Google Launches “Reading Filter”

Google has added a new search feature to its search engine results pages that will allow web surfers to check the ‘reading level’ of websites.  The new search can be switched on via the ‘advanced search’  button and the websites are rated on a scale of basic, intermediate, and advanced.

Google hired teachers to grade webpages then created a model that could be applied to any webpage.

Google’s Product Manager, Web Search, Nundu, said, “This feature is based primarily on statistical models we build with the help of teachers. We paid teachers to classify pages for different reading levels, and then took their classifications to build a statistical model. With this model, we can compare the words on any webpage with the words in the model to classify reading levels. We also use data from Google Scholar, since most of the articles in Scholar are advanced.”

So essentially, teachers graded webpages based on how difficult they are to read/comprehend, and web searchers reap the so-called benefits. I suppose this could be helpful, like in the terms of say, a younger kid doing research for a school paper, but as far as being an adult, I can’t imagine most searches really NEED a reading-level system.

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