Monday, 1 August 2011

Bruce Charlton Sacked and the nature of Google fame


Looking at the prompts on Google searches, and leaving aside the contamination from a famous Golf Course designer with the same name, my distinctive fame rests on either being sacked from the editorship of Medical Hypotheses, or from having a Blog.

But the ranking of results in Google is done by humans, not by algorithms, and the rankings are rather strange.

Typing Bruce Charlton produces an immediate prompt of the words 1. Newcastle (1 380 000 results), 2. Sacked (912 000) and 3. Wiki (1 400 000).

Why is sacked second when it has fewer results than Wiki, I wonder - and what the heck does 'Wiki' mean in this context?

Then typing Bruce Charlton and simply adding a space gives a slightly different ranking of prompts - why?: 1. Newcastle (1 380 000), 2. Blog (2 070 000), and 3. Sacked (912 000).

I cannot understand why adding a space should change the prompts, I cannot understand why Blog only appears after adding a space, and I cannot understand why Newcastle should appear above Blog.

Considering that some human being did this, I just don't get the underlying rationale - it is not algorithmic, it is not based on distinctiveness, it is not random - what is it?.