Journalists Using Google As Their Source On Popularity

from the maybe-good,-maybe-bad... dept

People like numbers. Numbers give them something concrete when discussing ideas that may not be concrete at all. Thus, it’s no surprise to see people gravitate to any sort of system that gives them a numerical value that they can use to prove a point – and the most popular method these days seems to be doing a Google search and looking at the number of results. That’s the whole point behind Googlefight, after all. However, someone has noticed that lazy journalists are often using Google result counts as the final arbiter on popularity – and doing no additional research. Jeremy Wagstaff points out that, like many other things, such tools have good uses and bad uses. While many journalists are clearly using this because they’re lazy, that doesn’t mean all uses of the technique are bad. Full disclosure: I did use the Google results count technique in a presentation I gave at an O’Reilly conference a few years back, but at least I admitted that it was totally unscientific.

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