Google and Wikipedia interdependence extends to Japan

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As the author of the Wikipedia nofollow WordPress plugin, I’m always on the lookout for stories about how Google and Wikipedia are getting on with each other. Recently I spotted this story on The Register about Encyclopedia Britannica complaining that Google ranks Wikipedia too highly. Naturally EB would complain about such a thing, but what particularly caught my eye was mention of an experiment Nick Carr, a member of the Brittanica’s board of editorial advisors, performed, looking up ten diverse topics in Google. Then, all 10 appeared on the first page of Google with two number ones. The current situation is all are now top of the pile, so I wondered what happens if I try the equivalent phrases in Japanese. I translated the terms by accessing the English Wikipedia then switching to Japanese, and using the article title. Also, since Google and Yahoo! battle it out for dominance in Japan, I used both engines, with the following results:

TermGoogle RankJapaneseGoogle Japan RankYahoo! Japan Rank
World War II1第二次世界大戦11
Israel1イスラエル12
George Washington1ジョージ ワシントン11
Genome1ゲノム12
Agriculture1農業16
Herman Melville1ハーマン メルヴィル11
Internet1インターネット117
Magna Carta1マグナ カルタ11
Evolution1進化11
Epilepsy1てんかん11

There are five non-first places in Yahoo!,something one can take as a good or a bad sign. For agriculture, ahead of Wikipedia in 4th place was Yahoo!’s own encyclopedia, an electronic version of a popular paper dictionary. The internet only making 17th place in Japanese is another curious outcome.

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