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.