Beset by the world covered by the couch surfer and idle wild. The people, hoi polloi, have gotten lazy.

I should know. I'm one of them.

Praytell, fellow thee, when did the world of programmers turn their collective keyboard crunches on Stack Overflow instead of the overlords o' Google?

'Twere it the lack of Google's ability to return a single answer?
Or mayhap the answer finds itself in the reliability of Stack Overflow?

migrated from stackoverflow.com Jan 30 '10 at 0:31

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

  • According to Google's history, I average over 20 searches a day... And those are just the searches on computers where I'm logged into Google. Pretty sure I don't hit SO's search that often... – Shog9 Jan 30 '10 at 0:51
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    You don't only search programming stuff at first place. Also, when googling we tend to do multiple queries until we find a decent website. This does not apply to SO. Finally, his question doesn't apply to most SO users, but to a growing group – samuelcarrijo Jan 30 '10 at 0:58
  • I think it's the reverse: I Googling but SO is always among the first ones. – Calmarius Oct 17 '13 at 11:21

If I'm looking for info on a specific problem, I've often done site:stackoverflow.com <search terms> in google. It seems to give a deeper keyword trawl than SO's inbuilt search. (I believe this is because SO's search is only titles/tags?)

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    SO searches the content of posts as well. But Google has made theirs off of knowing search inside out. – random Jan 30 '10 at 1:25

I believe SO is usually easier. Google results are an automated attempt to answer your question, and being automated, he may not understand it very well, or may not bring the best results, or even, there may not be the exact answer out there.

When you post to SO, you don't have to try to find something similar, and spend time trying to get if that page answers your precise problem. You have a real human, and expert reading it, and understanding it (most of the time). His answer will specific for you, so it will probably be better.

Additionally, when you post to SO, it already searches within the site for a similar question, which is somewhat like googling in SO =).

I myself go to SO if I think I probably won't get a decent answer quickly through Google (a very specific question, for example)

  • Assuming you have an account on another one of the trilogy, you may want to associate this account with it. – Brad Gilbert Jan 30 '10 at 15:29

I don't, necessarily. Some of us do, sure, but the whole point originally was, I thought, to make search results from search engines like Google to show StackOveflow as the best answer.

So if that's working, people search for their questions and then wind up on Stackoverflow as a result.

Later, people being learning animals, they come here to begin with.


I would answer with another question:)

How many times have you googled a question for 5 minutes, and then given up?

I see Stackoverflow as the place where you can ask your programming question if googling five minutes just does not help (the five minutes criteria is just an example; I suppose some will search more or less than that).

I think that's a very interesting question. Google might not be the right solution for complex questions. And Stackoverflow is a possible solution: the famous "human-powered search engine" (better than mahalo, though, because more focused).

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