Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Seek and Ye Shall Find…Maybe

The Search function in Second Life has always come in for its share of gripes. In the old days, one’s ranking in Search was determined at least partly by your Traffic score, a figure obtained from how many people visited your land and how long they stayed there. When maturity ratings were added, there were plenty of cries about how Search handled (or did not handle) Adult content. One’s Search results could differ markedly depending on whether you searched in a specific tab, or in the All tab, and spelling and punctuation had to be precise.

I never had too many problems with Search, though, until the latest and greatest Web-based Search function found in Viewer 2.6 and later.

Some of my gripes are minor – it takes more mouse clicks and opens more intermediate windows to get to where you want to go, and it’s slower than the old Search. But I have one really major problem with it: I can’t find newbies.

It’s important to be able to find people in SL. For example, I had a new resident rent an apartment from me yesterday. I got the notice from the rental box when she paid it, and a little while later I went to Search for her name so I could send her a welcome IM and an invitation to our tenants’ group. But, surprise! Search returned no result. I finally had to log out and log back in with Phoenix. In that viewer, Search found her instantly.

Hmph! It’s all well and good to add spiffy new features to our virtual world, Linden Lab. Is it too much to ask that while you’re doing so, you don’t break the stuff that’s already working?

UPDATE:  We're finding out a little more about this problem.  It's beginning to look as if Search eventually finds newbies, but very, very slowly.  And in the meantime, it gives you that misleading "no results found" message.  Bleah.

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