"Search. It's all we do. Test our results."
November 3, 2000 6:42 AM   Subscribe

"Search. It's all we do. Test our results." So, is that braggadocio... or insecurity? Given the spate of "how [they] scammed Google" pieces lately, I find the newest addition to their home page... interesting.
posted by baylink (12 comments total)
What spate? I know of one, discussed many places. Did I miss more?

I believe they mean "search for something and you will get what you want", which rather paradoxically, isn't something you necessarily come to expect at other search engines. Google IS great at finding something that is very appropriate to the search terms, especially given more than one.

I do still think there are reasons for using other search engines, and I do, depending on the type of search I'm doing. For instance, Infoseek/Go.com's "search within results" is very helpful, and Google has yet to implement anything like that.
posted by dhartung at 7:13 AM on November 3, 2000

Hmmm... I'd thought I'd heard of at least a second incident, something about medical reference... not Google?

And, on your second point, how is that unlike Google's suggestion to merely add more keywords?
posted by baylink at 7:21 AM on November 3, 2000

And how does one put Google's hyperbolic suggestion to work? Surely one could design a test that they'd fail; you'd think they'd have gone that one last mile to publish an example or three that showed off their ability to live up to that claim...
posted by m.polo at 7:31 AM on November 3, 2000

The second story, which was discussed on Slashdot, was about how Google's ranking of results appeared to favor Yahoo after the deal was announced between the two companies. A few vertical portals related to medicine dropped from the top 5 results of searches to substantially lower.
posted by rcade at 7:32 AM on November 3, 2000

I think they are trying to differentiate themsevles from other search engines which have tried to transform into portals.
posted by bison at 7:53 AM on November 3, 2000

You know what's interesting about that spoofing Google's technique bit (the first mentioned "problem" with Google)? One of the claims is that the spoofing site is wrapping links with "Incredible" and "the best site for naked pictures of X is here."

But Google's technology page doesn't claim to use the words describing a link. It never has.

Google ranks pages based on their popularity. If a "popular" page links to another page, that link is weighted more heavily than a link from a page that isn't as popular.

Also, if I remember correctly, the first incident regarding Google's "bad ways" has been rather thoroughly debunked on slashdot. I'm too damn lazy to go searching for the thread though.

I did, however, think that there was information from Google's PR dept. regarding both these accusations, but can't find anything about them in the About Google section. Curious.

As it stands, if you only rely on one search tool, you end up doing more work than is necessary. Google's a damn good tool, and usually my first stop, but I'll hit Yahoo! for their directory structure (it's currently larger than Google's) when I'm not sure exactly what it is I'm searching for, and occasionally hit AltaVista for a different set of results.
posted by cCranium at 8:02 AM on November 3, 2000

also, regarding searching within results, there's this from the google faq:
Since Google only returns web pages that contain all the words in your query, to narrow a search all you need to do is add more words to the end of your query.

which is how I've always searched within my results, at google or otherwise. I didn't realize it was a secret technique. :-)
posted by cCranium at 8:12 AM on November 3, 2000

forgetful this morning. closing a tag.

posted by cCranium at 8:13 AM on November 3, 2000

Of course, there is the problem with a maximum number of words being allowed in a search on Google; I run into that wall often (I believe it's ten). I sometimes need to do explicit searches using strings of up to 30-some-odd words or phrases. That's where search-within-results comes in handy.
posted by Mo Nickels at 8:20 AM on November 3, 2000

But Google's technology page doesn't claim to use the words describing a link. It never has.

It does use those words. On Cruel Site of the Day, I often describe a site using terms that never appear on the page. For example, I described the Sulabh International Museum of Toilets under the link Ancient Indian Ass-Washing Rules.

As you can see in Google, the first link for Ancient Indian Ass-Washing Rules points to the Sulabh museum, even though that term never appears on their page.
posted by rcade at 8:22 AM on November 3, 2000

Indeed. Thanks for the specific example, rcade; I was going to protest that assertion too, but didn't have an example to hand. They don't *say* that they use the contents of the link text, but I've had a Google employee tell me in email that they did, many moons back.
posted by baylink at 1:18 PM on November 3, 2000

Even more interesting: it's not there anymore.

posted by baylink at 5:21 PM on November 3, 2000

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