Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Google Status

We were talking about googling someone and Andrew said he is the first Gelman if googled.

I was surprised,
"Gelman, just Gelman?"
"Yes, and I need to work on the Andrew part".

Out of pure curiosity, we tried my name. Tian, first. I was not hopeful as Tian has the same sound of "sky" in Chinese. And then it comes as the second! Right after wikipedia's entry of "Tian". Popularity is a double-blade sword. You will have a wikipedia page for your name if it is popular enough and then your own website will be ranked second to the wikipedia page.

Andrew noticed that Google automatically detected my location and then give my website an edge. We then tried Chicago. Obviously no Tian in Chicago can out beat me!

What about Zheng? I became even less hopeful. This is the 27th most popular last name out of all the Chinese in the world after all. I am the eighth or something this time. Andrew was impressed, "still on the first page! You should put this on your CV." Well, I think I will just blog about it!


Tian said...

It is reported that google results differ even within NYC. I always thought Google used pagerank and pagerank primarily (if not alone as they implicit indicate in their presentations). I don't know what to believe anymore ... Anyway, I don't really care.

Jian said...

Hi, Tian,
In google's search system, pagerank is only used in a specific step in its early age. In general, when you type a query, google automatically detects your IP address (geo info). If you log-in gmail or use igoogle at the same time, google also extract your historical search and social behaviors. All these profiles are used to retrieve the most relevant webpages. After this, google uses pagerank or similar ranking algorithms to order the retrieve webpages, based on importance, relevance and diversity etc. My friend in google told me google was planning to update the ranking algorithm to more fancy learning-to-rank algorithms, just like Bing and Yahoo. So pagerank is a history.