[Web4lib] Google limit of 1,000 results

Karen Coyle kcoyle at kcoyle.net
Fri Jul 8 17:00:26 EDT 2005

We should also think about the 1000 limit in relation to the ranking 
that Google provides. My guess is that the ranking of documents follows 
a Zipf-ian curve (very high at first, then dropping quickly to level off 
at some value that stays about the same for the rest of the set), so 
that some number of documents are vying for the top position, but that 
many of the documents are tied in their ranking. However, because the 
ranking isn't shown you don't know when you are looking at a page if the 
items on that page actually rank higher than the previous or next pages. 
And among items of equal rank, what, if any, order is in effect?  So it 
is possible that after you see the first "n" screens, all of the 
documents after that are in essence in kind of random order, all equal 
in rank. However, there is nothing to indicate when you've reached the 
point where the ranking is no longer affecting the order of display. 
(Some search engines show a rank with the documents, so you at least 
know when you're in the dregs.)


Sloan, Bernie wrote:

>Here's what I heard back from Google regarding the limit on results
>"Google provides only the 1000 most relevant search results for a query,
>even when there are more than 1000 matches.
>(Due to variations in our estimates of results, we may occasionally
>display slightly fewer than 1000.) We try to make your search experience
>so efficient that it's not necessary to scroll past the first ten
>listings. We understand that some individuals would like to see more
>than 1000 results, but this isn't common, and it would heavily tax our
>system to provide these results for everyone." 
>Since other search engines also seem to limit the number of results
>returned, I don't think of it as a Google-specific problem. Would be
>nice if there was an option to go beyond 1,000 results, for those crazy
>few of us who sometimes search that far! :-)
>Bernie Sloan
>Senior Information Systems Consultant
>Consortium of Academic & Research Libraries in Illinois
>616 E. Green Street, Suite 213
>Champaign, IL  61820-5752
>Phone: (217) 333-4895
>Fax:   (217) 265-0454
>E-mail: bernies at uillinois.edu
>Web4lib mailing list
>Web4lib at webjunction.org

Karen Coyle / Digital Library Consultant
kcoyle at kcoyle.net http://www.kcoyle.net
ph.: 510-540-7596
fx.: 510-848-3913
mo.: 510-435-8234

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