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I'm an engineer at Google who worked on the query parser code in 2009 and 2010. I can assure you that at no point around then did punctuation like square brackets get used, inside or outside quotation marks. The results changing from results that suited your intent to results that didn't must have been caused by other changes to the ranking algorithm or the Web as a whole over those years that happened to be unlucky for you.

Punctuation is a huge challenge for us. We can't simply index all the punctuation on every web page on the internet -- think of the blowup of our index! Think how much slower our search pipeline would be! But we're working on it. Now we recognize some common punctuation uses cases like @ and #. Compare the search results for mattcutts vs. @mattcutts, or obama vs. #obama. We'll keep working on the other ones. The programming ones hinder us coders a lot too. :-)

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You're simply wrong. It is in Google's long-term financial interest to continue to provide objective, trustworthy search results. For a non-Google example of something similar, see the recent story of Apple CEO Tim Cook challenging a shareholder who challenged the impact of Apple's environmental policies on Apple's bottom line: http://gizmodo.com/apple-ceo-tim-cook-shuts-down-anti-enviro...

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brudgers 43 days ago | link

Oh bloody fucking hell, Cook told shareholder activists to piss off because a CEO's job is to tell shareholder activists to piss off. Rarely is it so easy as in Cook's case where the activists were total wingnuts, had no business case since Apple's investment in renewable energy is almost certain to payoff over the long term, and presented a massively unpopular position. They got the microphone because their pitch had homerun written all over it.

In Google's case, their officers are responsible for optimizing the mix of objective search results with revenue producing search results. That optimum can be described as just good enough not to drive too many queries away while maximizing clicks to their customers. There's no legal requirement or demand from shareholders for a wall.

And indeed the very idea of tailoring search results to an individual's past browsing history is always going to push sites that share data with Google to the top of the results page.

TANSTAAFL.

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For what it's worth, I think it's totally reasonable to ask a software engineer candidate to implement a binary sort, even if the candidate has to derive the particulars of the algorithm from first principles. If the candidate can't implement something as well-understood as a binary sort, how are they going to perform when given a totally novel problem that no one has ever solved before?

If anything, the problem with that as an interview question is that it is too obvious and common, and will not do a good job distinguishing between a strong candidate and someone who crammed for the interview and happened to practice that particular problem.

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radicality 89 days ago | link

Did you and the parent comment mean binary search? I've never heard of binary sort. And if you do mean a sort, how does it work?

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As a member of Google's algorithmic search quality team, I wish I could take that bet against you. :-)

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Aside: this test code would have been a bit easier to debug if it had used decimal bases. That is, replace

  int a[] = {10,20,30};
  int r = 1 * a[i++] + 2 * a[i++] + 3 * a[i++];
with

  int a[] = {1,2,3};
  int r = 1 * a[i++] + 10 * a[i++] + 100 * a[i++];
Then if your program outputs r = 111, it's obvious that it's doing

  a[0] + 10*a[0] + 100*a[0]
and if it outputs 321, it's obvious that it's doing

  a[0] + 10*a[1] + 100*a[2]
No disassembly required.

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Perseids 136 days ago | link

Alternatively just think a moment longer and realize that the lower limit of each value (10) already produces 60 and thus each must must be 10.

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FWIW, I adjust my F.lux setting all the time! When the sun sets at 5pm but I'm still working in a brightly-lit office, I hit "disable for an hour." When I'm in a completely dark room, I switch it all the way to the dimmest "candle" setting.

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MarkTee 135 days ago | link

The newest version has keyboard shortcuts (on Windows anyways)!

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hackula1 means this: If one child is born to the family of a billionaire, and another child is born to a poor unwed teen mother, then in what meaningful way can it be said that those two children have "equal opportunity"? Even if the billionare's child is a lazy fuckup, he/she still stands to inherit hundreds of millions of dollars and so will never have to want for anything. Even if the teenager's child works hard, without access to nurturing child care, education, books, etc., the odds are stacked against that child leading a happy and successful life, much less becoming a millionaire.

The only way to make it truly be the case that those two children succeed or fail in life due to their own qualities and choices -- "equal opportunity" -- would be to take the billionaire's money and spend it equally on nurturing and educating the two children. (In the US, the "estate tax" is a tax on inheritance, that is, it's our society deciding how good or bad it is if a child can inherit all or some of a parent's fortune.)

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> they're just selling it now (most likely to the highest bidder).

[citation needed]

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joelrunyon 169 days ago | link

They're still allowing you to access it via adwords (which is very much an auction system).

They also have extended analytics for the nice clean price of 150k/year - http://www.google.com/analytics/premium/

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vdaniuk 169 days ago | link

Access to the automated system for distribution of communication materials is NOT equal for selling data. Thats a common misconception.

Also extended analytics do not provide any private data that is not available in the general version of analytics.

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If you can find any.

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> was most likely born I take it you just posted this comment for fun and didn't RTFA? That was the whole point; the author answered the question of how the tradition was born, down to the person and year.

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rtkwe 173 days ago | link

I did read it. And all he says is that C was zero based but doesn't say why that happened. Unless it was in the comment thread or one of the several second order articles which I'll freely admit I didn't read.

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