Google, by the numbers

After accidentally searching for 50 on Google and getting a link to 50 Cent, I remembered the Google Suggest single-letter test when it launched, which showed the top result Google Suggest would give when you pressed just one letter. I imagine this has changed over time, but I’m doing a different test – what are the first things to come up when you search for numbers, 1-50, and what does that tell us?In each case, I’ve included links to a few of the top links (removing similar links,  which Google sometimes gets right and sometimes doesn’t), and when the source isn’t obvious from the title (like VH-1 going to and is interesting, I’ve added source information.  Also note that Google inserts a bunch of viral videos with numbers in them from YouTube etc. as part of universal search – I’ve just skipped them.

Google, by the Numbers

1 January 1 (Wikipedia [Wp for short]), MPEG-1 (Wp), CSS Level 1 (, VH-1, Deep Space 1 (a NASA project)
2 XML Schema Part 2 & CSS Level 2 (W3), MPEG-2 (Wp), May 2 (Wp) , a Ruby on Rails Tutorial (Part 2)
3 3 (Wp), January 3 (Wp), 3Com, CSS Level 3 Draft (W3), Halo 3, NYC Subway Line 3
4 4 (Wp), MPEG-4 (Wp), NBC4 in Washington DC, NYC Subway 4, 4-H, Human Chromosome 4 (note: when I did this search earlier from my iPhone, I saw 4Chan)
5 5 (Wp), February 5 (Wp), NYC Subway 5, Babylon 5, US Internal Revenue Code 5, NBC5 Chicago, Perl5
6 May 6 (Wp), February 6 (Wp), Google Holiday Doodle (the 6 is in the URL), Motel 6, Big6 (a literacy initiative), Java SE 6, Perl 6 (three links)
7 7 (Wp), January 7 (Wp), 7-Zip, WHDH 7 Boston, ABC 7 SoCal, KIRO 7 Seattle, QuickTime 7
8 8 (Wp), January 8 (Wp), Human Chromosome 8, Channel 8 (MSDN), Super 8, 8 ½ (IMDB), 8 Mile (IMDB)
9 The 9 (Yahoo!), January 9 (Wp), Channel 9 (MSDN), May 9 (Wp), Human Chromosome 9, Form I-9
10 Channel 10 (MSDN), Powers of 10 (the website), NBC 10 Philadelphia, March 10 (Wp), ICD-10 (disease classification, Wp)
20 20 (Wp), September 20 (Wp), 20/20 on ABC, Human Chromosome 20, Top 20 2007 Security Risks, 20Q (2004 Toy of the Year), US Title 20, 20 Years of Perl
30 30 (Wp), 30 Rock, September 30, (then results for 300),  a php statistics app – no idea why it shows up here, WVIT 30 Hartford
40 40 (number) (Wp), 40 Principales (Spanish Top 40), 40 (year) (Wp), The 40 Year Old Virgin (IMDB), American Top 40, WD-40, 40 Ajax accessibility tutorials,
50 50 Cent (official site), 50 Cent (Wp), 50 (number) (Wp), 50 Cent (AOL Music), Lycos top 50, Z39.50 protocol standards

Some notes:

  • Wikipedia, unsurprisingly, dominates the results – numbers, dates, years. The summaries varied widely – sometimes the first sentence of the article, sometimes a random sentence below
  • Technology, especially web standards and Perl, are all over the place. Maybe this is a sign of the long tail of technology online – if there’s nothing else more relevant, technology rushes to fill the space.
  • For every commercial brand (WD-40), there’s a non-brand (Z39.50).

One Response to “Google, by the numbers”

  1. Google Search Sucks Says:

    I find google suggest tool to give you some ridiculous suggestions when you use long tail queries

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