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Google works in Google Glossary to Results

Google killed the butler!

     
9:52 pm on Jul 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I needed a nicely worded, plain-english definition of JavaScript today for a report I'm writing, so I went to Google and typed in "what is JavaScript".

Lo and behold, a web definition came up. Now, I know the definitions aren't new, but I think Google answering questions is. Anyone seen this yet?

10:02 pm on July 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Cool stuff!

So far, I only see it working for "What is" queries. Could "Where, who, why, and how" be far along?

This is way better than Ask Jeeves. Bad news for AJ.

10:20 pm on July 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Even though "is" is a word ignored during regular searches, it's that combined with "what" that triggers the definition.

For instance a search for "what javascript" does not trigger it, however "what is javascript" seems to set it off.

Very cool.

10:23 pm on July 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Bad for people trying SEO for those terms.
10:24 pm on July 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I wonder if they are still adding new glossaries or if it was a one-time dump?
10:24 pm on July 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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You can also use define: in the searchbox, define:javascript [google.com]
10:30 pm on July 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Cool but not cool enough. Sure all of the top sites are good sources of java info but if you were an average surfer, which one would look more appealing? sigh...google google google

[search.yahoo.com...]

10:59 pm on July 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Perhaps getting ones sites glossary indexed and presented by Google suggests that Google considers it a "authority" site.
11:00 pm on July 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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considers it a "authority" site

Not likely. Play around a bit...

I do wonder when they'll update their database next. ;-)

11:02 pm on July 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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This makes me uneasy. It's a Devil's bargain:

EITHER

(1) let us show long quotes from your content on our site, giving users the *opportunity* to click through

OR

(2) forbid us from showing your content, and we won't show a link either.

When Google shows content it makes me uneasy. At least the images are too small for most uses. Web definitions, by contrast, are given in full.

11:14 pm on July 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Damn, this is news? I noticed it months ago.
11:18 pm on July 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I'm sorry but I'm going to continue my little rant here. Yahoo has some bugs to work out but when is Google going to jump on the bandwagon.

If I search for what is or how to, I want to see some titles that reflect that, NOT, umm sorry but those are too common, we might include them behind the scenes but we just want to tell you that they are ignored. We just like to reflect on links as the majority but we'll mix in a little content analysis, however not enough to do what's right.

That's a good long definition for javascript but if you search for other "what is" type things you get one sentence with ten words vaguely describing what it is you want.

These little gee whiz additions are cool but when are we going to see some REAL work?

11:24 pm on July 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I know of a site that for the past 3 or 4 months these queries have been the biggest source of traffic
1:03 am on July 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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So I'm confused about where these are coming from. Is Google gathering here any page that lists terms and definitions in a <dl> <dt> <dd> structure? (With the pages then ranked as usual according to Google's usual methods.) I suppose that *is* a good and semantically proper way to make use of the little-used <dl> format.
2:04 am on July 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Ok...is it just me or when you type "what is (keyword)" it's a whole new algorithim in the ranking....the keywords for all of my categories are shuffled big time. Anyone else seeing this and is this likely to go live or is something being tested?
2:37 am on July 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Since Google counts word order when it's determining search results, it shouldn't be too surprising that it is able to understand questions. For example, as Google:

Why is the sky blue?

and Google will give you many results. On the other hand, if you don't ask a question that is common:

Why isn't Webmaster World more famous, making Brett zillions of dollars?

You'll discover that your search results are not as helpful, because they cannot reflect the structure of existing, indexed text.

3:46 am on July 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Use it often and you may feel like I do - it's just more clutter at the top of the serps.

I tried it for a while and got annoyed. "Define whatever" and it gives you Joe's dictionary definition of whatever, and I end up doing the merriam thing anyway.

If G wants to become the answerman, it will lose the searchers who just want SERPS. I still think the searchers who flocked TO google when it came out with a simple, just-the-serps interface keep Google afloat, and the "give me the best answer" people still stick with MSN, AOL, AskJeeves, relying heavily on About.com pages for their definitive answers.

7:13 am on July 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Strange thing is if you follow the link through on that definition it says the page has been moved. That does suggest to me the data was pulled in some time ago.

I agree with paybacksa it has a bit of the wow factor, but the next time you use it, it has the "get out of my face and show me the serps" factor.

7:32 am on July 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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This is pretty old:

what is php
define php
definition (of) php
define:php

8:14 am on July 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Forrest Gump stated it all by looking into a box of chocolates. Are we looking for known answers or for new insight to future solutions?
10:32 am on July 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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This is another v. interesting move by Google. For the first time, it is giving users information / satisfying the query *directly*, rather than passing them on to other sites.

This makes it, in a small way, a destination rather than a gateway.

Any suggestions of other types of information Google could readily provide, in answers to queries, on its own site?

10:54 am on July 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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"what is google".

:)

12:32 pm on July 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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>"what is google".

Your #1 competitor.

hunderdown

2:35 pm on July 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I'm not sure that I agree with Brett_Tabke and others that this makes Google my #1 competitor...

I typed in "what is a copy editor" and was excited to see that a result from my glossary of publishing terms came up #1 in the results. Yes, some people will consider their question answered and not click through, but others will want to see the entire glossary.

I think this is likely to bring my site, at least, more traffic than it loses.

3:08 pm on July 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Are you guys referring to the "answers.google.com" stuff? Because if you are, I would agree with Brett's assessment. This makes google a chief competitor. I've seen a bunch of these pop up with google ads on the top of the page. These are for areas I have been considering branching out into. My reaction was somewhat visceral. Seems like the home team is coming to bat.
3:26 pm on July 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Google Glossary has gone live. See [labs.google.com...]

You can use "define:foo" or "define foo"

4:04 pm on July 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Not sure what the excitment is.. previously, it used to pull out definitions for 'define anything', now (or sometime ago), they added it to 'what is anything'..
5:01 pm on July 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Is Google gathering here any page that lists terms and definitions in a <dl> <dt> <dd> structure?

Nope. The primary supplier of G definitions [cogsci.princeton.edu] (meaning every search for a definition will always return at one result from this site) shows terms with this markup:


<FONT COLOR=Red><B>anything</B></FONT> -- (a thing of any kind; "do you have anything to declare?")<BR>
5:23 pm on July 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Nope. The primary supplier of G definitions (meaning every search for a definition will always return at one result from this site) shows terms with this markup:

<FONT COLOR=Red><B>anything</B></FONT> -- (a thing of any kind; "do you have anything to declare?")<BR>

If we go back to what started this thread, define:javascript doesn't return anything from WordNet. Secondly, WordNet is available in RDF/XML, the same format Google already handles for ODP. I doubt they have bothered to spider WordNet when they can grab the whole thing as RDF.

7:01 pm on July 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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define:javascript doesn't return anything from WordNet

I stand corrected. Technical terms and other "unofficial" words draw their definitions from a variety of web sources not from wordnet.

I was trying to answer rjohara's question about the on page markup. Although my wordnet example sucked, page markup, at least regarding the <dl><dt><dd> tags, is still irrelevant (no reason for me to post a bunch of links here to define: result sources). G definitions use some other criteria to determine if a page contains a definition for a term.

I agree that G probably didn't spider WordNet, but many web definition sources are spidered as html so the markup becomes relevant for a webmaster wishing to provide definitions that are G friendly. What about <acronym> and <abbr> tags? Does those come into play? I can't tell for sure...

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