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18 October, 2005

Random queries no.7

One of a series of genuine search engine enquiries which successfully brought visitors to the Ministry.  Can I help?

can you give me some information on wallace and gromit

Back to 'Search Engines for Beginners':
I can tell you that the words 'can', 'you', 'give', 'me', 'some', 'information', 'on' and 'and' were entirely irrelevant to that query, and will have diminished the effectivenes of the search. Google isn't a person; there's no need to ask polite questions in grammatical English. Just pick out the key words, and try 'wallace gromit'

Still, if you trawled down as far as search result no.57 (the Ministry's ranking for this search term), you're obviously more than typically dedicated, and perhaps it's a good thing that you limited your search. Your search, for all those words (in any order and not necessarily together on the page) found 242,000 results, whereas 'wallace gromit' produces 13,600,000.


I think you may have missed a </i> tag there.

On another note, I saw the Wallace & Gromit film on Friday and thought it was 'Cracking'.

Posted by danbee at October 19, 2005 09:12 AM

Thanks! Fixed.

Posted by NRT at October 19, 2005 09:39 AM

You'll find that Google does indeed understand english grammar. Do a search for "Wallace and gromit", and then do a search for "Who are Wallace and Gromit?"


Posted by cds at October 20, 2005 05:01 AM

Thanks for highlighting that it is a useful utility, and worth publicising but no, that's not the same thing at all.

Use of the exact phrase 'Who is' or 'Who are' triggers a specific feature of Google search, and isn't evidence that Google in general supports natural language searches.
In the same way, use of the phrase 'ten kilometres in miles' wouldn't perform a search for pages containing those words, it'd pass the information to Google Calculator and return the answer to the conversion.

If you want to know who Wallace and Gromit are, yes, use the special search. If you want 'information about wallace and gromit', omit the words 'information', 'about' and 'and', as the search doesn't need them.

Posted by NRT at October 20, 2005 09:35 AM
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