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Thursday, July 17, 2003

Slate Digging Googleholes

Iconomy points us to this Slate-article on on Googleholes with the blasphemous idea that “Google may be our new god, but it’s not omnipotent”, further arguing that there’s...

I’d say it’s more of a Culturehole, if anything. Many people do want to find out about flower shops when they’re searching for them online. And Google is reflecting what’s happening online. There seem to be more pages online that talk about Apple-computers, than apple-the-funny-fruit. And the advanced user would use more than a single, context-free search term anyway. Slate says it:

“Search for “flowers,” and more than 90 percent of the top results are online florists. If you’re doing research on tulips, or want to learn gardening tips, or basically want to know anything about flowers that doesn’t involve purchasing them online, you have to wade through a sea of florists to find what you’re looking for.”
– Steven Johnson, Digging for Googleholes (Slate), July 16, 2003

Wrong. If you want to learn gardening tips, then go ahead and enter gardening tips. And there you get your gardening tips. Easy enough!

Google may not be omnipotent, though it’s coming closer to being omniscient. But it’ll most naturally never completely guess what you are looking for when you don’t enter a reasonable search query. Maybe some day it will be clever enough to ask back for some context. Entering “apple” would make Google ask: “Are you hungry, or just annoyed by Microsoft?”

French Military Victories

I suppose this screenshot has been “enhanced” by photo-retouching software: When you enter French military victories, Google returns... “Do you mean French military defeats?”

Yahoo to Buy Overture

First, they bought Inktomi. Now Yahoo announced an agreement to buy Overture, as reported by the SearchDay Newsletter. This means ...

”... Yahoo is fully securing the elements it needs to compete with Google in the search space. I would expect that by the end of the year, we should see fully Yahoo-generated listings, as opposed to the “Google-enhanced” results that Yahoo currently provides.”
– Danny Sullivan, SearchDay Newsletter

While the dust of the browser wars has long been cleaned away, the big Search Engine War is coming along strong, and MSN, Google and Yahoo will be the ones battling it out. And then there’s dark horse AllTheWeb getting deserved respect from the tech-crowd. Time to make your bet.


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