Search Science

My seven year-old has lately been fascinated by science videos—especially those that feature the solar system, stars, planets, galaxies, etc.

Yesterday, she was browsing YouTube, mostly unsuccessfully, looking for interesting science videos she hadn't seen. She was a little frustrated, as many of the things she started to view were promotional or game related.

I stepped in, thinking I'd be able to navigate her to some better videos by using YouTube search. I typed in "science" and this is what we received.

While I can see Abbey actually liking the System of a Down video, the Thomas Dolby result was less than fulfilling for either of us. Moreover, the fourth result is typical of almost any YouTube search (search for X, get multiple hits with tits), and the fifth, while potentially relevant and interesting, is far too detailed for our purposes.

A recent TechCrunch piece puts our travails in perspective: "Search is a really bad overall experience."

The blame is partly mine, of course. After seeing my frustration—and giggling at the ginormous boobies that appeared when I searched "science"—Abbey said, "search for 'solar system.'" Smart kid.

"Solar system" indeed yielded better results, and we watched a fascinating video about scale and the size of stars. Additionally, the algorithm that suggested similar videos to this one proved useful too.

But it seems to me there's got to be something in between System of A Down, boobs, and relevant search for a query as benign as "science."

Maybe Abbey will figure out how to do that well. Hopefully someone gets us closer to relevance sooner, though.


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