Saturday, October 07, 2006

Internet trick of the week

Here is something that I, in all modesty, discovered myself. (Not to say others may not know about it.)

Say somebody sends you an article in email, and you want to find out who wrote it or published it.
What you do is you select a few significant words and paste them into Google with quotation marks around, and you get this.


Hannah said...

I love the internet :) And it's usually best to choose something that's not cliché, so that's going to be fairly original when you choose your search terms

Anonymous said...

Often enough also works with class handouts with the lecturer's name underneath (it seems not only students have issues with academic honesty).

Anonymous said...

Wow! That's really cool! I can certainly use that trick!

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Thank you very much.
It's good to get some feedback.

Hannah, you're right.
It is surprising, though, that if you select more than three or four words, how hard it is to find any sentence which has been used many many times. In other words a random string of words from a sentence is surprisingly likely to be unique.

Anonymous said...

Don't ever try it with sexual terms. I once was instructed to use the web for a research on a particular penis congenital malformation. Wasted two hours then gave up. Too much parasite porn.

It even got embarrassing, when a colleague had a peek and thought THAT was actually what I had been looking for. YOU try and explain it! "Work-safe" is highly uncertain in Urology...

For the record, the search was on "penis + hypospadias + classification". Even without "penis", it was catastrophic! Some XXX sites are really twisted.

Anonymous said...

You're quite right about that uniqueness business, certain categories of words excepted.

Also, sometimes if you look for a news article, you're likely to find it cloned many times.

But I once found a printing of a funny text, which I wanted to e-mail to a friend. I chose a specific bit of sentence, did a web search, and got ONE result. The web page from which the story had been printed.