Just how deep is Google's hold on the minds of the world's netizens? So deep that if the web giant boosts a news story about Facebook and logins to the top of its search results, myriad net surfers will mistake the news story for the Facebook login page, wondering why they can't login to it and why it looks nothing like Facebook …
The problem's with the browser interface, not the users
I'm glad there are quite a few commenters saying kinda "that's just what normal people are like". But ISTM a shame there are no few of you expressing surprise, and contempt, for such normal people.
When we use something new and potentially difficult, we find a way to make it work that's reliable and rememberable and non-scary, and we continue to use it.
Most browsers nowadays have two little boxes to type into, up there at the top:
- In one of them, you can type eg "Facebook" and a link to it will appear.
- In the other one, you can't do that - plus, it repeatedly gets filled up with technogibberish that you yourself did not type and can't possibly understand (things like "http://" and "home.php?sk=lf" - indeed, often *completely* new gibberish entirely replaces whatever you typed). A normal user may have no idea whether it's safe just to delete this computer-generated gibberish or whether it might be important to leave it alone.
So, they stick with the box that works, that's "theirs", that's safe.
Those of you expressing surprise and contempt at how normal people are - I do hope you take steps to avoid any product design, or UX design or interface design, and indeed avoid being involved in any way in how software aimed at normal people works. I know you think you can do it (how hard can it be, after all, for a brainbox like yourself?), but your surprise and contempt says otherwise. (There's always Yet Another Compiler Compiler, which I'm sure you'd be great at.)
This is why we need an Internet Driving Licence
Some people are just too stupid to use the intertubes properly, and just like with cars, they need to be prevented from being a danger to themselves (e.g. giving away personal info) and others (e.g. hosting botnets).
Sorry, the problem *is* with the users
OK, so there are two text boxes in the browser, one that contains constantly changing gibberish and one into which you can type things and relevant links will appear. But that's still not an excuse for not knowing the difference between them, or when it is appropriate to use each one.
Non-IT analogy: the simplest sort of car to drive has two pedals, one to go faster and one to slow down. You wouldn't let somebody out on the road who didn't know the difference between these two pedals, or always used one and not the other because it was the one they were most familiar with and didn't know what the other one was for.
I'm reminded of a somewhat apocryphal story. An engineer, faced with a broken computer.
So he tested the power supply. The motherboard. He had every component out on the table, tracing lines and trying to fix the problem for hours.
His young apprentice came along, popped the back off of the plug, and replaced the blown fuse.
So, sometimes a little knowledge can be dangerous. It's alright being smug and superior, until it's your machine that gets owned. Demand a license for computers, and my machine will go the same way as the TV. Either that or I'll be using the thing illegally. Besides, your ISP's TOS is already an "Internet License". You fuck with the ISP or let your machine become a peadoporn-hosting bot, they cut you off - in principle.
As you can see, it works quite well!!!!1
Re: Sorry, the problem *is* with the users
See here's the problem with analogies: Your computer is not a car. Your router is not a house. The Internet is not a series of tubes.
Until you can show how I can drive my computer at 40mph into a crowd of schoolchildren, I think the idea of a license to use one will be somewhere between "idiocy" and "lunacy". You really think it'll stop boxes getting owned?
A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.
Lead by the Googles
People that navigate the web by following Google links really need educating about how to use it [the web] properly, no wonder they are so easily defrauded.
I avoid Gobble at all costs and even when I have to use it I copy and paste the address and if I'm going to buy something I'll look up the domain in whois as well.
"24. What have they done now. It's not simple enough for me to figure out."
Strange thing is, I'm getting that way myself...
In an office full of people who seem to spend more time on IT training courses than they do working, we set up IE on every computer with handy link buttons to all our intranet sites across the top of the browser window.
A recent redesign of the intranet home page had left out some links to important apps so this was a quick workaround until normality was restored. In the meantime, applications could be accessed as follows:
1) Click appropriate button
The preferred method seemed to be:
1) Start typing 'google' into the address bar.
2) Click the first search suggestion.
3) On the Google results page that appears, click the first link.
4) Realise that they're on a news page about Google, not Google itself.
5) Click Back button (for less savvy users, an alternative was to avoid the complicated Back button and start again from Step 1).
6) Click next link, which *does* link to the Google home page.
7) Type <name of intranet application> into Google search box.
8) Click first result that appears - some random page that has nothing whatsoever to do with our in-house built intranet apps.
9) Stare blankly at the screen for several minutes trying to figure out where the login box is.
10) If the random page happens to have a login option somewhere, attempt to log in using their intranet username/password.
11) Give up, phone support complaining about how terrible the new layout of the intranet app is, and how it isn't accepting their password.
There's a certain breed of otherwise intelligent people who, when faced with the daunting sight of a web browser, mentally descend several rungs down the evolutionary ladder.
This is all very funny, but can I get to my Google Zombies page now please?
Those of you expressing surprise and contempt ...
I would be one of them, if it wasn't for the fact that my site logs show that people frequently reach it by unexpected types of search queries.
One of the common ones is that people have set google as their default search page, so that it opens automatically. They have then typed my domain name, complete with preceding www prefix and trailing .co.uk suffix, into the google search instead of the address bar.
Those people clearly aren't aware of the intended difference between the address bar and a search query ... which in turn has prompted the various authors and ISPs to provide default settings so that both boxes can be used interchangeably.
In turn, it becomes increasingly difficult to persuade people that those two apparently-interchangeable boxes are intended for two different purposes, and that very occasionally but SOMETIMES, its best to use the correct one for the job.
Wow! Reading this story made me love Facebook
Till today, I thought we'd all be better off if Facebook didn't exist. Now, I realised that it is doing an immense service to the human race.
Just think what would happen if all those gibbering idiots were turned loose on the real world. As long as they are busy posting all-caps "lol" followed by innumerable bangs to each other's comment sections, walls or whatever the heck Facebook offers for profile visitors, the Earth is a much safer planet to live on.
Critics Not so fast
Ladies and Gentlemen
It seems to me that am lots of you out there that love to criticize!
Well maybe that make you fill god I don’t know, but you should look
Into mirror once a while you could be surprise what you see.
As for me hell? I am uneducated and ignorant in more then
One subject, however you most to have hear about old cliché?
It takes one to know one. So please stop knocking each other.
I have posted few articles on which I have put my name and
Email address because in regard to subject about I want those
People involved knowing who is posting and not hiding like
Some people I know. If you are telling truth there is no reason
to hide and if you are not telling truth you should be posting
anything to start with.
Good luck but remember that we all need help once a while?
@ ante seput
I am ignorant in numerous things. I don't know how to knit, for example. So I will just not knit. The alternative, the equivalent to the Facebook zombies, is for me to pick up the knit-sticks and randomly poke balls of wool in the hope that something happens...
At least we can agree on one thing - these people very definitely need help, and lots of it.
You might not, however, agree with my assertion that this story indicates Facebook users are as stupid as a wet tissue.
Re: @ante seput
It only indicates that those Facebook users are as stupid as a wet tissue, to be fair. I think yours is an extrapolation too far. But I know you know that, really.
Have you been sending me spam?
But seriously this story made me feel that humanity wants to be stupid, people seem to not want to learn if they can get away with copying, then when the goal posts are moved they wander around like the zombies in this story.
Maybe this is what Apple realises in its attempt to turn its devices into appliances like the iPad.
They approve all the apps to keep it simple and don't allow multitasking because some people aren't capable or inclined to learn anything more complicated than a TV remote control or more than the barest of barest of minimums they need to in their rush to use the device for what they really want to do - in this case, engage in social inanities with their mates.
Some people don't really want to understand what they're doing, they just want to do it. NOW!
A method of alien protection
load up thousands of large hard drives with logs from facebook and blast them into space, aliens finding them will be under the impression that there is no intelligent life on earth
Reg, I think you got trolled
Maybe a couple people were actually confused, but I have to agree with comment 507: "These comments are starting to look very anon. Is this on 4chan?"
"Haha - epic thread"
"leave signin alone"
"CAN IT BE FACEBOOK TIME NAO?"
"Toasting in an epic bread"
Guess if you're taking the long way round to reach facebook you might as well do it thoroughly and search for "facebook login" and not just "facebook".
Don't assume IT professionals understand the address bar either though. I asked someone to "browse to <ip address> on port 12345, https" and watched in horror as he typed in "https://192.168.1.2port12345".
reply to earlier post
>ROFL... the best bit of all is #
>Posted Saturday 13th February 2010 14:04 GMT
>The "Facebook Admin" who wrote "Please post your username and password here in the comments, and we will activate the normal Facebook for you". And plenty did. Some even posted (parts of) credit card numbers.
>(No, I haven't tried any of them to see if they really work)
Apparently FARCEBOOK caught on to what's going on, is monitoring the thread, and changing the pwds immediately to protect the L-users who post the info.
WAREZ MY WALL!!1!!11!ONE!!ELEVEN!! FAFEBOOK SUX!!!
CANCEL MY SCREEN NAME MOW I NEVER USE FAVBOOK AGEN!!!!
Facebook users are especially dumb...
I believe it. The amount of times I've had people ask, where's my new website I put it into Google but its not there, how do I get to it? Or I have given them links and they've come back and said that Google couldn't find that page!
Personally I blame the browsers, the cursor should start in the address bar, and NOT in the Google search box, or other search box. People just start typing, dumb people that is.
UHM OK CAN I SEE FACEBOK NOW???!
WHY is it All gray??!
DIs is stupid, non of thes peple r my freindS!
I dnt now who ANonymous coward is, why can dis person psot to my facebook?
y are u peple all complaining about ever1 not been able to login??! facebook changed it and now its hard to login ok! God stop havin a go jus cuz were not all compute geeks!! OMG!
this is why I hate humanity
Typing "facebook login" into google and clicking the first result (or "I'm feeling lucky") actually takes longer than typing facebook into the address bar and hitting ctrl+enter. Even typing facebook.com is quicker, and has the added bonus of taking you to the site you actually want to visit and not some other random site. (assuming the site you want to visit is facebook, the world's leading low IQ society)
Some people are so bloody stupid it's not even funny.
Can we have "retarded Zuckerburg" icon please?
From the time stamps i think we can scientifically confirm that there is indeed one born every minute, , well, every two minutes at least.
Now if only we can find an internet version of a cliff to have them all drive off following their sat nav.....
Oh my goodness!
It's worse than I ever could have imagined.
I now know
why GNU/Linux on the desktop hasn't been adopted more widely - most users can't find their arse with both hands.
I know there's some dim users, but after reading the comments on ReadWriteWeb.... well, I'm now amazed how many GNU/Linux users there are, considering the majority of internet users seem to inject anti-freeze into the back of their head between Facebook sessions.
What music do they listen to? or is it just a voice saying "Breathe in....Breathe Out"?
I did notice a lot of the clueless ones were older women - my theory is that they have difficulty learning new things, because a lot are locked in to a "Mother knows best " mindset & won't really listen when told stuff by younger people (especially males), plus they're often strangers to the concept of 'thinking' (as opposed to just 'knowing' ).
Re: I now know
Unfortunately, this is precisely your target market for the desktop. While I was selling computers to this same target market, I lost count of the amount of times I was asked for "a hard drive", meaning a PC base unit minus the peripherals.
Arse location skills of users or unsuitability of product and arrogant, unhelpful, unwlecoming and patronising attitude of the people who evangelise it?
Clueless older women
You mean the clueless older women that were busy raising you whilst you and your dad played about in your home computers and the like?
You mean the ones that cooked, cleaned and sorted your lives out?
No wonder they're 'clueless ones' - they were (and prolly still are) too bloody busy to get a chance to listen properly.
Sooooooo...maybe next time rather than disappearing into your Linux cave and let them do all the work you should take the time to do some of household stuff yourself and let your wife, daughter, mother, grandmother play about on the computer so they actually get a chance to learn how to use it.
...customers tend to not take kindly to being told that they are wrong. I did try my best though!
God I'm glad I'm out of that place. Now I just provide free tech support to friends and family - including a mother that, yes, is quite nice.
Staggering user stupidity becomes "Google is evil"? - Get a grep, Reg!
I know exactly why this happened
If someone has their homepage as google, it steals the cursor focus from the browser address bar.
This has been the single most annoying feature of search engines since their inception.
Take your average iliterate facebook junkie, and they wont realise the search engine has stolen focus, thus typing a website into google rather than the address bar.
Leave this problem un-remedied for decades and this is the reult.
I fkin hate that!
It's MY focus I put it where I wanted it to be WTF did you steal it for? Because you finished loading? That's fuck all of an excuse.
Bastard focus stealer. I WAS TYPING!
Doing the title thang.
All your facebook is belong to us!
...if ever there was that most users of Facebook ARE TOO F**KING STUPID TO USE A COMPUTER.
Try and be a little less commentards
And a little more tolerance.
Many people out there don't have any concept of a browser, or a URL. Why would they? It's fine for us geeks to laugh about this stuff, but we're used to it.
Lots of people I know refer to information "on the computer". They actually mean "the internet" but the concept is complicated - we just take it as 2nd-nature.
Fact is, putting "facebook login" into google is actually pretty smart - and if they're used to it being the right result, why wouldn't they get confused? Your standard user can't be expected to understand search-term heuristics, sponsored links, and optimisation for seach engines - they just assume Google knows (which is, after all, the message google sells them).
I have no idea how to fix my dishwasher, or how to replace the gearbox in my car - but I still use both every day. Perhaps all you people might want to consider that if users don't understand the concepts of browsers, websites, pages, SEO, etc, then perhaps it's us - the technologists - who've failed?
And learn to code a web browser...
So what if you can't replace a gearbox, nobody is asking you to. But if you are going to drive then you have to have a reasonable level of competence in how to use it.
Stop icon because if you can't use the gearbox then you won't be going anywhere.
BTW I can't write a web browser either so does that mean I shouldn't web browse?
So, you put gasoline in your dishwasher then?
Or, do you put your clothes-basket in the washing machine when you use it?
Do you often drive on the wrong side of the road?
If you're too stupid to know that www.somethingthatlooksnothinglikefacebook.com is not facebook then you're a danger to yourself and others (phishing, trojans) and should not be using a computer.
Too many people are wilfully ignorant of computers and expect to be able to use them without having to learn how any of it works. If you didn't need a license to drive these people would be killing others left, right and centre.
Don't be so absurd.
Drivers should have licences precisely because cars kill people. Computers don't (in 99.99999% of circumstances) kill people, so why should I need a licence for one?
Plenty of people can't work VCRs or even TVs. In fact there's a lot of non-techy people who don't know how to use a mobile phone properly.
There is no reason why users should ever have to understand what a URL, TLD, IP address or port is, so in 99% of cases they shouldn't have to care about what's in the address bar. If browsers were designed properly, they wouldn't need to use an address bar at all.
I sure hope that your tech-centric arrogant and frankly unfriendly attitude is kept well away from the design and implementation of any system that users are likely to use.
If Google went offline...
...it would be the perfect test of how internet savvy you are because most of the people who have www.google.com as their homepage would suddently be hopelessly lost, leaving everyone else in fits of laughter because they know about bing, altavista, yahoo etc. searches and they wouldn't rely on GMail for their email.
I'd absolutely love to see how the world would react to 24 hours without Google. It would be the the PERFECT April fool joke.
Monkey see, monkey do . .
Lets be honest. Pretty much everyone uses a computer these days, but very few are interested in how they work etc. Some of these people, believe it or not are actually clever despite the fact (Borrowed from above) they
"mentally descend several rungs down the evolutionary ladder"
I deal with very clever people (in their field) all the time and the stuff they come out with when faced with a PC is mind boggling . . . but the ability to use a browser to navigate the web vs performing open heart surgery aren't even in the same league in my opinion when it comes to rating intelligence! And one of those requires years of training to do correctly . .
.. However the problem is when these same people choose to write comments like the one's in the article, I bet the majority of them reflexed after 20 seconds of not being able to get into what they thought was Facebook posted on where-ever the posts came from!!
If you don't know much about something, that fine, I don't require people to give two sh1ts about computers, but they should accept this and ask for help, or spend the fifteen minutes required to learn how to use a browser. (accept some responsibility)
Immediately posting comments like the above really does make these people look unbelievably arrogant and stupid. I know very little about my car, beyond driving it and the odd tinker here and there so I would never berate an expert in that field with choice language when it doesn't work once, as I may discover it is something I had done that caused the problem!!
That would really make me feel stupid!!
Admittedly I maybe up skilling the nation a bit here by saying they are all of open heart surgeons, but there was a point in there somewhere!
indeed, you haz bin trolled
Did someone REALLY go to the ReadWriteWeb website, mistake it for the Facebook login, and leave a snotty comment?
Well, maybe - but just 12 comments in, we have (as you quote):
"I just want to log in to Facebook - what with the red color and all? LOLLLOLOL!!!!!111"
That's from 'Frederic Lardinois' (who has the good grace to include his picture)... But Frederic Lardinois is "a Writer for ReadWriteWeb, joining the team in June 2008."
So, after a goodly bit of extra fun, fueling any apparent sense of confusion, we have John Gruber, Digg, and probably the whole of 4chan on the case....
"ZMFG!!1! Look at al thes st00pid Facebook usres cmmnetnig on this news story!!1!!!"
By about the 20th comment, it has become clear that the mischief-makers are in full swing, adding ever more dorky-looking 'comments' of their own. Eventually, the Readwriteweb article is, indeed, top of the Google page rank for 'Facebook login' and we have a 'story' about bewildered Facebook users hammering the comments section of some little-known on-line news website. Great. We all like a good story about how utterly stupid the rest of the human race is, because it reinforces our belief in the fact that We Really Aren't Suckers, Ourselves, doesn't it?
This is Bill's Fault too !
Dear Bill Gates,
you made it "easy" for everyone to use a computer. Now we have to read this. Shame ! Shaaaaaaame on you ! You owe me a new set of eyes and some brain cells.
Rodrigo E. Rollan
PS: Like Homer Jay Simpson once said "If you haven't noticed, I am being SARCASTIC"
Gods, it's like the Daily Mail in here. You guys feeling superior enough yet, or do you reckon you can find even higher horses?
For pity's sake... So some dimbulbs made fools of themselves on a website. You act as though it doesn't happen every day.
By the way, have some of you doing the mockery here seen your spelling? Yeah, I know: it's taboo to criticise spelling on the Interwebs because expression is more important than presentation, blah blah... But just to make the point: in the days not so long ago when spelling *was* considered important, half these comments would be ridiculed in much the same way as we're ridiculing the people we don't think are as clever as we are.
The Internet is open now. It's not the exclusive stomping ground of a handful of academics and computer scientists any more. There are stupid people online because there are stupid people in the world, and more of the world is now online. But there are also ignorant people, mistaken people, and otherwise very clever people who nevertheless don't know much about computers.
That a handful of impatient angries couldn't work out what they're doing or where they are might provide a reason for a bit of mickey-taking, but it doesn't give us a logical foundation for these wide-angle scatter shots at everyone who's ever accessed a social networking site or used a search engine as a shortcut if it happened to work that way.
WHERE IS FACEBOOK WHY DID THEY MAKE IT ALL RED AND WHATS WITH THE NEW NAME IT SUCSK
Go and read the article about how much google makes from people who mis-type things in the address bar of their browsers. Then consider the amount of mal-ware distributed from these "typosquatting" sites.
Going to a site you know (ie google) to safely navigate to another is not that stupid an idea.
Reading the comments on this page gives a clear impression of just how arrogant and out of touch with real people most I.T. professionals are.
I am not "Out of Touch"
Now, before the name-calling begins, would you might letting me know exactly how an "It Professional" is excluded from the set "Real People"?
Are we "Irrational" I don't think so.. (maybe we like to jump onto bogus news and laugh like hyenas, but, so what, we imagine FB users are doing exactly that with slightly more inane things, but have too few friends to check it out for ourselves, leave us this, please)
Perhaps we are "Natural", and it is you "Real" people who are the abberations.
In fact, we might be the "Imaginary People".. the people who actually do things you take for granted.. people must work for FB and Google.. I wonder what their names are..
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