I made a fun toy web app today while learning some new rails stuff. It’s a game where you try to come up with phrases that are long but also return a lot of search results on google. The inspiration comes from playing around with google myself, either looking at how often common set phrases appear in google scholar (e.g. “the rest of the paper is organized as follows”) or just looking at where unusual phrases pop up in Google (e.g. “I thought it was my girlfriend”).
I played around with different ways of scoring the searches. I want to reward long phrases and popular phrases; we don’t want “people” to win, but we also don’t want a long piece of text of that appears only once to win either. The scoring at this point is
(number of hits)*(number of words in phrase – 1)^3
This way you get no points for a single word search, and you seem to do pretty well if you come up with a common four word search like “the new york times.” I might tweak a bit to further reward long phrases, but it works pretty well for now.
There are a lot of things I would do to make this ready for prime-time, but my girlfriend and I can confirm that it’s pretty fun to play already. Below is a screenshot of the top 20 highest scoring words in about an hour of playing.
I really think this could be fun — I just need to spend a day or so on tweaking some things and get some front-end help from a couple of friends. Also finish my dissertation.