Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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Editing the Google Algorithm

Wired has a real nice article on Google’s search algorithm. It’s a real score for the Mountain View massive as it makes the whole process seem not evil at all … It actually feels quite quaint:

Recently, search engineer Maureen Heymans discovered a problem with “Cindy Louise Greenslade.” The algorithm figured out that it should look for a person — in this case a psychologist in Garden Grove, California — but it failed to place Greenslade’s homepage in the top 10 results. Heymans found that, in essence, Google had downgraded the relevance of her homepage because Greenslade used only her middle initial, not her full middle name as in the query. “We needed to be smarter than that,” Heymans says. So she added a signal that looks for middle initials. Now Greenslade’s homepage is the fifth result.

February 24, 2010