Friday, May 06, 2005

Breton fisherman's capHow very odd.

Probing stats I just found out that the Australian version of Google rates me higher than the UK version when searched for "anyhoo" (as does the .com one). No great surprise there, but what did surprise me is that below the brief title of the site in blue, Google no longer has random selections of quotes in which I use the word "anyhoo", but instead has a short description which matches the tagline of the blog. Except it ends ...from a guy in England.

Who put that bit in there, and where did they get it from? I know I've stuck similar things in various blog listings, but I'm fairly sure I've never put exactly that (usually due to eeking the description out into two seperate sentences). So where did it come from? Is Google edited?

Even more oddly, no other blog I can think of has this. Either Google displays only the title (presumably due to Ryan only putting Ryanstask in the title - except the byline is "Ryanstask", er...?), or has the search term and accompanying text cribbed from the page. I lie, Strang's Blog has it (compare the title text on the flaghead with Google's description).

Stranger still is the comparision between CNN and the BBC. One search term results, one summary.

Oh, now that's really freaky; if I type, it automatically transfers it to However if I take the search result address from any other Google site, and switch the ending to .com/*** (from***, as above, for example), I get the .com result. Which in this case is not the same as the result. How does one politely suggest to Google that I might actually mean what I type?

Could those international types who read this blog please let me know whether redirects to your local site?

I'm now playing with changing things in the address bar. I think I've got Google Brasil in Bulgarian (unless anyone can think of what else hl=br could mean. Incidentally, I'm 2nd on in English, but third when the language code is br. I've just found the language codes for Google, and Bulgarian is bg. So I've no idea what br is.

Oh, ok, now I've found the language codes Google use. BR is Breton, which explains why it looks like Gaelic.

It's bizarre; Chinese results in one language put me second, and in the other version it puts me third. Unfortunately I've no idea what the difference between zh-CN and zh-TW are. I would have expected a Madarin versus Cantonese split, but TW versus CN seems to suggest Taiwan versus China.

Hurrah, I'm first in Icelandic, regardless of source site. So just along as everybody searches in Icelandic...


PS. Obviously the "desciption, not search term sentence" thing only applies when the search term is the name of the site (or part thereof).

When I go to .com it used to redirect me to because they knew I was using a computer in the UK, but if you click the 'Go to' link somewhere on the front page, it should remember your choice, at least for a little while. If you have Google toolbar or deskbar as well, it may be set to default to the UK one...
Ah, trust me to be too indignant to actually bother reading what's in front of me.

Thanks Dan.

Hmm, and how come Google's now decided to put quotation results under the site title rather than the summary, at least for "anyhoo"? Either the Great God Google really does know all and is trying to make me look stupid, or it's just fluke.

But both Strang and CNN still function as examples.
It seems to be based upon the version of software one is using rather than where you are. My desktop uses US-windows, has location set to UK, a German keyboard, Central European time, a UK-English version of Firefox and stays at, the laptop which, apart from Firefox is entirely German, swaps me over to (unless I "go to"), it remembers my preference to use English though.

That said, I can't see the descriptor "from a guy in England." anywhere....
Odd. I've yet to manage to convert Firefox to anything but en-US (I've tried, it just seems to be having problems). With IE I just got transferred from .com to

Maybe it's the way I type. It's very English to use 2.5 fingers.

As for descriptors: I have no idea where it appeared from, nor why it suddenly seems to have disappeared.

But thanks anyway.
It would also appear I'm no longer first in Icelandic.

Remind not to comment on the vagaries of Google ever again. I'm beginning to feel that it's me looking at the cat in the poisoned box which has killed it.
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