be relevant to what you want to do, and especially when you don’t have any problems right now. But this is a problem, and it has the potential to bite you quite hard later on.

Point #1. It’s not necessary.

Your browser has an address bar, don’t be scared of it! You don’t even need to type in all the cryptic “htppxyzzy//:” stuff – if you type “facebook.com” your browser will work it out for you.

Sure, there’s nothing wrong with making Google your default open page. But it’s a web search tool, it’s for searching the web. If you already know where you want to go, just type the address into the address bar.

For those of you who use Chrome, there’s even less need to type stuff into Google search: the address bar doubles as search input if you type something that doesn’t resolve to a valid address.

BUT:

Point #2. Google gives safety warnings.

Google has, for a short while now, watched out for sites containing malware and other nasties, and marks these sites with a prominent warning in search results. This means that if you accidentally mistype an address, Google Search will usually protect you from accidentally getting redirected to some fake phishing site which will take your username, password, identity, and children’s children to the fourth generation.

This is a good thing.

BUT:

Point #3. It will not always work.

Sometimes (quite often, in fact) the results that Google returns will change. That’s the nature of search – great swathes of content on the web changes every single second – and expecting Google to always return the same results, in the same order, every day, is like expecting UBD to never update their street maps from their 1967 edition and complaining that half the suburbs are missing.

This fact caught out quite a few people earlier this year, who were in the habit of logging into Facebook via Google: http://theappslab.com/2010/02/11/these-are-our-users/

SO:

Should we use Google Search as our address bar? If you use IE, maybe. If you use Chrome, no need.

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About Jeffrey Kemp

I’m a Christian, a husband, a father of three, a database programmer and a pianist. I enjoy programming, playing with technology, losing wrestling matches with my kiddies, and long drives to visit the farmers-in-law. My favourite edible substance is Iced Coffee. I also blog about Oracle-related topics at jeffkemponoracle.com.
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