Friday, June 25th, 2004

Google Results DO NOT Assist Dismal or Lazy Journalism


Search Engine Watch editor Danny Sullivan posted an interesting thread in the new Search Engine Watch forums yesterday. It seems Danny was interviewed by FOX news in their attempt to prove the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) had an anti-American bias. The evidence used by the FOX journalist was that there are 51,100 sites related to the keyword phrase “BBC Anti-American” listed at Google. This sort of statistic is available to anyone as Google displays the approximate number of sites in which keywords entered by a searcher can be found in the upper right corner of search results. Problem is, as an analytic tool, this stat is absolutely useless. The only reasonable inference one can make from viewing this number is that there are approximately 51,000 websites that contain both of the words “BBC” and “Anti-American”.

A handy tool for lazy journalists or those who simply choose not to figure out how search engines work is Google Fight. This tool allows users to enter two competing keyword phrases. Just for fun, let’s test “BBC Anti-American” against “Fox Anti-American”… BBC had slightly more hits with 51,100 results against Fox’s 50,300 results but as the numbers tell, the count is very close, maybe a bit too close…. A quick note to the Department of Homeland Security. Check out that Robert Murdoch fellow or his Fox News employees, Bill O’Reilly and John Gibson. Not only would that be fair and balanced, there just may be something there… Just a thought…

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