“Google Talk” versus Google Talk

I was scanning my referrer logs this morning and I noticed an unholy number of people coming here having searched for “Google Talk” at Google. While I mentioned the subject yesterday in a post, I sincerely doubted I had risen to the top of the list of Google search results.

So, what was going on? The only way to find out is to do a Google search myself, the result of which was that there I was as result #5:

Infectious Greed: Google Talk Available Online
I should have mentioned this sooner, but Urs Holzle of Google’s talk at UCSD is online in streaming format. It’s here, and at roughly the ten-second mark
paul.kedrosky.com/archives/000851.html – 11k – CachedSimilar pages

Now, as most people will have figured out after getting past the “Whoa, it’s available!” headline, I wasn’t writing about “Google Talk”, I writing about a Google talk by Urs Holzle. Not the same thing, but an interesting example of how Google (and other search engines) are still a long way from being able to properly resolve branching search results, the sort of thing that humans can do in a heartbeat. Does the searcher mean X or Y when they ask Z?


  1. …in fact, probably a VERY long way. Because Google search would have to have absorbed and understood the recent rumors in order to pick the right branch. Consider that a week ago, your post was a much better result for this query.

  2. A very good point, Gabe. Until recently the Urs branch on the query would have been the correct branch.
    That said, it does point the way toward how you might imagine improving the underlying search algorithm. Having done the search, you might do a quick check of the current news (via Technorati and News.Google, or equivalent) and make sure you’re not missing something recent. If you think you might be, then present two branched options to the search, with a “Did you mean this?” associated question for the two contexts.

  3. I came here looking for Google Talk too.

  4. Speaking of Google.
    The NY TIMES did an article on the new evil empire today. (MS is now one of the good guys.)
    Here are some thoughts on Google from an entrepreneur’s perspective http://smartstartup.typepad.com/my_weblog/2005/08/google_and_the_.html