Sunday, August 12, 2012

An Interesting Observation About the Google Search Algorithm

In my never ending quest to make my vim editor as perfect as it can be, I was doing a quick query to determine if exuberant ctags had the ability to interrogate tag files in distinct locations, or if it needed all tags to be present in one huge gargantuan tag file.

So I did a quick search in Google:

"aggregate tags vim exuberant ctags"

I found a pretty interesting article with tons of helpful information in it. After scanning though it, I think I was convinced I had the answer I was looking for. But then for some strange reason, curiosity made an impromptu appearance and asked a sequence of two very simple questions...

"Does this document even contain the word aggregate? Why is it ranked so high relative to this query?"

So I thought about it and did a quick search in Chrome (Command + F on Mac), and to my surprise, the word aggregate was nowhere to be found. Want to guess what I found instead? Words that make up the definition of the word aggregate, or are similar to words that do so. Words like "one", "big", "global",  "all", etc.

Based on these results, I could only conclude the following...

Google's search algorithm will not only literally search for a word contained within a document, it will also search for words contained within the definition of that word.

Not that I care what the realists of the world think, but I'm sure (as many may point out when coming across this post) this information is publicly available somewhere and probably no secret to the search experts of the world. That being said, I don't spend a ton of time analyzing the idiosyncrasies of the Google Search algorithm. So yes, I did ignorantly go out of my way to write this post irrespective of the aforementioned givens. I'll bet you there are thousands more that aren't even aware that this feature is potentially embedded within Google Search, and at least they'll get a quick glimpse of it all upon hitting this blog. Naturally deriving something is something I've always viewed as an accomplishment; even if someone else has already done so. It always feels good, and it feels even better when you can blog about it.

At any rate, neat stuff by Google, and pretty cool on top of that.

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