I realize that Larry Page is on a crusade to dumb down Google in order to compete more effectively with Facebook (exhibit 1: Google Search Plus Your World), but was it really necessary to remove Google Scholar, one of the company’s most useful services, from the search-options drop-down menu on search results pages? A couple of months ago, Google actually expanded the choices appearing on that menu, in a ham-fisted attempt to promote more of its services, but it deleted the Scholar option:
The menu is now a confusing mishmash of options to refine searches (e.g., Books, Photos) and links that whisk you over to landing pages for Google services (e.g., Wallet, Offers). But to get to Scholar, you have to click on the Even More link, then scroll down through a dog’s breakfast of obscure Google products, click on the Google Scholar link, and then (since Google doesn’t bother to remember what you were searching for in the first place), retype your keywords into the Google Scholar search box. What a kludge.
In addition to the drop-down menu, Google also lards its search results pages with two other search-options menus – the one that runs across the top, in that funereal black band, and the one that runs down the left margin – but you won’t find a Scholar option in those places, either. (I’ll also point out, just to emphasize the dumbing-down point, that the Images option now appears in all three places, though in the drop-down menu it’s called Photos and instead of bringing you to the real Image results it brings you to some lame-ass Picasa Image results. This is exactly the kind of of self-serving bloat that Google used to make fun of Microsoft for. We become what we hate.)
Promote Google Offers, and demote Google Scholar: if you’re looking for a symbol of the way Google has changed, you couldn’t do better than that. And, for the record, I’m not the only one whining about this. It’s a doggone donnybrook.
Larry, I beg you, put Google Scholar in one of those freaking menus. I don’t care which one. If you’d like, you can even add a fourth options menu down at the bottom of the page and stick Scholar there – alongside, perhaps, “Picasa Cat Photos” and “Google+ Celebrity Posts” and “Google Offers Daily Deals.”