blog:Google Sets

By jenstanjenstan (1222024264|%a, %b %e at %I:%M%p)

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Google Sets is a version of Google's search engine site that automatically creates sets of items from a few examples. It is put out by Google Labs and is still in prototype form. SEO by the Sea, a site that provides internet marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) research and services, has a good article that explains how Google Sets works if you would like to know more background information about the site. The article also points out some flaws in it's accuracy, which is what I am going to look furthur into in my blog. I performed a couple of searches in Google Sets using all cities in Michigan. I then analyzed them to see if all of the results were in fact other cities in Michigan.

In my first search, I used large, well-known cities from all across the state:

  1. Detroit
  2. Ann Arbor
  3. Grand Rapids
  4. Marquette
  5. Kalamazoo

The search was very successful, with all of the cities returned in the results cities in Michigan. However, I re-ran the search, but this time using towns near my hometown in the upper peninsula:

  1. Ironwood
  2. Wakefield
  3. Bessemer
  4. White Pine
  5. Bergland

Because these towns are near the border of Wisconsin, the search returned towns near them in Michigan and also Wisconsin. Therefore, it did not specifically pick up on the fact they are all in the same state.

Despite some lack of accuracy, which is to be expected with any type of search engine, overall Google Sets does what it says it will do. I only searched for a small set (15 items or fewer). However, if you want to search for a larger set the results obviously get less and less close to what you intended the words to mean. For example, when I grew the set of towns in the upper peninsula, I started to even get some that were not only in wisconsin but minnesota as well. Overall though, compared to other search engines, Google sets seems to be in the same range of accuracy.

Therefore, I would recommend Google Sets to anyone looking for related terms. For instance, when you know there is a word for what you are describing but can't think of it, you can type in related words on Google Set. If you are lucky, one of the words that comes up may be the word that was at the tip of your tongue. This happens to me all the time and next time it does, I will be going right to Google Sets to see if I can find the answer.

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