It is time to stop quivering in our boots in pointless fear of the future and just roll up our sleeves and build it.
- Ray Pierrehumbert

Thursday, August 9, 2007

How people search for data

I started typing IPCC into my Google search box. Firefox helpfully supplies a pull-down list of common searches to save on typing. (tech note: I'm not sure how it does this; it seems there must be some AJAX trick with Google?)

This time, only one suggestion appeared. It's a bit alarming; it seems to show a great deal about what most people doing web research think "research" means.


coby said...

Hi Michael,

I have no insights into where the data comes from, but wanted to tell you that my results are completely different, and not alarming. You can see them here:

Sparrow (in the coal mine) said...

My search seems fine as well:

Sparrow's screenshot

Michael Tobis said...

Yes, I see similar results on other machines. This one still offers "IPCC wrong" though it has also added "IPCC sea level".

Michael Tobis said...

I looked, and the top hit on 'IPCC wrong' is a BBC headline about the Independent Police Complaints Commission. So maybe this tempest should go back in the teapot.

I get a smattering of search hits on "(something) refuted" where (something) is eminently reasonable, though; most recently "tragedy of the commons refuted". I am sure that this googler was disappointed to read my summary of the whole climate change controversy.

James Annan said...

Sorry mt, but it's remembering YOUR previous searches :-)


At least, when I type something in the same box, I get my own previous searches first, and then suggestions below (which are clearly labelled as such)