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When the search engine tries to read your mind – and fails miserably July 1, 2008

Posted by globalizer in Language, Silly stuff.

Everybody has a favorite example of Google coming up with suggestions for alternative searches – “Did you mean *****?” it politely asks when your search resembles something other people have searched for, and sometimes those suggestions are wildly off base, of course.

The search engine we use on the IBM intranet has a similar feature, and the alternative suggestions are usually reasonably close to the original search. This one has me stumped, though:

I searched for

issi update flash player fails

(because an automated software update keeps failing on my machine, and I wanted to see if it was a known problem).

The alternative suggestion was:

Did you mean: Standard Software Installer, blink?

I get the “Standard Software Installer” suggestion for “issi”, since that’s what the acronym stands for, but ‘blink’ for the rest?? Maybe the algorithm has ‘blink’ listed as a synonym for ‘flash’, but still – a little optimistic to think that I simply stuck the remaining 3 words in there as filler.



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