Sunday, May 30, 2010

Some Large Google Image Search bugs

Here are some large Google Image Search bugs.
Bug #1: Page Rank for images

In Google Image Search, run this search:
ice cream. The first results page displays 9 out of 20 images containing ice cream cones.

In my opinion, other types of ice cream probably sh
ould have equal or higher page rank:
  • ice cream cakes
  • ice cream bars
  • ice cream sundaes
  • ice cream sandwiches
  • ice cream shakes
  • ice cream scoops
See my earlier post: Is Google Page Rank supposed to be objective?

Bug #2:
Incorrect image exclusion operator

Exclude vanilla from your ice cream search results by entering these keywords:
ice cream -vanilla.
Here are the results:

The first row incorrectly contains mainly vanilla. The exclusion operator should exclude, not include, vanilla.

A similar bug appears if you try to exclude chocolate.

Try this search: ice cream -chocolate. Here are the results which is a bug:

The results incorrectly display chocolate.

Try this search to exclude cones: ice cream -cone. Here are the results for the first two rows of images..

The bug is that 7 out of 8 of the highest ranking images contain cones. Cones are supposed to be excluded.

The image search exclusion operator bug not only fails to exclude, but it may tend to have the opposite effect by emphasizing what it is designed to exclude - at least for the images with the highest page rank.

Friday, May 21, 2010

SSL Encryption Is Now Available For Google Search Keywords

Previously, I wrote a post describing the security and privacy issues that may arise when using clear text Google queries: Cyber oppression and the problem of clear text search engine keyword requests.
A Google R&D post has now announced that Google searches can be encrypted using SSL: Extending SSL to Google search. Google's new SSL-enabled Beta site is here:

My suggestion: Currently, when a user clicks a cached snapshot link in Google's search engine results list, a URL displays that contains in clear text both the 1) website URL, and the 2) user's search keywords.


Search keywords: [ski equipment]

An example clear text URL of an arbitrary website clicked from Google's new SSL-enabled search results:

An example clear text URL of the related cached web site clicked from the same
SSL-enabled Google's search engine results:

Google's cached website versions often are not up to date, and they usually do not display an entire web site. However, some users may prefer viewing them to reduce the chance of
governments, ISPs, and other potential eavesdropping entities from tracking their website visits.
It would enhance the security and privacy of these users if Google encrypted the URLs it displays for its cached web sites.

Here is my SETI research:

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Small Google Web Search Options Message Bug

Here's a small Google search options bug:

Run any Google search - say, for volcano. Click Related Searches -> Nearby -> Custom Location. An empty edit field displays and under it the following message appears:

"Sorry, we couldn't understand . Please try another location."

Here are reasons this is a bug:

1. The message should display after, not before, the user enters a value, clicks Search, and Google doesn't understand it.

2. The anthropomorphic "Sorry, we" may be considered a small bug: 1) Google doesn't have to express regrets, 2) why is Google referred to as a plural "we"?

Would Microsoft Windows display a message such as: "Excuse us, but we could not open your dialog box"?

3. There's an incorrect space between the word "understand" and the period.

My suggestion is to improve the message by changing it to something like this:

"Good afternoon. This problem can only be attributable to human error. Please try another location."

Here is my SETI research:

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Small Google Advanced News Bug

The Google Advanced News web page Author field provides this example: e.g. John Smith or "John Smith". The trivial bug is that the two suggested searches are not equivalent.

The first query runs this search
author:John author:Smith and finds news articles that have John Smith, John, or Smith as authors. The second query runs this different search author:"John Smith" and finds news articles that have John Smith as an author.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Small Google Calculator bugs

Here are some small Google Calculator bugs.

Bug #1:

The Google Calculator results of these arbitrary calculations include a space instead of nothing or a comma:

32 * 128 = 4 096

33 * 27 * 8 = 7 128

44 + (7^4) = 2 445

The reason it's a trivial bug is that a user may copy and paste one of these results into another equation and get an error because
Google Calculator inserted an erroneous space.

Bug #2:

If you perform a Google Calculator operation, under the computational result Google displays a link asking you whether you want to search for documents containing the terms you entered in the search box.



((823^2) * 5) / 9 082 = 372.896388

Search for documents containing the terms (823^2)*5/9082.

You might expect the suggested search to return documents containing the calculation:

However, if you click the link Google Search runs this erroneous query:

823 2 * "5 9082"

Google threw away the "^" and "/" operators, probably changed the "*" multiplication operator to a string wildcard operator, and for unknown, spurious, reasons it changed 5/9082 to an exact phrase by surrounding it with quotes.