Thursday, 4 June 2009

The limits of Google

Had to share this. You have to feel sorry for the "punters" out there, including ourselves, trying to hone in on the information they/we seek. Recently, our blog was the second result in the hitlist produced on a search for "heroic quotes from Minerva". Well, of course our title is Minerva. And the report of our meeting on The white tiger does mention "hero" and the review of People of the book does include the word "quotes". Google very carefully put two and two together and came up with, well, not four in this case.

The trouble is that Google does not appear to use much in the way of proximity searching. After all, "hero" appeared in one post and "quotes" in another. The poor searcher arriving at our site must have been severely disappointed. You have to hope that if there are sites in which these words are closer together, they would have been listed ahead of us in the hitlist!

All this is to say that as wonderful as Google is (and I would hate to be without it), there is much to be said for good indexing and, more importantly perhaps, sophisticated search tools. Without them, searching the 'net is indeed a heroic activity requiring stamina, patience and perhaps, even, a little bravery...

(Photo:dannysullivan @ flickr)

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