Sunday, 6 December 2009

GoogleClimateGate

Another interesting side story to climategate, is the supposed strange behaviour of the Google search engine in not proffering links to climategate articles in its auto-suggest option. Many climate warming web pages are suggested as you type c-l-i-m-a-t-e, but as you continue to type g-a-t-e your options shrink, when upon after typing the whole word, you are left with two suggestions.

Once you hit the enter key to start the search, it returns with currently almost 31 million results.

Conspiracy theories regarding this are popping up on various blogs, even suggesting Google is censoring the word from its auto-suggest database. But is it?

Comparing other search engines for the term "climategate" shows varying results.

Google: 30,900,000 results (No Auto-Suggestions)

Bing: 2,400,000 (Typing climate gives a/s climate-gate, more typing makes a/s disappear)

Ask: 9,124,000 (No Auto-Suggestions)

Yahoo: 31,700,000 (No Auto-Suggestions)

So it seems that auto-suggestions for climategate don't work on a number of search sites. It would be interesting to note just what algorithm is used to create auto-suggestions and find out why climategate doesn't come up.

However, if you type in t-i-g-e-r c-r-a-s-h, searching for info on the very high publicity crash outside the golf star's home which has about the same lifespan as climategate, you also don't get any auto-suggestions. However, press enter and the search engine returns 41,400,000 results.

So conspiracy theorists can sleep safe in their beds: there is no conspiracy. Either Google is doing some maintenance to their auto-suggestion system, or it takes time for search results to become available in the auto-suggest window.

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