Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Google gets fed up of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael; Invents new party

Google has clearly gotten into the Irish 2011 General Election with a huge amount of enthusiasm. Spurred on by a high search volumes in all of the political parties, Google is seeking to make it a bit easier with the new "Fianna Gael" party - which stands a pretty good chance of winning...

Google has a habit of grouping keywords together and often assembling new keyphrases based on words from different seaches. Each time you search - Google is "learning" - using pattern recognition. A major part of Google's drive is to essentially help you find things faster. So, it's take to optimising the whole search process - from the start of the search idea right through to delivery:

Here's how it does it:

  • Rapid search - searching billions of documents in split seconds using caches and compiled indices
  • Search Phrase suggestion (as you type, a predictive text style phrases suggester - see below)
  • Instant Results (where results display as your type, requires you to be signed in or 'recognised'; highly annoying)
  • Benchmarking the sites in the index to make sure the sites it sends you to are fast too (based on an average)

A famous example recently, was during "DrunkGate" - when you started typing in "Brian Cow" for "Brian Cowan", the predictive text or phrase suggester displays: (suggestions in Bold)

During the day it emerged, the "Brian Cowen Drunk" suggestion was first, demonstrating Google's focus on "trending" searches. If it was me, I'd be heavily engaged in Reputation and Personal Brand Management but this obviously doesn't matter to everyone. The suggested searches above are horrendous at best. There are now positives, only some neutrals.

Back to the topic at hand - Google often slices "related" keyphrases (one or more words in a group : Keyphrase but still called a keyword). The biggest search phrases are, according to the Google Keyword tool, "Fine Gael" (14k lcoal searches) and "Fianna Fail" (9,9k local searches). This isn't remotely accurate. It's based on a sliding curve/pattern system and multiplied out. The numbers are just too even - anyone who works with stats would find that more than a bit odd!.

But the oddest and funniest suggestion is "Fianna Gael":

And its not just a suggestion. Google's taking it quite seriously - having added the search volume for "Fine Gael" and "Fianna Fail" together - Google estimates a colossal 23k searches per month - making it the biggest political party in Ireland. So, if you're voter and can't make your mind up - try these guys. In fact, Google is so confident about it's new political party, it clearly doesn't think much of Voter Apathy - with "Why Vote" only topping 170 monthly searches....


  1. Excellent post David. Google invents a new party and now we can all play fantasy government. Interesting insight into the search process and also this demonstrates how important it is to manage ones on-line reputation. I suspect that Brian Cowen and Fianna Fail have given this no thought at all. What a political epitaph – Mr. Cowen’s digital legacy – the top 3 words associated with his name are jokes, salary and drunk. Sad.

  2. @Helen Thank you Helen. Presumably Google's new party won't be taxing the internet like the Greens. You have to wonder how a politicians can govern the internet when they have such a narrow view of it. The internet's success lies, in part, to the complete lack of [Irish] Government interference. Imagine if an Irish "Department of Internet Stuff" was tasked to invent the interwebz? /shudder/