Tag Archives: results

Intersmellar: Google

Google is fluid and ever changing. It’s always trying to improve itself. Yes, I’m talking about it like it’s a thing. It’s The Blob.

The way Google works in the now is not necessarily the way it worked in the before.

For example, one day I noticed that entering certain words would provoke a dictionary response on the top of search results.

Search: allegory

Response: a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one.

Hey. Thanks, Google. That’s kind of sort of useful if I’m in the mood for a dictionary type response. A little down-arrow is included so the box can be expanded to see things like additional definitions, word origin, translations, and even a cute little chart of “usage over time.”

Looking at Google.

Reviewing Google’s search results.

Then, yesterday, I decided to try the function again, this time for the word “interstellar.”

My God. It’s full of commercials.

The dictionary box was gone. Almost like it never existed. In its place was a box entitled Showtimes. Yes, that’s right, Google. Good job. Interstellar is also the name of a movie. You figured it out.

The right side of the page was also transformed. What used to be blank space was now essentially a big advertising poster for the movie. There’s a thumbnail photo, a series of reviews (it really is full of stars) and other info about the movie. A way to jump to posts on Google+ was thoughtfully provided, thumbnails of the cast and, last but not least, a section called “People also search for.” (This last one I like to call Who Gives A Shit?)

Very interesting, of course, except for that fact that none of this was what I actually wanted. Google excels at this.

I carefully checked the rest of the page. Perhaps tucked away in a corner of the screen there’d be a way to ask for the dictionary? Nope. Nothing.

It was almost as if the dictionary box had been erased. From existence. And magically replaced with Biff Tannen’s Pleasure Paradise Casino. Great Scott! This is heavy!

So what happened? Just like that alternate timeline (which Marty and Doc eventually repaired) Big Daddy Google has come up with a clever system of analyzing words based on money.

The proprietary Google algorithm looks something like this:

is search term a big money word, something that can be sold

if yes, show results_monetized()

if no and it’s a dictionary word show the dictionary_box() followed by results()

if no and it’s not a dictionary word, show our bastardized rip of a wikipedia entry followed by results() including a link to the real wikipedia page

I know this is complicated programmer-style pseudocode but that’s essentially how it works.

Sooner or later this will happen to every word in the English language dictionary and Google will cease to be a valid source of information and will exist only as a shill, much like a carnival barker on the midway. This process is known as the google stomp. Given enough time Google will have about the same meaning as a highway billboard that advises, “Eat at Joe’s.”

Spend $120 on a game and you just might win a piece of crap made in China that’s worth fifty cents. That’s a Google-sized bargain. This is our inevitable future.

Technology and continuous improvement. Is there anything better? Kaizen!

Aftermaths and Shit #AbyssPositivityDay

March 1, 2012, The Abyss Day of Positivity (as it came to be known) is officially in the books. Baseball fans will understand that the day is forever marked with an asterisk. Andrew Breitbart died and Rush Limbaugh’s “slut” comment was, at least for awhile, the #1 story on Google News. And Google’s new privacy policy went into effect.

For my part, the day was a mixed bag. There were some successes and some failures. That’s fairly typical output from me in the challenge department.

My humble overall goal for the day was to be “joyful” and remain positive for an entire 24 hours. Let’s see how I did by reviewing each item on my Top Ten list of ways I would be positive.
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Mississipi makes a great choice

Well, there goes tonight’s blog post. For once I’m happy to be sent packing back to the drawing board…

Mississippi voters have shocked the shit out of me and both sides of the controversial “personhood” issue. With 64% of precincts reporting, the measure was soundly defeated by a margin of 57% to 43%.

How refreshing to think of all the resources and monies that will no longer be expended fighting such a preposterous notion. Providers need jobs, children are hungry, and good people are dying because of a lack of access to health care. It feels downright decadent to forget all of that and instead turn our attention to philosophical matters and discussion of things like how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

For the record, as I’ve stated in the past on this blog, I’m no rabid abortionist. I consider most abortions failures of personal responsibility and planning. We’re becoming a nation of dumb people and we’re managing our reproductive organs about as well as we manage our checkbooks. I believe that abortion should be legal but with an extremely short window of opportunity.

However, to attempt to take the fight all the way to the moment of conception is clear lunacy and patently preposterous. Let us work to adopt a reasonable position based on sound science, a desire to cause no pain, and still maintain the rights of the individual in our state.

Good job, Mississippi. You done good.

Mr. Spock, where are you?

Scanning, Captain.

Tonight the Google Let Me Down
Sung to the tune of “Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down”

Tonight the Google let me down
Displayed results without my search term not around
An image search for “Spock” with nothing found
Tonight the Google let me down

So yeah, there I was on the Google. I wanted a new wallpaper, so I did what I usually do: Google Image Search (GIS) with the exact dimensions of 1920 x 1200 (which just happens to be my display resolution).

I have found that I can get interesting wallpaper results by omitting “wallpaper” as a term and searching images that just so happen to match the dimensions of my desktop. I like to be different I guess. (For my personal safety I keep “safe search” at moderate. If I set it to “anything goes” I’d likely be buried in porn, and that’s no good. Google is, after all, one of the largest purveyors of porn in the Universe. Or so I’ve heard.)

Being in a logical mood, I decided to use “Spock” as a search term. I was hoping to find results of a type never before encountered.

As usual, some of the results were representative of the search term and some were not. Also, as not, there was a surprising number of frisky images of women in bikinis. Now what do they have to do with Spock? Highly illogical.

Want to try the exact search for yourself? Click here.

I kept scrolling down the image results looking for a suitable wallpaper that I could meld with, but none really moved me. Gradually, however, I began to become aware of something. Spock wasn’t in very many of the results.

I took a screenshot of the results. By only page 5 Spock was strangely no where in sight. Four of the results in this shot actually pertain to Star Trek but no Mr. Spock. There’s a couple video game shots, a Robert Downey Jr., a sexy girl in a hammock, a jumbo jet, and a refreshing glass of Coke. I guess I have to ask, “Hey, Google! Where is the Mr. Spock in this equation?”

One thing is certain. I won’t be trusting my past or future to Google computations for time warp (beta).

Google is imperfect. Abyss will sterilize. Along with all the carbon-based life forms infesting the third planet of this solar system.

This is fruitless. Release the Corbomite!

Bill Gates and bikinis

Google Image Search for who?

Wha? Misleading headline? Oh, I’m so sorry about that. Yeah, sure I am.

So here’s the deal. Every morning at work before I start the day, I like to grab a new image from the internet and use it as my desktop wallpaper. Rather than going to wallpaper websites and browsing their wares, I prefer to search for images directly using a “Google Image Search.” (GIS.)

It’s easy and can be fun and bring lots of surprises. The way I do it is by going to the Google home page, like normal, and searching for a term, like “beaches” or “star trek enterprise.”

Then, on the left column, if click the “Images” link and it will automatically restrict the search to images that – somehow, someway – match your term.

And then, just for fun, again in the left column, I click the “Exactly” link under “Any Size” and enter the dimensions of my desktop. In this case, 1920 x 1200, and click the search button again.

The only other thing you need to know about GIS is the “SafeSearch” setting. By default, at least on my computer, is the “moderate” setting. This seems to equate to PG or PG-13. You can also set it “Strict” for (mostly) work safe images. And, of course, you can turn SafeSearch “Off” if you be loving everything the internet is capable of. (Personally I never use that setting.)

I think it goes without saying, though, that the SafeSearch system isn’t quite perfect.

So there I was at work using the above procedure (with the “moderate” setting) and I decided to try the term “bill gates.” I still don’t know what possessed me. Bill Gates??? I must have blacked out for a moment.

The results load up and I start scrolling down. There’s a promising wallpaper. It’s a classic Windows image that looks like a rock has been thrown through the screen. Very promising indeed. There’s also some Star Wars and the obligatory video game screenshots sprinkled in. This is about what I’d expect, except, perhaps, a little more Bill Gates?

Then, down around page 2, wait a minute. What’s this? Pictures of women. Pretty women. And lots of them. Hmm. I keep scrolling. The more I scroll, the less clothing they seem to be wearing. Bikinis seem to be trending. Holy shit! That one is practically naked!

I quickly scroll through all 10 pages of images. There sure are a lot of scantily clad women coming up for the term “bill gates.” Wow. I’m at work, though, and everyone and their momma can see my computer, so I quit the browser lest I get labeled as the office pervert.

Apparently Google and I disagree slightly about what is considered “moderate” in a SafeSearch.

I quickly reload my browser and type in “death star.” Ah. Much better. But what’s Uhura from Star Trek doing in there?

Curse you internets!

Great Google-y moogly

What are you searching for?

I’m just sitting around today killing some time by putting WordPress through its paces. I’ve been digging through my blog stats.

My #1 post of all-time, by far, is My list of top five angry songs. It is second only to the home page.

Curious, I went and messed around in Google a bit. I finally found that my blog is result #10 for the phrase: angry songs

Wow. If you think about it, that’s pretty good. And it must certainly explain why that particular piece of tripe is my #1 post ever.

Making the top ten results in Google means you are on the first page of results. That is huge.

I’m no SEO (Search Engine Optimization) specialist, but I have learned a thing or two in my travels.

Consider the phrase “angry songs” that I mentioned above. What is so special about it?

First, it is rather generic. In search engine terms, generic means something broad rather than something specific. If you have high placement for a specific phrase, that’s nice, but nothing to get too excited about. If you have high placement for a generic phrase, however, then it might be party time.

For example, right now, my little blog is the #1 result in Google for the search term: tweeturbation. One reason for that might be because I invented that word. (Sadly, though, that same Google search shows someone else invented it, too. And a bit earlier than I did. Is there no such thing as an original idea any more?) Unfortunately, that search term is extremely specific, so my #1 placement isn’t much to get excited about.

Another consideration is the popularity of the search term or phrase. It is no good being #1 for a search term if no one ever looks for it. Obviously “angry songs” must have at least some popularity or else my placement for that phrase wouldn’t make my post the most popular one I’ve ever written. This was, of course, entirely by chance and certainly nothing I ever planned.

Going back to WordPress stats I then displayed my my popular search terms. The phrase “angry songs” has been #1 six out of the last seven days. On the other day the #1 term was “angry songd.” (Most likely because “s” and “d” are neighbors on the keyboard. This shows the importance of misspellings, too.)

If I look at “all time” search terms “angry songs” is again #1 and about four times as high as it’s next closest competition “whatever happened to joaquin phoenix.”

From all this I surmise that two things are very important to my traffic. The first is having regular readers who visit my blog multiple times. To me, that is my bread and butter and is also the most meaningful traffic. That is the traffic that I really care about. But also, getting good placement in Google (and other search engines) for popular search times can really impact the amount of traffic my blog receives. Maybe one out of every couple of hundred random visitors will decide to subscribe or make a comment. Then I have a chance to convert them into a regular reader. If that happens often enough then the sky is the limit. 🙂

I also think posting every day is important, like it somehow keeps that snowball growing and growing. My stats have leveled out a bit of late so I’m hoping persistence will pay off.

Google loses relevance

Google, I have a serious question for you:

Why are you wasting my fucking time?

I don’t really have an answer to that, but my guess is that it has something to do with money. Doesn’t everything?

Don’t get me wrong. I like Google. I prefer it to Bing, which is inane on many levels. But lately I’m noticing some cracks in Google.

Today my particular beef centers around a simple multi-word search phrase. In this case, the phrase contains three words.

It is my understanding that Google performs “and” searches. For example, you want term #1 and term #2 and term #3. In other words, you want results that contain all three words. That seems pretty simple, right?

You can even go to Google’s “advanced search” and it Google spells it out for you there: “Find web pages that have all these words.

So why doesn’t it fucking work?

I came home from work today energized and ready to go on my next exciting blog post. It’s going to be about a serious topic of great social importance. After only a minute at the computer, though, I found myself feeling frustrated and dealing with search engine crap rather than spewing text about the topic at hand. I quickly deflated and my enthusiasm was gone. Google had stolen it.

I did my three-word search phrase and what did I get? Here are the top three results:

  1. A lame ass scraper site. You have got to be kidding me!
  2. A commercial web page that didn’t even contain term #1 – at all! I even checked the page source. Nope, my term was not there. This one just floors me.
  3. A “links” web page hosted on a college web site where my search terms were not even the primary focus of the page. There was a connection but it was a minor one.

Where are the relevant results, Google? Where did they go? I mean, isn’t that the single most imporant thing about Google? Isn’t that what you do?

By the way, Google. Out of curiosity I went and tried my humble little phrase in Bing. The results kicked your ass in relevance. I think I’m going to be sick …