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My Web Search Barometer

One of my colleagues is something of a search prodigy. In the interests of keeping him somewhat anonymous, we’ll refer to him as Bobo.

My immediate workgroup has a little lunchtime cabal (let’s call them Bobo, Ruskie, Shirley and Dragoon until I come up with better names), and we frequently end up discussing weird and wonderful subjects, each throwing “facts” into the ring ad nauseam, each trying to out-fake the others with 40% more made-up statistics.

When we plonk ourselves back down at our desks for the afternoon work stint, there’s often an email from Bobo with a series of search links, already vetted for relevance, presented with loving precision.

This phenomenon was so common at one stage that we coined a verb to describe it: to Bobogle. “Chortle! When we get back I bet that’s Bobogled!”.

So Bobo acts as my web search barometer. I’m typically pretty confident that whatever he’s using is probably Good Enough For Me.

I’d tried to get him to switch to MSN Search a few months ago, but he’d found Google consistently returned better results at the time. (I tend to see-saw between the two, with whatever provides the best results for my current needs left selected as the default for next time (using the Maxthon and/or IE7 Search providers drop-lists)). Yep, that’s right – I use whatever works better at the time (and usually a selection).

On Friday, I was trying to Google something with Bobo riding shotgun, and he interjected: “Um, actually, recently I’ve found MSN Search is better than Google for most things these days. The relevance seems better.”

So, looks like the pressure is building towards MSN Search at the moment, which is good; I hope they continue to improve. I don’t doubt the pendulum will swing either way for a long time to come, but that’s an excellent job on catch-up.

Now we need to come up with a new branded nickname for Bobo, Bo-ess-enn doesn’t quite work (but might work better with his real name…)

[Aside: an example of Bobogling was an argument I had with Ruskie about RCA jacks: I had mentioned that Red and White connectors were standard, commonly accepted colours of right and left audio channels; Russkie insisted that this was only on stereo equipment from circa 1970, and that “all” recent stereo equipment of any value and quality whatsoever must surely use Red and Black instead. We agreed that Yellow was typically video. Bobo provided a range of research on the subject, and concluded that Ruskie was insane. Or at least making stuff up…]