Limitation of the number of search terms in search engines

  • #1
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Why does Google limit its searches with 32 terms? I think other search engines seems to not limit but adding more terms for some reasons such as filtering does not work, for example in Yahoo.

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  • #2
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You have to have limit somewhere.

Ive never had to use so many terms.
 
  • #3
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You have to have limit somewhere.

Ive never had to use so many terms.
Yes, I have to limit somewhere but what if we need more than the search engine's limitation criteria, for Google 32 terms?

Thank you.
 
  • #4
phinds
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Yes, I have to limit somewhere but what if we need more than the search engine's limitation criteria, for Google 32 terms?

Thank you.
Can you give an actual, meaningful, example requiring so many terms?
 
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  • #5
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Can you give an actual, meaningful, example requiring so many terms?
For example when we search for an artist/painter with knowing her or his first name and photograph. We might want to search for who he or she is. Let's think her name is Angelica.

There are 25 pages for Angelica artist. Then we might start to filter some unrelated professions and surnames. Because we want less unrelated pictures when click to the images. This is an actual example. Is it O.K now? Filteration of unrelated professions, surnames might require so many terms. Do you agree? I am actually wondering about technical background or technical reason of this situation. There was a similar case for Twitter. Twitter raised the number of words currently.

Thank you.
 
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  • #6
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Another real-world example as far as I remember: We might search an English phrase with two words. We might set the search for a special language, for example our native. The results will contain that phrase but you don't want some phrase with three words containing that two-worded one. We might start to filter some three-worded ones which we think unrelated or unnecessary. This example might be for learning a phrase's corresponding translations. There might be lots of real world examples requiring so many terms. I could remember only the two.

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  • #7
DavidSnider
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32 is a very common "word" size and that is why many things are limited to that number (or 2^32, for example) on computers. Perhaps it has something to do with the number of bits in their set filtering data structure. Could be a lot of things.
 
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  • #8
phinds
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This is an actual example. Is it O.K now?
Seems like a stretch to me, but maybe that's just me.
 
  • #9
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Seems like a stretch to me, but maybe that's just me.
What is stretch?

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  • #10
DavidSnider
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If you're choosing good search terms it's hard for me to imagine needing over 32 to uniquely identify something. Even if your terms are so poor as to only eliminate half the set at each step you could uniquely identify one out of a billion in 30 terms.
 
  • #11
phinds
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What is stretch?

Thank you.
It means you have to REALLY extend (stretch) your imagination to come up with something like that.
 
  • #12
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It means you have to REALLY extend (stretch) your imagination to come up with something like that.
The two examples were real to me. I gave them instantly. As I said before, I was wondering about the reasons.

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  • #13
Vanadium 50
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Can you give an actual, meaningful, example requiring so many terms?
Apparently not.

There are 25 pages for Angelica artist.
Which is two words, Not thirty-two.
 
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  • #14
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Apparently not.



Which is two words, Not thirty-two.
That's the two words. Additional filtering terms will be added. Angelica artist -kauffman. After it, Angelica artist -kauffman -pozo. Then Angelica artist -kauffman -pozo -mesiti. The process might continue in this way until related one to be found. This apparently could be a real example. Sometimes pages might be more than 25 and after filtering some terms and results the number of pages might not decrease because new pages might be added. I think the topic was reason of 32 terms, not whether so many terms required or not.

Thank you.
 
  • #15
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Yes, I have to limit somewhere but what if we need more than the search engine's limitation criteria, for Google 32 terms?
Use another search engine that is capable of more than 32 terms, I guess. Whether one exists or not, I wouldn't have the slightest clue.
 
  • #16
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Then Angelica artist -kauffman -pozo -mesiti.
And now we're up to five.
  1. You have still failed to come up with a specific example.
  2. Your "meta-example" has no logical end. No matter what the limit is - and there will always be a limit, since we can't build a computer larger than the universe - you can always say "but what if you need a trillion and one search words?" And before you pooh-pooh that as impractical, I would argue you've pretty much reached the level of practicality long before 32.
 
  • #17
phinds
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@mech-eng as you can see from the responses in this thread, most of us do not agree with you that there is any need for even 32 much less more than 32 so it's not surprising that the developers of the browser, who DO have to limit it to some amount, felt that 32 was plenty.
 
  • #18
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And now we're up to five.
  1. You have still failed to come up with a specific example.
  2. Your "meta-example" has no logical end. No matter what the limit is - and there will always be a limit, since we can't build a computer larger than the universe - you can always say "but what if you need a trillion and one search words?" And before you pooh-pooh that as impractical, I would argue you've pretty much reached the level of practicality long before 32.
Should all searches be practical? If you have a limited information as the example of artist you cannot be practical. What could be better way to find image of related artist, knowing his or her face, if you don't want unrelated ones? I think the answer is the filtering option and this means adding new terms, doesn't it?. When adding new terms one cannot know where to stop.

Should people always do practical searches, do people not wonder about just for fun or for learning new things? If you are wondering about collocations with the word case such as bow case, knife case what would you do, how would you search the collocations without filtering?

Thank you.
 
  • #19
phinds
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Should all searches be practical? If you have a limited information as the example of artist you cannot be practical. What could be better way to find image of related artist, knowing his or her face, if you don't want unrelated ones? I think the answer is the filtering option and this means adding new terms, doesn't it?. When adding new terms one cannot know where to stop.

Should people always do practical searches, do people not wonder about just for fun or for learning new things? If you are wondering about collocations with the word case such as bow case, knife case what would you do, how would you search the collocations without filtering?

Thank you.
Did you not understand post #17? You have a particular point of view. Most people do not agree with it. The developers of the browser do not agree with it. Get over it and move on.
 
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  • #20
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Did you not understand post #17? You have a particular point of view. Most people do not agree with it. The developers of the browser do not agree with it. Get over it and move on.
Yes. It is the preferance or choice of the developers.

Thank you
 
  • #21
fluidistic
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Probably because it's hard to come up with an algorithm that makes sense out of more than 32 terms if the goal is to return a meaningful result that won't be retrieved with less than 33 terms.

A more bothering limitation I face is with duckduckgo's images limitations. Between 100 and 200 images. When you're used to browse thousands of pictures in google images, it hurts.
 
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  • #22
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It should be about benefit vs cost: there aren't enough people needing to search 32+ terms at once, to justify the computational cost (which should increase by each added term) that it would bring.
 
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  • #23
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Should all searches be practical?
The software developers are assuming that people will be making reasonable (i.e., practical) searches.

It should be about benefit vs cost: there aren't enough people needing to search 32+ terms at once, to justify the computational cost (which should increase by each added term) that it would bring.
This...
 

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