Monday, October 13, 2008

Comments, Links

I'm seeing an interesting new feature in my Chinese language Google searches these days. Search results that come from BBSs have an added line below the link that sometimes gives the number of posts, the number of posters and the date of the last post for that thread. An example:

求70年代广播体操音乐[已解决] 激动社区-大型视频化综合娱乐社区 ... - [ Translate this page ]
10 posts - Last post: Dec 2, 2007
求70年代广播体操音乐. ... 树型| 收藏| 小 中 大 3. 回复:求70年代广播体操音乐 . 哈哈哈,过瘾.偶好象只会做这一套广播体操. gototop ...
bbs.joy.cn/showtopic-1955872.htm - 75k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

I say it's interesting because I don't know what to make of it yet. My first reaction is to suspect that this would be impossible to keep up to date, but it looks like Google is doing some customization behind the scenes because some results omit parts of that line, presumably information they can't get from that page. For example, higher up on the page that yielded the result given above is another link with the line "7 posts - 7 authors" given, which hints that Google didn't find the date of last update on that page, whether by design or accident. This makes me think that they may have thought about the problem of freshness, as well as accounting for threads that span many pages.

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