Search Engine Complexity Illustrated! (only not quite)

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Search Engine Complexity Illustrated!.

A student in a class I’m teaching put this under my nose yesterday.

Thanks L.B.!

I’ve seen this before and thought it was quite good. It is, of course a gross oversimplification. Google is quite secretive about how it does searches (they have long been on the leading edge of how to do this), but I think having a better understanding of how to do searches is essential if one is to be literate.

I used to teach a 3rd year data architecture course and actually devoted an entire lecture to “How to Search using Google”. The class invariably started off rolling their collective eyes, and by the time I got 15 minutes in, most were frantically writing down notes.

Since then the situation has become even worse because search engines like Google now tailor their searchs specifically for you. This means you are going to find more of what you like, but it also means you are going to find FEWER things that just might broaden your mind.


Fortunately, I’m not the only one who thinks this could be bad. Check out A Million Short

Imagine a search engine that threw out the web’s top one million sites and then searched what was left. Sounds insane, right? But that’s exactly what Million Short purports to do and the results are, well, interesting.

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