wuthering thoughts
Another pleonastic blog. Diary of an insomniac. And I always lose my words beyond the second sentence.

Google Demography

Category: , , , , , By Suman Kar
Okay, buckle up for 'The Next Google Feature'! Google Search has a secret feature. Type in a country's name and the word population (enter, say 'US population') in the search bar and voilà -- Google snaps an estimate. The country name is hyperlinked to some site from where the data is scraped (for lack of a better word, and want of inside information, on whether Google actually pays these guys or not for getting the data). But this gets better when dig deeper. Have a look at the following screenshots and you'll get it:

Now notice the hyperlinks after the 'According to' text. Yep, they change! And the order and quantity of data and of course, if its not the CIA website, Google's offering you alternatives.

And what happens if you are all watered up? Yes, 'Pacific Ocean Area' works too, but this time again, the source is different. (BTW: area works for countries too, if you notice.)

I could probably go on, and make this post longer and longer still to a point where you'd give up reading. But the true WTF is I couldn't find any information on Google's Advanced Search help. Maybe, I didn't look hard enough ;)

The biggest disappointment of course is when you get smarter. (As it always is!) Type in a continent (say, 'asia population', and Google will spew out a general result-set. So, dear Google, was it really difficult to do elementary addition? With all the funky hardware and over-the-top algorithms you have developed?

Which brings us to the all important question. Is Google out on a mission to scrape every single piece of information from every damn page it sniffs and render them, in due time, inutile? That could be damning evidence of Google's monopolization of the information. For the time being let's just hope I am paranoid.


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