Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Trivial GMail Bug

Previously, I posted details about a GMail bug: A Trivial GMail Bug. I tried now to see if the GMail archiving bug has been fixed but it still exists.

If you create an incoming GMail filter (e.g. delete all incoming emails containing the word cat), then send an email from the same account using the word cat, the following occurs:

GMail sends your email successfully, but moves a copy of your sent email to your trash folder instead of to your sent email folder. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Google's Audio reCAPTCHA: A Large Bug

CAPTCHAS enable computer programs to determine if a person or a robot is requesting access. Usually, it is desirable to block robots from accessing a program.

Some people are sight-impaired and must use audio CAPTCHAs.

If you want, you can hear Google's audio reCAPTCHAs by clicking any Blogger Comments icon, and then Audio.

Here is the large bug: 

If you listen to the Google Blogger audio reCAPTCHA instructions, they say: "Please type every digit (e.g. 1, 2, 3, 4) you hear". The problem is the visual instructions for the same audio reCAPTCHA are: "Type the words (e.g. one, two, three, four) you hear".

Should sight-impaired users type digits or words?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Google Advanced News Search: A Small Bug

If you go to and click Advanced News Search, a form appears with fields you can use to filter news results.

Two of these fields are:
 - Source (e.g. CNN, New York Times)
 - Location (e.g. California, India)

Google defines these fields here:

"In the Source field, you can identify a specific publication whose articles you'd like to see exclusively in your search results. Likewise, in the Location field you can specify from what geographic location you'd like to see articles."

This is the small search bug: The "Location" label is ambiguous. "Location" can mean the news stories occur in a particular location, or the news sources are located in that location.

Google's intent is that the publication sources are in a particular location.

To fix the ambiguous field labels I suggest these three fields instead:

 - This publication source:
 - Sources located here:
 - Stories occurring here:

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

On The Utility Of Google Search Results Metrics

Perform a Google Web search for [a]. Google displays something like this:

About 25,270,000,000 results (0.22 seconds)

What is the utility of finding 25,270,000,000 results?

If you display the default 10 results per Web page, you would have to click Next about 2.5 billion times to get to the last entries. At a second a page, that's approximately 80 years.

The number of results can indicate the popularity of a set of search keywords. However, I'm going to call the multi-billion results metric a bug because most search results are not accessible by users. 

Would an ice-cream shop list 25 flavors if it can really serve only the 5 most popular flavors?

Trivial Bug: Google Timeline Of News Articles

If you scroll down the Google News Web page, you can find this text:

"The time or date displayed (including in the Timeline of Articles feature) reflects when an article was added to or updated in Google News."

The trivial bug is that the "Timeline of Articles" feature no longer exists.