Google Search Puzzles

Google searches and the number of results they give on October 28, 2008.

chicago developer about 414,000

chicago web developer about 72,100,000

chicago web designer about 9,110,000

chicago designer about 439,000

Can you solve this puzzle? Why more specific queries give more results when they should give less?! Why are there more of civil engineers, than (all) engineers? Why are there more chicago web developers than (all) chicago developers?

I am curious to know your hypothesis that can ‘explain’ above results.


Since no one replied so far, I will give my hypothesis:

Google has several indexes. One for words used in webpage titles, another for the page content text, than another called supplemental index (being denied by Google), and possibly one more for obsolete and by everyone forgotten pages (few low PR links pointing to them).

‘chicago developer’ is quite a common phrase, and Google retrieved enough document from the first ‘intitle’ index, so it looked no further, and gave an approximate number of total results.

‘chicago web developer’ is not as common phrase in ‘intitle’ index, so Google had time to look in the main content text index in which it is a very common occurrence, as judged by the puzzle example above. Also, as it looked into the more comprehensive index, it gave a more accurate number of total results.

Similar is valid for phrases ‘chicago designer’ and ‘chicago web designer’.

But what happens if you look for:

‘chicago programmer’ or ‘chicago web programmer’?

This time results are ‘normal’ and logical. First query gives more results than the more specific second query. Why is that???

Because even the first query didn’t have enough results in the ‘title’ index, and Google had to search the more comprehensive text index for it, and have therefore given the accurate ‘total results’ number right away.

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