Tuesday, March 9, 2010

New from Google Labs: Google Honor

[Side note: Mazal Tov to me – At some point this past week we passed 100,000 page views on this blog. Of course, the number is somewhat undercounted, since many visits are not recorded by Sitemeter. Still, I appreciate the milestone, and thanks for reading!]

I am always amused when I check my “referrals” – the searches that bring people to my site. Some are conventional, like “Purim rabbi costume” “how to choose a rabbi” and “Judaism prohibits fun.” Others are more quirky, as in “husband punishment” and “Female Messianic Rebbetzin.” But among my favorites are the searches people do on their own names.

It’s no secret that people search for their own names on the Internet; who doesn’t want to know what people are saying about him, where she is being quoted, etc? And, yes, it’s a good idea to keep up on that sort of thing, just like we track ours credit ratings.

So I’ve been wondering. How about a new Google App: Google Honor.

Google Honor would fit with the company’s attempts to provide data of interest to the public: Develop software that finds people’s names on web pages, and assigns those names a score based on the positive or negative adjectives that appear in proximity to their names.

Higher scores would go to someone whose name appears in a sentence like, “Mordechai Torczyner is an amazing speaker,” lower scores to someone whose name appears in a sentence like, “Tim Horton is an awful speaker.”

Of course, this would require some optimizing, given popular phrases the meanings of which are vague to a non-human ear. As in, “I found Adam Smith's claims incredible,” and, “Donna Jones' work is amazingly bad,” and “Jason Menelaus's topic was frightening, but he handled it well.” The software would need significant sophistication.

But imagine if you could search your name and then get a score: 318, or 205, or -4350.

Imagine if you could search for your name and find out how nicely, or not nicely, people are talking about you, in just an instant.

Imagine if you could watch your popularity ebb and flow.

Imagine if you could know, with a simple number, exactly what people think about you.

Imagine – um.

Okay, maybe not.


  1. Then someone would have to create a counter-app called "Google Humility" or "Google Avinus"

  2. You obviously haven't fully acclimated to Canada. It would be called Google Honour here!

  3. Anonymous 8:47 AM-
    Indeed, I can't bring myself to do it.