I have been heard to remark to other librarians on occasion a comment along the lines of “Don’t fear Google; Don’t Chase Google; Let’s Out-Google Google!” After allowing the confused stare linger for a moment or the hysterical laughter die down, I explain my thesis: we have something Google doesn’t have — no, it isn’t the selective care with which we select “authoritative” material (the PageRank algorithm does a pretty good job at that); and no, it isn’t our warehouses of books (the Google Book Search project will pretty effectively capture that) — we have faceted metadata. And lots of it.
Has anyone else started seeing what looks to be faceted topical headings at the top of Google searches? This past weekend I was the groomsman at my brother’s wedding and had the unfortunate timing to catch a case of conjunctivitis in both eyes the day before the ceremony. (“Does your camera have red-eye reduction setting?” I asked the photographer. She seemed confused, so I continued: “How about pink-eye reduction?” She looked a little closer at my eyes, laughed, and said “That’s what Photoshop is for.”) Wanting to know more, I did what any self-respecting information-finder would do — I asked Google. And here’s what came up.