Say goodbye to Google Search portals for Linux, Mac and more

Numerous vertical search tools have been deactivated without notice, drawing ire from dedicated users.

Fans of Linux, Microsoft and Macs used to be able to search for information about those topics on Google using specialized search tools that narrowed the results to a focused set of highly relevant Web sites.

Earlier this week, however, it was discovered that Google has pulled the plug on many such specialized search portals -- including Google.com/linux, Google.com/microsoft, Google.com/mac and Google.com/bsd -- redirecting users to Google.com/webhp instead.

Also eliminated by Google were Google.com/unclesam and USGov.Google.com for government-specific information searches.

'Better Off Using the Search Box'

"We are no longer offering specialized search services at google.com/linux, google.com/microsoft, google.com/bsd, google.com/mac, google.com/about and google.com/unclesam," Google confirmed in a statement provided to Search Engine Roundtable on Monday.

"These services were established many years ago to offer search across a limited index of the Web, which in the past was a better way to find this information. For example, google.com/linux was designed to help people find information from message boards and blogs about the Linux operating system," Google explained.

"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, for example by typing [linux fedora upgrade]," the company said.

'A Serious Mistake'

The news came as a great surprise to many Google search users, however, as could be seen over the past few days on a Google Web Search forum.

"Google Uncle Sam is a critical search feature," wrote one participant, for example.

"I consider the decision to remove Uncle Sam search a serious mistake and very bad public relations," wrote another.

'I Personally Apologize'

Combined with the lack of advance notice, in fact, users' dismay even prompted an apology from Google.

"I personally apologize for our poor communication regarding the termination of Uncle Sam search," wrote Google Search Product Manager Rishi K. on the search forum. "We should have done a better job communicating this in advance, and I apologize for that. In the future, I'll make sure we find a way to do better."

Google also directed disgruntled users to its Help Center for more ways to restrict searches in topic- and site-specific ways.

Loss of an Advantage

In addition to dealing a blow to users accustomed to relying on these topic-specific search portals, Google's move could also shift an advantage to services like Bing-based search.usa.gov, as one forum commenter pointed out.

Search Engine Land has also noted that vertical search tools may be even more useful and important today than ever before.

I'm especially sorry to see the end of the Linux search tool. Have you used any of the ones that have been eliminated? Will this change affect the way you search? Please sound off in the comments.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags searchMacLinuxhardware systemsdesktop pcssoftwarenon-Windowsoperating systemsinternetsearch enginesMac OSGoogleMicrosoft

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Katherine Noyes

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?