Sunday, March 09, 2008

Google Search alert for DVPDS is not very useful

I wrote a vision proposal for something I called Distributed Virtual Personal Data Storage (DVPDS) and I signed up for a Google Alert for "DVPDS" so that I could track any references. Alas, the alert is essentially useless, likely due to one or more bugs in the Google search/alert software.

Almost every single day I get an email from Google Alerts that looks like this:

Google Web Alert for: DVPDS

Plato's Cosmology: The Timaeus of Plato
If, then, ^ is not the dvpds or " breath-soul" proper but represents something else in the living man, we are left with something gaseous and so liable to ...

There are three problems with this alert:

  1. It occurs almost every single day even though I am sure that the source, a scanned book (Google Books), is not being updated every single day.
  2. The referenced document, a scanned book, does not in fact contain the text "DVPDS" or "dvpds". In fact, the text contains the Greek text "qumsz" (as close as I can tell.) Actually the fourth character appears to be an accented "o". My guess is that Google is actually scanning the Greek letter graphics and matching them to the closest Latin letters. They do look like a vague visual match.
  3. My intended alert was for only the acronym, "DVPDS", not the lower-case "dvpds."

Does anybody have any contacts at Google to pass these two bugs and a usability concern along to? Thanks!

-- Jack Krupansky


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