Either Google Book Search Needs to Tweak Its Recommendation Engine, or There Are Furniture-Building Secrets in “Freakonomics”

That is my conclusion after seeing this Google Book Search Page for a book called How to Build Your Own Furniture. The page lists three “Related Books,” including How to Make Your Own Recreation and Hobby Rooms, How to Build Your Cabin or Modern Vacation Home, and … Freakonomics.

Huh?

I am trying to think of what may have fooled the Google recommendation engine into tossing our book in there. While it is true that I was briefly a carpenter, and often think of writing a book as a process very similar to building a house, and probably therefore rely more than the average writer on verbs like “dovetail” and “hinge” (used in a non-carpentry manner, however), I cannot figure this one out. I do think that people who are interested in any of the other three books on the page are bound to be pretty disappointed if they happen to grab the fourth.

(Hat tip: Andrew Burkett)

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  1. srjones says:

    Perhaps people embue Google’s algorithms with too much “magic.”

    If you search Google for “Levitt”, the #3 and #5 results are for William Levitt, one the most prolific home builders of the 20th century. #6 is for a page entitled “Professor and Chair.”

    Also, the #7 result for a search of “Stephen Levitt” links to a blog called “Crooked Timber.”

    I’d say Google was just offering up books with mass appeal (sorry, that probably doesn’t include economics books) that matched any of the non-economic keywords “builder”, “home”, “chair”, “timber.”

    Bottom-line, I imagine Google’s economic motive is to push ads for popular, related products with a strong bias toward popular even when “related” is a stretch.

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  2. srjones says:

    Perhaps people embue Google’s algorithms with too much “magic.”

    If you search Google for “Levitt”, the #3 and #5 results are for William Levitt, one the most prolific home builders of the 20th century. #6 is for a page entitled “Professor and Chair.”

    Also, the #7 result for a search of “Stephen Levitt” links to a blog called “Crooked Timber.”

    I’d say Google was just offering up books with mass appeal (sorry, that probably doesn’t include economics books) that matched any of the non-economic keywords “builder”, “home”, “chair”, “timber.”

    Bottom-line, I imagine Google’s economic motive is to push ads for popular, related products with a strong bias toward popular even when “related” is a stretch.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0