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Google Search is trying to help you, even when it can’t

Google is rolling out a friendly new message, designed for those rare occasions when its hyperactive search engine can’t summon what you’re looking for.

Instead of the usual ‘sorry mate, nowt to see here’ Google is actually dishing out some helpful tips on what might actually yield better results next time around.

The long-standing phrase that has simply informed searchers: “Your search did not match any documents,” (while coldly suggesting correctly spelled, different and more general keywords) is going away, Google says.

In changes coming into play this week on all Google Search platforms, the company is telling users that the results its bots have surfaced might not be relevant to your search, rather than simply presenting them to you anyway.

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“It looks like there aren’t any great matches for your search,” the company will tell users, alongside a number of tips, including revised phrasing of the search query. Where relevant Google might advise users to search for “cake recipes” instead of “how to make a cake.”

Makes sense, right? Suitably patronised yet? Well, on we go…

Google is bringing this change to the US initially with rollouts scheduled for other territories moving forward, but there’s no word on when that might be.

In a blog post Google says: “…we’re rolling out a new message that lets you know when Google hasn’t been able to find anything that matches your search particularly well. While you can still go through the results to see for yourself if they’re helpful, the message is a signal that we probably haven’t found what you’re looking for.

“When possible, the feature will also provide some alternative searches as well as tips on how you could reformulate your query to better find the information you seek.”

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