Screening for "Screed Door"

When I first encountered the misspelling "screed door" I amused myself by imagining it to refer to a e-mail filter that would screen out political and religious rants. I'm not sure that many people actually think the phrase "screen door" should be spelled this way. It could be a typo caused by anticipation of the D in "door" or a compressed version of "screened."

At any rate I put it on my "More Errors" page because it's amusing, though not really common.

I searched for the phrase between quotation marks in Google and initially got 5,470, which would have qualified it as modestly popular. But that seemed unlikely to me, so I continued to click through Google's results until I got to page 48, at which point the total reported dropped to 472.

This behavior in the way Google reports hits is fairly well known among people who use the search engine for this kind of work, but puzzling. The Google folks are pretty smart. Why haven't they fixed this a long time ago?

At any rate, if you search for an odd word or phrase in Google to determine the number of hits you'll get, don't stop at the first page of results, because the answer given will almost certainly be wrong.

No comments: