Sunday, January 17, 2010

More on 'Googlegate' and 'Climategate'

I knew something didn't smell right with the article by Lawrence Solomon (my yesterday's post).

Here's a better searched article on the issue by Danny Sullivan in December 2009, which I got from a LRC Blog post by Walter Block:

Of Climategate, Googlegate & When Stories Got Too Long
(12/1/2009, Search Engine Land)

Reading the article, I know now that:

1. It all started with U.K. Telegraph's James Delingpole when he found out that his colleague's article on 'climategate' disappeared from Google. Lawrence Solomon's article didn't even mention any of that.

2. If you search with +climategate to eliminate possible synonyms and alternative spellings, the result is different (see below for more).

3. The particular article by Delingpole's colleague got too long (1.3MB in HTML in December - that's huge for HTML) because of the rapidly expanding comment section that it was automatically dropped from Google News.

4. U.K. Telegraph had attacked Google in the past for showing its stories.

5. If you type the article title in Google regular search, it does show up.

6. As to 'climategate' not suggested with Google Suggest, it may be that, if not enough people are searching the term on that particular day or hour, Google Suggest doesn't suggest 'climategate' when you type in 'cli' or 'clima' or whatever. (Or it may be more personal; if you don't search that term often enough, Google Search won't suggest. More later.)

Now, let us try the qualified search +climategate (the entire word) on Google and Microsoft's Bing, and Yahoo and compare the results:

Google: 9,270,000
Bing: 286,000
Yahoo: 21,900,000

Or using the exact phrase search "climategate":

Google: 9,270,000
Bing: 57,400,000
Yahoo: 6,520,000

The winner, if just look at the search result numbers, is actually Google. Exact phrase or the entire word as is, in this case, shouldn't make any difference.

The articles that come to the top today:

Google: (top) Climatic Research Unit hacking incident - wikipedia; (2nd) Climategate: the final nail in the coffin.. - Telegraph U.K.
Bing: (top) Climategate Document Database; (2nd) Climategate: the final nail in the coffin... - Telegraph U.K.
Yahoo: (top) Climategate| Anthropogenic Global Warming, history's .... (2nd) Climatic Research Unit hacking incident - wikipedia

As to Bing's high number (57 million) when you search with "climategate", my guess is that the search engine picks up any article, any site out there that contains "climate" and/or "gate", whereas Google may pick up only "climategate" the scandal. Who knows. I don't. As I said in my previous post, I don't use Bing for my daily search.

Top 3 search suggestions that come up when I type "cli" today:

Google: clip art, cliff note, climategate
Bing:, clip art, clint eastwood (now that's funny)
Yahoo: clip art, kim clijsters, clinique

Top 3 search suggeestions that come up when I type "clim" today:

Google: climategate, climate change, climate
Bing: climbing gyms, climategate, climate change
Yahoo: clima, climate change, climb

So much for Solomon's article that I posted yesterday, which now looks to me like a rather uninformed smear piece on Google. His conclusion, "The bottom line? Google is as inscrutable as the Chinese, and perhaps no less corrupt. For safe searches, you’re best off with Bing", is simply absurd. There is no bottom line here, but his own flimsy conclusion from cursory observation or from emails from his readers. I am happy to know Mr. Solomon finds Bing excellent for his search, but no thank you, not for me.

How he can say Microsoft's Bing is safe, I have no idea. If the search engine is safe because it returns all the results that contains 'climate' or 'gate or both when you look up 'climategate', I have to infer that "safe" means "useless".

And shame on me for not researching further first.


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