I'd heard that Google had been experimenting with reducing the number of results to a page, but I hadn't actually seen it for myself. Now however I have - and rather wish that I hadn't. I was looking for a particular software game that was produced years ago, and the graphic shows you the search and the results:
Now, there's a fair amount to be said about this. I'm only getting 4 results that match my query. Actually, it's less than that, because the last result from the 4; 'Green battleground' didn't include the word Talon. Actually, it's less than that, because the third result doesn't contain the word 'battleground'. So out of the 4 results, 50% are incorrect. We then have a line break, with "Results for similar searches" listed for me. Why does Google assume that I'm interested in similar searches? Particularly since the searches they've run for me are not accurate. 'Wargames Empire' and 'Empire war games' are totally different, despite a vague semantic similarity.
What's really annoying is that if I go onto page 2 of the results, I carry on with organic results from my first search, and I do get the information that I was after. So, not only does Google know what I wanted, it retrieves what I wanted, then insists on showing me results that it knows are inaccurate! I am therefore forced onto the second page - where I get shown more adverts!
Now, you might well say 'Use the Verbatim tool'. For those not familiar with it, the verbatim tool tells Google to stop trying to think for itself and do as it's told, by finding all the words on the pages it returns. That doesn't actually work though, because the results that I'm getting back don't include all 3 terms - several pages are missing one of the 3 terms! So that's not something that works either.
This is really the absolute worst that I've seen Google do myself, though I'm familiar with other examples of Google totally messing up a search - who can forget Karen Blakeman's Coots and lions post! I really am almost entirely lost for words - just when you think Google can't get any worse - it does! Well, I shall go back to sensible search engines, and leave this one to fester some more.