12 December 2007

Google's Pages From This Country

I do not know if anyone has noticed a significant change in Google's searches restricted to one country.

If you did a search on Google for "search engine new zealand" my site: Index NZ figured high on the second page. But if you did the same search from Google NZ and chose Pages from NZ, Index NZ would not figure anywhere in the searches.

The reason was that the search universe was restricted to those sites that were hosted in New Zealand. I have always thought this very strange, because I suspect that many New Zealand sites too opt to host on a server in the US because hosting costs there are much lower than in New Zealand.

But now Google has apparently changed its policy. A search for "search engine new zealand" on Google NZ with results restricted to pages from NZ throws up Index NZ too although the site continues to be hosted somewhere in the US.

I do not know whether this has anything to do with the fact that the url contains an "nz".

A search for "search engine India" on Google India throws up India Findouter as the sixth or seventh result, but if the search is restricted to pages from India, India Findouter does not figure anywhere. Evidently Google is still experimenting with the change.

Category: Google

22 June 2007

Wish List for Google Mail Alerts

I subscribe to 12 daily Google mail alerts -- one for each of the countries for which I run search engines.

They're a great way to keep track of what is happening in those countries. Certainly much cheaper than visiting all of them and more comfortable too -- no waiting for visas, no getting stuck at airports when someone decides to go on a strike...

There's only one problem. When I go on a week's holiday I return to find 84 Google alerts waiting for me. Since it's impossible to read them all, I simply delete them. Alternatively, before leaving for a holiday I go to settings and delete all the alerts and then reinstall them after I return. A great waste of time.

I could set a label and use that to delete all the alerts at one go. But I've always wondered why Google simply doesn't have a pause feature so that I can pause the alerts when I leave for an extended stay and restart them when I return.

Category: Google

12 June 2007

Google Mapping Error

It's nice to discover that even Google commits the occasional errror.

For some time, along with the search results, it has been returning the addresses of some urls, with a clickable link that opens a map right on the search page. But sometimes the address and the resulting map are incorrect.

Type "Hyderabad International Convention Centre" as the search term (without the quotes) and Google returns the url www.hicc.com as the second result along with an address. But the convention centre is in Hyderabad, India. And the address is: 205 S Barstow St, Eau Claire, WI 54701, USA.

A screen capture can be seen below.

Category: Google

27 May 2007

Google's Automatic Error Correction

Google's error correction seems to be getting more and more sophisticated. It still suggests alternative spellings occasionally. But where there does not seem to be any ambiguity at all it goes ahead and returns results after performing the corrections automatically. Sometimes it does both.

A look at my recent server logs is instructive.

If you type "Oman insurence group" Google asks whether you meant "Oman insurance group". But it still returned a page from one of my sites on the first page. Insurance Oman Middle East although the word "insurance" was not misspelled anywhere on the site.

Similarly if you type "martial art training center Pune" it returns the appropriate page Martial Arts India Asia although the page uses the form "centre" not "center".

Type "amusementparks united states" and it automatically realised that it should be "amusement parks united states" and returned the appropriate page.

Yahoo's spelling correction is just as good. But the quality of the results it returns is not so good.

For some incorrect spellings Google outclasses everyone else. If you type "Ibn Khaldoun school" it returns www.ikns.edu.bh as the first entry although the school is actually Ibn Khuldoon School. Yahoo does not return the url at all.

Category: Google

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