Sunday, 20 February 2011

Google Social Search

I first found out about this when one of my colleagues at work emailed this article around. He wanted to know whether this will have any impact on our work, which relies heavily on the way Google shows its search results. If Google starts to show different search results for everyone then it would be impossible to guarantee any kind of rankings for a particular site. In fact the whole concept of search engine marketing becomes irrelevant, because everyone's search results are being affected by their friends which we cannot manipulate.

First of all, I thing the situation is not so grim. Google can't just show content published by your friends, because they may not be as relevant as an established authority on that topic. For example, suppose you search for hotels in Melbourne. Google may well show some of your friends' recommendations, but large booking sites like wotif will definitely be listed at the top as they provide so much better information on Melbourne hotels than your friends can.

That is assuming you even see those social results in the first place. To enable this feature, a user needs to be logged into Google. That makes the feature available to what, at most 1% of the internet population? Of those, you must have told Google about your friends, which may come through your email contacts, friends connected via Google Buzz or perhaps friends on Twitter (not Facebook though). And even then, they must be blogging, posting pictures on Flickr, sending out tweets, or reviewing places on Google HotPot for some search results to show up. Honestly, how many of your friends do that? And if your answer to the last question is "most of my friends", then I promise you are in the minority.

So, I've established that until Google becomes Facebook the social search feature will never show up for most people. Now let's attack the idea of providing social search results at all!

The assumption is that your friends provides better recommendations and more relevant answers. Why is that so? Many of my friends have vastly different tastes than I do, so I might not like something that they like. The other example given in the article is if a friend posted a link to something relevant to what I am searching, that link may show up higher in the results. Now why is that useful? Does the link become more relevant to me because my friend has been there? No, in fact it is less useful because I may have read that post already!

There is a common theme here, and it is "your friend has been there, therefore you should too!" Well no, I'm not my friend and I don't have to follow after their footsteps. This social thing doesn't allow me to explore beyond my circle of friends, into the unknown, because there's where I will find many gems of information that I'm sure my friends have not the slightest interest.

Sunday, 13 February 2011


I'm deciding to start blogging again. Sometimes the Facebook status update just isn't long enough for me to put down my thoughts.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Loosing My Mind…

This probably falls under the Rants category…

Why do everyone write “loose” when they really mean “lose”? It seems like only people who write for a living (authors, newspaper/magazine editors, etc.) know about the word “lose”. I can’t even recall the last time I saw someone using “lose” correctly in a comment. Probably never.


Here are some definitions from


–verb (used with object)
20. to let loose; free from bonds or restraint.
21. to release, as from constraint, obligation, or penalty.

–verb (used without object)
27. to let go a hold.
28. to hoist anchor; get under way.

Source URL


–verb (used with object)
1. to come to be without (something in one's possession or care), through accident, theft, etc., so that there is little or no prospect of recovery: I'm sure I've merely misplaced my hat, not lost it.
2. to fail inadvertently to retain (something) in such a way that it cannot be immediately recovered: I just lost a dime under this sofa.
3. to suffer the deprivation of: to lose one's job; to lose one's life.

–verb (used without object)
23. to suffer loss: to lose on a contract.
24. to suffer defeat or fail to win, as in a contest, race, or game: We played well, but we lost.

Source URL

Maybe future spellcheckers should flag every instances of “loose” and “loosing” as errors, and politely ask the user “Do you mean ‘lose’ (‘losing’)?”

Lose that o!

Wednesday, 29 April 2009


You can cry when you are sad.
You can cry when you are happy.

But when you are hit with both at the same time
Crying becomes confusing.

Your emotions are being pulled
in two opposite directions.
Yet they arrive at the same result – tears.

Maybe it’s easier to treat them as one combined feeling
No! Just ignore their meanings
the events that gave rise to the feelings
And let them overwhelming me
Take me over

And cry my eyes out

Friday, 20 March 2009

Trip to the Airport

Today I am picking up dad from the airport, so I checked Google Map for the route. (I already knew how to get there; just wanted to confirm the little details.) Here is what they showed me:

Highlights of the (proposed) journey

Step 42: 5404 km


Step 103: 6243 km


Step 119: 4436 km


Looks like dad will have to wait at the airport for some time…

PS: Apparently our airport is called Melbourne International Terminal, although putting Australia at the end also does the trick.