Monday, April 25, 2005

Observations on the inverse relationship between the number of search terms and the accuracy of Google's results

I've noticed in the past few months that the fewer search terms used with Google correlates with a more accurate search result. This is good and bad.

Example:

I needed some information on gout. The first result returned by Google (other than the unidentified ad) was excellent and provided all the information I needed. One search term, one good result.

I also wanted to know what bassline Adam Freeland sampled for his recent song "Heel & Toe". Well, so far I haven't been able to find it. I figure it's the White Stripes or Strokes or someone like that. But any combination of the six (or less) terms "Adam Freeland Heel Toe bassline sample" hasn't been any help at all.

To me, this suggests Google is getting the easy things right, which isn't very impressive, and the hard, obscure queries wrong. Someone out there must have identified the bassline sample and posted about it. Their engine can't seem to put together a large number of search terms to get an appropriate reply.