Updated: 24/9/05; 10:43:53
 Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Google's Top 10 Gaining Queries
Week Ending May 6, 2003

     1. x-men 2

     2. kentucky derby

     3. cinco de mayo

     4. mike price

     5. jerry nadeau

     6. muttertag

     7. formula 1

     8. sarah kozer

     9. vappu

   10. miss elizabeth

There's something about the allegation that weblogs exploit their incestuous linking to gain an inflated prominence in Google search results that doesn't ring true with my own experience as a Google user. Perhaps it's just me or the search terms I use. So I thought I'd do some background research. Google very helpfully publishes a regular update on the most popular search terms. I used the list of the top 10 gaining queries for the week ending May 6th and looked at the top 10 search results for each looking for the occurrence of weblogs in the list. I defined a weblog as a reverse-chronological series of posts by a single or multiple authors. Basically, you know a weblog when you see one. By using Google's own list of popular search terms I knew I was searching using the kinds of popular terms used by large numbers of people.

Interestingly, with the exception of the 8th most popular term (sarah kozer) where a weblog came in at 10th place, not a single weblog was in the top 10 of any of the other terms. This can't be correct I thought. So I looked at a couple of other terms. I chose 'turtles' as Andrew Orlowski used it as an example in his piece for The Register. No weblogs. So I chose a few other current hot topics, 'SARS', 'human cloning', 'what's on TV tonight' and 'Britney Spears'. No weblogs, or at least none that I saw. I can't claim that I closely inspected all the search results though I did spend longer on the last search ;-)

If we can conclude anything from these informal tests of Google then perhaps it's that we get a little bit more realistic about the prominence of weblogs and the danger that they'll in some way diminish the quality of search results.

There is no doubt that depending upon what you search for you will of course get weblogs in your search results. A search for 'Dave Winer' shows little but weblog results but hey, Dave's a weblogger so what do you expect? Also, by searching for terms that are the attention of the communities of practice that I discussed in the preceding piece then here too I expect to find a prominence of weblogs in Google search results. But that's what I think the Internet is so good at, creating communities. And thank goodness we have Google to help uncover their richness.

Posted 12:44:24 AM - comment []