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What does the BIW variable on Google mean?

...&biw=1004&q=....

     
12:23 pm on Jun 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

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hi!

did i miss something? what das that parameter do?

thx,
pontifex

6:30 am on June 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Hello Pontifex,

Just noticed this, too.

Doing a search on it on google (biw parameter google) it turned out to be the width of the browser in pixels.

Interesting how it varies. Small snippet from the logs for biw values:
1016, 851, 778, 1004, 772, 780, 1003, 780, 1024, 839, 995, 1007, 1005, 995, 993, 759, 740, 1004 (and dozens more)

Care to optimize your page for all of these widths?

radix.

6:50 am on June 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

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So how does G know my browser width? I didn't tell them. -Larry
7:50 am on June 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

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A very simple client side script (Javascript) could do this.
8:46 am on June 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Yes, a simple js script can do this on the fly.
But, how does the info (my screen width) travel back in time and space
to get into the search engine request string? -Larry
8:50 am on June 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Ooop! I should have thought that out more.
G doesn't want my screen width. It fetches the width of the browser's computer.
That would explain why I see all different values.
I suppose I should experiment to see if G is looking at my personal screen width.
I'd like to know what else they are reading. -Larry
9:33 am on June 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

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function rbi(f){if (navigator.appName == "Netscape") {f.biw.value=self.innerWidth;} else {f.biw.value=document.body.clientWidth;}}// -->

That's on their home page, writes it into a hidden variable

10:09 am on June 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

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google does absolutly nothing without an idea behind it. I wonder, if they are planning a further redesign?

Radix: good senses! browser inner width, i really was wondering why that number changed all the time and what it meant ...

p!

11:14 am on June 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Google does a lot for users with small screens. Even very small screens.

You've seen the random spaces in URLs that are displayed? They are so that long URLs don't cause horizontal scrolling on a small screen.

I think that it is a key part of any such decision to monitor the utilisation of such features and whether demand continues to be justified.

3:14 pm on June 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Hi

Adjusting the value of biw manually seems to have a very slight effect on the page layout, mainly on the blue bar containing the top two sponsored results.

For example setting biw to 200 makes the blue bar go all the way across the page to the right hand side pushing the rest of the sponsored links down below it, but changing it to 1024 makes the blue bar stop before the right hand side column and the right hand side sponsored links start from the top.

This all depends on you entering a query where there are sponsored results at the top.

Cheers

DanG

10:13 pm on June 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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then what is the meaning of biw? i mean whats abbreviation? b. i. w.?
10:18 pm on June 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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"Basic Indicator Width"

just a guess:-)

10:23 pm on June 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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i see. thank you very much..

i m sorry. my english is not good enough.. i m still trying to understand this topic. and in my hand i have a dcitionary.. but can not yet..

10:40 pm on June 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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then what is the meaning of biw? i mean whats abbreviation? b. i. w.?

I rather fear that since Google decided to "sell itself" to its highest bidders, it's Business Increases Weekly, and nothing more subtle that that!
DerekH

10:40 pm on June 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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then what is the meaning of biw? i mean whats abbreviation? b. i. w.?

Based on what I see, biw = "browser inner width"

10:46 pm on June 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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whose guess is better?!

harbs or Tropical Island or DerekH? and are these only guesses?

11:43 pm on June 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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> You've seen the random spaces in URLs that are displayed? They are so that long URLs don't cause horizontal scrolling on a small screen.

Hmm! Neat!

I had always wondered about the seemingly random spaces - and have cursed them when cuttin' 'n' pastin' - but never enough to pose a question here.

11:49 pm on June 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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...and are these only guesses?

Mine was.

I thought that this would start a real interesting thread as my creative mind couldn't come up with something better:-)

 

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