Question: Does anyone have any advice, or know of websites or other resources that could inform me, on how Germans do web searches in their language?
Background: We have a search engine for large corporations that helps their employees buy items with the best discounts, and tweaking our search engine for English has resulted in complaints from German users (who where never really happy with it anyhow). We know what language a user speaks, so we can optimize searches differently based on the language used (and can furthermore sometimes detect the language typed in by looking in various dictionaries), but first we need to understand the German language, how it is put together, and what the users will expect us to do when they run searches.
Specifically, one of the big problems we think we are having is with compound words. When we started out, in most languages at least, we would match any word containing the word the user asked us to search in. This became a problem when carpet showed up in searches for car or pet, so we refined our search so it would just show plurals and stuff. That works in English because we have fewer compound words. It doesn't seem to work in German as well. We also don't know what else we are missing.
About me: I took three years of German in high school (20+ years ago), so I understand the basic grammar of the language and how it changes endings and forms compound words, but I can't really read it anymore (I adopted a child from China, so I've been learning Chinese instead), and now know just enough German to know that I don't know anything about German.
P.S. I'm not sure what tags this belongs in, so please fix if incorrect.