Google Blogoscoped


Google search results oddity

Milly [PersonRank 10]

Wednesday, November 16, 2005
16 years ago

40tude Dialog is a freeware newsreader. IFilters are plugins for various MS search tools. With the announcement of enterprise versions of MS's Windows Desktop Search (, I googled to see if anyone had written an IFilter for Dialog.

I tried [40tude dialog ifilter] and got "Results 1 – 10 of about 436,000 for 40tude dialog ifilter". 436,000! Now Dialog is good, but not *that* popular. Ah, but I see [filter] is being highlighted within the snippets. That's odd, at least. Plain wrong, it seems to me. Not showing "Did you mean: filter" message, or anything.

So let's strip out 'filter' from the results: [40tude dialog ifilter -filter]. That gives "Results 1 – 2 of 2 for 40tude dialog ifilter -filter", which is a shame, but seems more accurate.

Or let's try to force it to use 'filter': [40tude dialog "ifilter"]. Yep, that gives about the same "Results 1 – 17 of 17 for 40tude dialog "ifilter" " (the extra 15 are a bunch of spam duplicates from the Supplemental Result index).

Capitalising correctly makes little difference: [40tude Dialog IFilter].

Perhaps Google has a blind spot about the word 'ifilter'? Not so: [ifilter] shows "Results 1 – 10 of about 154,000 for ifilter" and almost all the top 100 are bang on topic.

So is Google deciding that if the number of actual results (2) is such a small proportion of those of a potential misspelling (436000), it will silently serve the wrong results?

Does anyone know what's going on?

Does anyone have other similar examples?

Does anyone have a tool to do indexed searching of 40tude Dialog's news database? ;)

(And how long before googlebot's crawling of this thread corrupts the results shown above?)

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

16 years ago #

I sometimes see that Google simply covers more terms than I enter via stemming, e.g. they search for "Franks" as well as "Frank". That's helpful most of the time, but not in your case. Maybe Google's algorithm goes like... "if there's just one letter difference ... [plus some other stuff] ... then search for other words too". Not sure, ...

Forum home


Blog  |  Forum     more >> Archive | Feed | Google's blogs | About


This site unofficially covers Google™ and more with some rights reserved. Join our forum!