Comfort in Consistency But Problems in Predictability

Apr 20, 2004 - 12:15 pm 0 by

This morning I went to my favorite bagel store to pick up breakfast. The guy who serves me saw me walk in the shop and yelled to the chef in the back, "two eggs on a bagel". I thought to myself, well that was nice - he knows what I wanted and ordered it for me. But then I thought, am I that predictable? maybe next time I should order something different. Being so predictable bothered me.

Let me relate this to search engines...

Search engines on one hand try to provide a level of consistency to their results in order to comfort the searcher. So if I search for "search engine roundtable" in Google, I want to find that this site listed number one every time and then find results that are relevant to the search engine roundtable under it. Relevancy and accuracy provides that level of comfort needed.

But on the other hand, search engines need to remove any level of predictibility in its search engine results. By that I mean, search engines can not and should not provide a schematic on how to ensure ones site is listed number 1, 2, or 3 for a selected keyword. If search engines were so predictable in terms of a person knowing he or she can guarantee a #1 spot for a specific keyword then it would be a joke. Same with the bagel story, if I walk in there and order the same thing each time, don't you think it might get a bit funny? It would be a problem if search engines were so predictable.

Consistency is comforting, predictability is problematic. My philosophical post for the month. :)


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