Google Books - search results confuse reviewers with authors


Google Books is one of many projects that Google has forgotten about. There's no support available and, of course, it's impossible to send them a bug report. The best anyone can do is write a ranty blog post and hope it gets noticed.

When I search for my name in Google Books, it returns books I have reviewed. These aren't books that I've written. They don't mention, quote, or cite me. My reviews don't appear on the dust-jacket. Google has got confused.

Here's an example.

Go to the Google Books Advanced Search Page - marvel at how it retain the old Google logo and looks like it hasn't been updated since the early 2000s!

Google Books Search page. It looks old and outdated.

When I do a search for "Terence Eden" - these are the results.

Google Books Search Results page.

I have reviewed both Terry Pratchett's Discworld Imaginarium (excellent) and Good Data by Sam Gilbert (terrible) - but that's my only connection to them. If you go into the results in Google Books, you won't find my name at all. It's not like Google adds my reviews into its service either.

This has been a problem for at least four years.

As I scroll through the results, there are several books which do mention me (thanks authors!) but loads which are just picking up my review.

To get an idea of the scale of the problem, here's a search for my name in books published during the last few years. Nearly every result is a book I have reviewed. None of those books contain my name.

Now, earlier I said it is impossible to report bugs to Google Books. That's not quite true. Last year I contacted them on Twitter. They said:

*sigh*

Perhaps their pivot to AI will fix their towering pile of bugs?


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3 thoughts on “Google Books - search results confuse reviewers with authors”

  1. says:

    @blog this is nuts! I listened to a Verge podcast last week that talked about how Google hasn't really come up with new innovations, it just buys other people's ideas then doesn't do a great job with developing and supporting them.

    Reply
  2. says:

    @Edent Google Scholar has similar problems. I have two pieces with the same title (both encyclopedia article type things) and scholar just conflates them. There is, as far as I can tell, no reasonable recourse to get scholar to change this.

    Reply

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