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Archive for November, 2012

Google Image Search Now Dumber

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Google Advanced Image Search
Google Advanced Image Search
What Happened to the Image Size Filter?

It seems that with every passing year Google throws away some search capability that I found useful. The latest victim is Google’s Advanced Image Search tool. In using Google’s Advanced Image Search one of the features I used most regularly was the ability to filter results based on image size. I had the option of doing this either at the time I was entering my search criteria or from the filter sidebar on the search results page.

When I’m searching for a photograph I don’t want to be bombarded with every thumbnail image that has a tie in to my search term(s). I therefore ALWAYS specify a minimum image size. Of course when I am specifically looking for icons and such I specifically want small images. I have found the ability to search based on image size the single most useful image search filter Google offers.

Earlier today I headed over to Google’s Advanced Image Search to look for an image of Uncle Sam to use for a presentation I was working on. I looked once, twice, thrice and could not find the image size option. Thinking something was askew with the page itself, I reloaded the page but still no option to specify the image size. Thinking that maybe I’d be able to select an image size on the search results page (an option I had frequently used in the past), I pressed enter to start the search. Yikes. Google has eliminated ALL search options from the sidebar area on the image search results page. What on Earth are the Google developers thinking? Perhaps I was only imagining the size filter?

Google Advanced Image Search Help Page
Google Advanced Image Search Help Page

Nope. Visiting the image search help page, there it is – the image Size option. So Google’s Advanced Image Search is now much less advanced than it used to be, as well as much less useful. I can’t imagine what justification there was for removing not only the image size option, but also the entire search results sidebar. I hope that Google’s decision to drop size as a search option generates enough uproar that Google brings back what I found to be the single most useful filter that the Advanced Image Search tool offered. I also hope that they bring back the results page filters sidebar that allowed me to change my search options without having to return to the main site search entry page.

Google Reference Links

Alternative Image Search Engines

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Chicago Tribune and Polling Distortion

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Chicago Chicago Tribune Poll
Chicago Chicago Tribune Poll and Article Illustration
(note article layout and dimensions changed for spacing purposes)

People pay attention to polls and a good poll is a useful source of information about public opinion. However, polls can be very easily manipulated by those conducting them. In the category of what I’ll generously call sloppy methodology, the Chicago Tribune wins the prize for a recent article they did regarding a poll they conducted on the public’s attitude as to who is to blame for the unfunded pension liability mess the state of Illinois is in.

In a Chicago Tribune 10/17/2012 headline that proclaims Most blaming pols, not unions for pension crisis, we see a wonderful example of how the question being asked and the possible answer categories can utterly distort the results of the poll.

According to the article, in a poll of likely Illinois voters, the question that was asked was

Who is most to blame for the unfunded pension system:

and the possible answers are

  • public workers
  • state politicians
  • both
  • neither

What is glaringly obvious is that public sector unions is not an answer option – thus making it impossible for the poll respondents to blame the unions. While I have heard many people blame the unions and read various editorials that blame the unions, nowhere have I seen or heard accounts of people blaming the workers themselves – which is the answer option provided in this poll. Therefore the validity of this poll is worthless for the context in which it is being used. Obviously it is not just the wording of poll questions that can produce biased and skewed results, bias is also found in the wording of the answers and in what answer options are provided.

My one unanswered question is this: was this done deliberately with a political objective in mind or was it done foolishly on the part of the reporter?

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