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Here’s an old yet under-appreciated video Google put out last March of a real search quality meeting in action.
It’s really fascinating stuff and I especially like the super helpful annotations providing explanations on jargon non-Google search engineers would not understand – “trigram”, anyone?
The topic for the meeting is spelling correction for long queries – while a seemingly small aspect of search, it is incredible to witness the amount of debate, discussion and analysis that is generated from various technical leads for their corresponding team. We even get to see Matt Cutt’s internal contribution, though as perhaps because the topic is not directly related to webspam, his input is relatively minor.
This video really makes me appreciate both Google’s dedication to the minutiae of the overall search experience and its challenges in creating the world’s most advanced search engine algorithm. At around 6:04 “Ranking Lead” Paul Haahr references “pasted queries” – here, the team distinguishing between instances where users type out a phrase and when they copy/paste a phrase in the search box for the purposes of impoving the spell correct within the aut0-complete feature.
Also of note is the point at 6:21 when the team references “wins Vs losses” – the annotation explicitly states:
Every algorithm change is imperfect. “Losses” are undesirable behaviour. “Wins are desirable behaviour”.
In my opinion, this is a profoundly understated sentiment that should be appreciated by SEO consultants: given the extreme levels of complexity in data that Google’s algorithm must manage, it is inevitable that non-ideal outcomes will occur from algorithm updates and changes. As is apparent from this video, Google’s view is to not aim for zero unintended/undesirable consequences, rather, mitigating these losses and balancing their depth and volume against positive objectives and goals.