Google Kills Uncle Sam Search Portal

Jun 6, 2011 • 7:53 am | comments (16) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine
 

Google Uncle Sam Search LogoOver the weekend, it appears Google has dropped the specialized search landing page for searching U.S. federal, state and location information at what they called Uncle Sam Google Search at google.com/unclesam.

Now if you go to google.com/unclesam you are redirected to google.com/webhp.

A Google Web Search Help thread has searchers asking about where it went. Some are devastated saying, "Google Uncle Sam is a critical search feature." Another searcher said, "I am a big fan of the google unclesam. This is disappointing if it is gone."

Google has yet to comment but the type of redirect Google is using for google.com/unclesam is a 302 redirect, which is a temporary redirect. I am not sure if that means this is a temporary change or a bug or permanent choice of Google - but I guess time will tell.

Google has had Uncle Sam search way back when Google was a baby company - I believe as early as 1998. In fact, the logo for that search portal was not the one above but rather this one:

Uncle Sam Search Original Logo

In 2006, Google relaunched a government search tool at usgov.google.com and kept the Uncle Sam search but now both are redirecting to Google's main home page.

Forum discussion at Google Web Search Help.

Update: A Google spokesperson has confirmed removing this vertical search feature and has given us a statement:

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. 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. 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]. We understand that some users were surprised by this change, so we apologize for not communicating more clearly in advance of redirecting these services to google.com. For more advanced search tips to restrict your search to particular sites and kinds of information, we recommend taking a look at our Help Center.

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Comments:

Richard E Furlong

06/06/2011 11:06 pm

sad. why google?

Barry Schwartz

06/07/2011 12:57 am

I have updated this story with a comment from Google, see above.

Phone Source

06/07/2011 07:22 am

We need a clear connection to the federal government because we are the stakeholders.  

William Smith

06/07/2011 09:34 am

That’s not good news for Google! Hopefully this would turn out as a temporary change.   Regards, William| http://www.joomladesignservices.com

Jasper1

06/07/2011 03:15 pm

an alternative: search.usa.gov

Rick_Robinson

06/07/2011 03:30 pm

Jasper1 beat me to it. search.usa.gov is, by my measure, a great alternative / replacement.  The team that built the search tools - and continues to improve them - has a long history in consumer search applications so they know what people want, and what they need. Yah, I'm pumping them because I like the team, but more-so because the products are d@mn solid.Find out for yourself at http://search.usa.gov and if you have specific requests, comments or ideas please send them to USASearch@gsa.gov. Another cool advantage is the burgeoning Affiliate Program https://search.usa.gov/affiliates -- Want your own search? Get it there free.

Lisa

06/07/2011 06:16 pm

Why, Google? Odd. Maybe they have something else to release?

P

06/08/2011 05:14 pm

one step backwards for google  i can understand  the ideal of dropping apple searches but the rest  bad news.

Erobson

06/09/2011 02:56 pm

ARGH!  I'm a sales analyst in the Federal division of my company and one of the less-fun aspects of my job is to search through THOUSANDS of line items and end users each day to locate the orders that should be credited to my sales teams.  When half the end users come is an bizarre acronyms, Google Uncle Sam is (was) my best buddy.  For instance, "MVIS"... when I Google it, it turns out that it's a NASDAQ traded company and there are a gazillion hits.  BUT if I search on "MVIS military" turns out it's an acronym for "Motor Vehicle Information System".  This is the type of extra work Google Uncle Sam allowed me to avoid.  Sure, it only takes a few seconds to do a second search, but when I'm doing upwards of 100 per day, doubling those actions is a hassle.  PLEASE BRING BACK GOOGLE UNCLE SAM!!!

Swick

06/14/2011 02:25 pm

This is a real impact to the users in the community.  Now you have to dig thru pages of results to find something that used to be on the top page. I don't get it.

Miihama

06/16/2011 01:13 am

Oh my god. I loved google unclesam, if it were not, I coud not have finished my thesis. Now I have troubles to find proper information about the government activities. Please come back, unclesam! 

Sterling Whitehead

06/16/2011 07:27 pm

Dear Google -- bring it back

Andy

06/29/2011 05:20 am

search.usa.gov is a good alternative.  Uncle Sam Search is also a good alternative that uses a custom google search engine.

Andy

06/29/2011 05:22 am

oops! Link didn't paste correctly http://www.unclesamsearch.com/

Guest

08/27/2011 09:33 pm

This really occurred because Google stands to make a lot of money creating custom government applications with the new cloud first mandate and other directives. Why would google keep a free tool when the can charge millions for code they already wrote?

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