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March 15, 2010

Google Book Search's Irrelevant Suggestions

You probably noticed that Google's search services show different suggestions. For example, when you type "us" in Google Image Search, the first suggestion is "us map". Typing "us" in Google Web Search doesn't return the same suggestion: "us bank" is more popular. It makes sense to restrict the suggestions to queries that are popular in each specialized search engine because they're actually relevant.

Google Book Search seems to be the only Google service that shows irrelevant suggestions. When you type "shak", the top suggestions are "shakira" and "shake weight", even if "shakespeare" would be much more appropriate. Obviously, Google uses suggestions from the web search engine and "Shakira" is a more popular query than "Shakespeare".


"Suit the action to the word, the word to the action." (Hamlet)

8 comments:

  1. Interesting observation! I'd like to see Google sort this out in the future.

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  2. Hey, this is Rajib. Your observation is really thought-provoking and minute as well as important to consider. Like in case of typing 'shak' as you have shown in the screenshot, typing 'word' does not suggest Wordsworth but 'wordpress' or typing 'george' suggests george washington instead of George Bernard Shaw or typing 'Da' shows david's bridal at the top of the query suggestions instead of Da Vinci Code. This shows that Google gives much importance to current popular topics rather than the old classic ones. However, in such vertical search queries Google may re-think it's query suggestions algorithm.

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  3. Or it could be that a lot of people are looking for books on Shakira and the Shake Weight...

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  4. @Tim:

    Of course not. The suggestions for Book Search are identical to the ones for Google Web Search. Try a few queries and you'll notice that they're the same.

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  5. Yeah I have faced it as everyone and I found it very funny sometimes and sometime annoying also. Specially when you try to search something with question like how to or what then very funny suggestions came and that's too funny and I really don't want Google to sort it out as it really give me fun.

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  6. I posted a comment then lost it. My latest novel, Birthing the Lucifer star can not be found on google, not yet anyway come visit me here http://publishitorbust.blogspot.com/ can't wait to find my book in the google search engine

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  7. Of course, Shakespeare wrote plays, not books...but I don't think that renders your argument invalid.

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  8. GoogleBooks should create citation capability for EndNote similar to what other Journal databases do.

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