new Google Books glitch(es)

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Wed Mar 28 17:33:10 UTC 2012

Jon, perhaps some additional features ... er, glitches, to tell the
Googlemasters about?

At 3/28/2012 05:09 AM, Stephen Goranson wrote:
>Yes, Google Book search has changed.
>First, apparently, it returns hits with synonyms of the search words.

This, at least, probably can be overcome by putting the search word
in quotes.  But one has to be diligent -- Google tends to remove the
quotes, thus allowing syntactic variations.  I have had to put the
word I want explicitly into the "with the exact phrase" box -- but
then one can't do that with two or more independent words.

(I haven't yet tried to see how synonyms are handled.  I suspect that
four our purposes Google would have to implement a "no synonyms" option.)

>Second, apparently, it returns, e.g., phrases found in recent
>reviews of classic books, listing the book rather than the review as
>the source.

Even worse, it attaches the date of the classic book, not the
review.  So setting date bounds doesn't eliminate those
reviews.  Again, I don't see how a user can compensate for this;
Google would have to attach correct dates.


>These attempts to be helpful, to me, are not.
>Stephen Goranson
>From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] on behalf of
>Garson O'Toole [adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM]
>Sent: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 10:04 PM
>Subject: Re: [ADS-L] new Google Books glitch
>The results generated by the Google search engine have, I think,
>changed noticeably during the past two months. The match algorithm has
>been updated so that it now performs some kind of indirect association
>mapping to generate more matches.
>When one performs a search looking for a precise string in quotes the
>results now include many books that do not contain the quoted string.
>This behavior has been mentioned in the past on the ADS list, but now
>many more spurious matches are being displayed.
>For example, when I search for the string "inflamed with wild notions"
>the following items are listed as matches:
>The Republic of Plato: Volume 1
>Socrates: a translation of the Apology, Crito, and parts of the ...
>Clouds Aristophanes, Milton Wylie Humphreys
>The string does not appear in these books. But the string is part of a
>popular quote that began to appear in the 1960s (I think). It is often
>misattributed to Plato:
>[Begin excerpt]
>What is happening to our young people? They disrespect their elders,
>they disobey their parents. They ignore the law. They riot in the
>streets inflamed with wild notions. Their morals are decaying. What is
>to become of them?
>[End excerpt]
>So the Google match algorithm now apparently performs some type of
>indirect matching. The algorithm may look at the set of matches in the
>full Google database and creates some kind of signature. It then
>matches items to the signature. That is a wild guess. Whatever
>technique is being used it is clever. However, it makes my task more
>For example, when I search for quotes that are incorrectly credited to
>Mark Twain Google now presents matches for several works of Twain.
>This occurs despite the fact that the target string is absent in
>Twain's oeuvre.
>Perhaps other list members have observed this behavior.
>The American Dialect Society -
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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