Google Blogoscoped

Wednesday, May 7, 2003

Most popular sites according to Google

What are the most popular sites according to Google? E.g. the ones most people link to?

Enter the following search in Google, as it returns quite interesting results:


What we find are things like the “Download Acrobat Reader” Homepage (or Flash, Apple QuickTime, and so on).
Google itself turns up in the number 1 spot. I’d almost think this is nearly identical with the most visited pages on the World Wide Web today (but actually, it’s giving far too much weight on plug-ins needed to view a web page, since the links to those pages are on so many sites, independent of their content).

Note that the pages themselves do in general not contain the term www.*.com (such as, but rather, the links pointing to the page contain this term. When you click on the cached version of the result page, Google indeed tells you: “These terms only appear in links pointing to this page: www * com”.

So here’s the complete top 20, as of today

  1. Google
  2. Adobe Acrobat Reader - Download
  3. Macromedia Shockwave & Macromedia Flash Player Download Center
  4. Apple - QuickTime
  5. - RealPlayer is now RealOne Player
  6. Internet Explorer Home Page
  7. Yahoo!
  8. Microsoft Corporation
  9. - News & Information Homepage
  12. ODP - Open Directory Project
  13. Sun Microsystems
  14. Lycos Home Page
  15. FirstGov – Your First Click to the US Government
  16. My Excite
  17. Home Page - ZDNet
  18. Netscape 7.02
  19. Encyclopædia Britannica - the online encyclopedia you can trust
  20. Welcome to HP

You can vary this with e.g. country-specific queries, such as the following:


“De” stands for “Deutschland”, which is Germany.
This will bring you to such popular sites as Spiegel Online, Die Bahn (the German railway system), Yahoo! Deutschland (German Yahoo!), or (the German Amazon). And from my experience, these are indeed some of the most-visited sites in Germany.

Google Cartoon

Actually, I think I have enough keywords now to consult Google.

Google Answers Researcher Interview with Missy

Here is part 2 in my interview series with Google Answers Researchers, featuring Missy. She was the first to win the Google Answers Researcher of the Week award, and one of the first Researchers to sign up and answer for Google Answers. At the time being, she answered nearly 400 questions. Her personal and professional style won her some regular customers who come back asking for her advice.

Note: This interview is approved by Google Answers, but does not in any way represent Google’s views.


Where are you from?
Toledo, Ohio

What’s your profession?
Domestic Engineer!! Or, less formally, full time stay at home mother of two very rowdy little boys. The pay is pretty miserable, but I love my job!

What’s your age?
32, feeling like 82

Got a homepage? Where?
I actually have a couple, but my personal page is located in the domain I share with my best friend:
I have a webcam, too, but I always forget to turn it on!

Missy-ga on Google Answers

When did you become a Researcher?
I submitted my application the day the public Beta launched, on April 18th, 2002. I answered my first question a few days later, on April 24th, 2002.

How did you find out about Google Answers?
My best friend was a member of the original in-house staff (he’s now mostly with Froogle). He thought I would be good at this sort of work, so he encouraged me to apply.

What do you like best about answering for Google Answers?
There are a lot of great things about answering for GA. First and foremost, I have the opportunity to further my own education, and get paid to do it! I learn something new every single day. I also appreciate the flexibility. It’s important to me to be involved in my children’s school activities, and I love knowing that if I want to spend the day chaperoning a field trip instead of working, I can do so with no hassle and no begging a boss for time off.

Would you consider taking this up as full-time job, provided the question volume would be high enough?
Absolutely! I already do put full time hours into the project (50 or more per week!), but it’s often time spent searching for something to answer. I’m looking forward to a boost in question volume!

What kind of question subject you usually like to answer?
I consider myself a generalist - if it looks interesting, I’ll answer it. That said, I love cooking questions, but those are pretty scarce.

In one sentence, what’s the trick to a good answer?
Patience and attention to detail.

What would be the new Google Answers slogan, if you were responsible to create one?
“Ask a little question, get a thorough answer!”

Which Researcher would you take as guide on a dangerous island?
I’d take Chromedome. He just finished cooking school, so at the very least, we wouldn’t starve.

Missy-ga’s Favorites

What are your favorite research tools and websites (please include browser and text editor you are using)?
For most searching, I use Google. The trick to finding relevant information is using the cached pages - you can skim down to your highlighted search terms and decide in just a few seconds if the page is worth reading.

I also maintain a personal library, online access through the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, and the occasional perusal of Lexis-Nexis. I don’t hesitate to pick up the phone to call people with questions, either.

My browser of choice is Mozilla 1.4, with tabbed browsing enabled and Mouse Gestures installed. Depending on the expected length of an answer, I compose in either Notepad or Word. I’m afraid my bookmark stash is much too long to list here, but I will say that it includes,, the Library of Congress and several dozen “Useful Links” collections.

What are your favorite websites and newsgroups?
One of my favorite websites ever is I’m also found skulking around,,,,, and about a dozen forum sites.

I’m a regular poster to rec.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan, an occasional poster to, and longtime lurker on news.groups and several net-abuse groups.

I will just suppose Google is your favorite search engine (right?). Do you remember which one you were using before, and why you decided to switch to Google?
I used to use AltaVista, but it was sooo cluttered and unhelpful. Then my friend Mike mentioned Google in RASFWRJ [rec.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan] one afternoon in ’99, and I tried it out. And loved it. And never went back to AltaVista!

What are some of your favorite questions & answers by others?
There are so many excellent answers out on the boards on any given day, that it’s really hard to keep track of them all. One of my favorites, though, was written by Rico about wedding toasts. I directed several family members and soon-to-be family members to it just prior to my sister’s wedding, and it saved us all a lot of uncomfortable silences at toasting time!

Another one, written by Digsalot, discussed point by point and very thoroughly certain misconceptions about the Islamic faith compared to Christianity. Although he eventually asked for removal because the customer didn’t like it, it still remains a favorite because it was so well written and handled a very touchy subject professionally.

What are some of the questions that were really a lot of fun answering for you?
Very early on in my tenure as a Researcher, I was asked to explain what an “upper labial frenulum” was, and what it did. (Stick your tongue up between your upper lip and the front of your teeth. Feel that little ridgy thing? That’s a bit of connective tissue called a labial frenulum. Neat, no?) The question was quite intriguing, and I really enjoyed writing the answer up for my customer.

I also had the chance to explain why worms don’t die when the ground they live in is hit by lightning. It might surprise people to know that my son assisted on that answer — he sent me his favorite science bookmarks, including a detailed page about lightning.

What would be a fun $200 question for you to answer?
I just answered it recently! Qpet, one of our regular customers, asked for a series of “A day in the life” sketches. The question and subsequent follow-up took several days to complete, but it was great fun to choose a style of narration for each time period covered. I got to exercise both my creative writing abilities and my curiosity.

Missy-ga’s Spare-time

Got any weird hobbies?
I like to cook, read voraciously, and experiment with variations on the classic Margarita. I’m also told I make a mean chocolate truffle.

What was the last book you read, the last movie you saw, and the last album you listened to?

Do you know some other Researchers in Real Life?
I do. I knew Anlon and Cerebrate from long before Google Answers — I met them on RASFWRJ [rec.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan], and both have been to visit me. I was also fortunate enough to meet Aceresearcher when my family and I went to visit Anlon in February!

I’ve spoken on the phone with Omnivorous, Larre and Webadept, and am looking forward to meeting many more at the party I’m hosting for the Researchers over the 4th of July weekend.

Final words by Missy-ga

If you’d write a book about your life, what would be the first sentence?
“My life has been quite an adventure.”

Anything else you’d want to add?
Happy Finally Out of Beta to all of our Researchers, and many thanks to everyone for making Google Answers a lively and interesting job!


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