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The Pursuit of Happiness

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The International Day of Happiness is the 20th of March. It was established by the United Nations General Assembly on 28 June 2012. So now we are all happy right? Umm, in fact the UN simply said they were conscious that the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal, and that they recognised the need for a more inclusive and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes sustainable development, poverty eradication, happiness and... you get the picture. So if the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal lets adopt our philosophy of search'n you'll find and see what we get...

Okay lets fire up the browser and try entering How to be Happy into, that gets us About 2,270,000,000 results (0.20 seconds), or does it? Well not exactly, if you have your display set to ten results to a page and keep on clicking the highest number page link at the bottom you will soon run out of pages, when I tried this the highest number page link went from page 10 to 14, then 18, 22, 26, 27 and then...

“In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 262 already displayed. If you like, you can repeat the search with the omitted results included.”

So lets see what happens when we click on the link to see the rest of the claimed 2,270,000,000 results. This time the highest number page again proceeds all the way to page 80. Hmm... so we actually have only about 800 results to view! Try the experiment with any search word you like and let me know if you get beyond page 1000!

What about With the same search words this shows 170,000,000 results at the top of the page. Again if we click through the pages we get as far as page 85, so around 850 pages! So this is not a problem with Google but simply a limitation of popular Web search engines.

OK so it seems we can easily find 800 pages of advice to make us happy, and if it takes 10 minutes to read each page that’s 133 hours - a couple of weeks if we read for 8 hours a day! So in practice returning millions of results is not likely to be useful unless you have a way of searching within those results to narrow the topic down a bit.

How does dtSearch compare? Well dtSearch Desktop returns 5000 results by default and allows you to 'search within these results'. Its built in Spider is not designed to follow from website to website, it has to be fed with the list of URLs you want to index, but it will follow links within the same website, can log-in to password protected websites and you can also provide it with an XML site map file; it will search all the pages in the site map even if they are not all linked to each other, this is useful for a terminology look-up site for translators such as where pages aren’t linked to each other, in fact has many sitemaps e.g. linked from !

So back to happiness, it seems that there is plenty of advice out there for those in pursuit of happiness, at least for those of us fortunate enough to be able to have access to the Internet and the ability to enter a search term into a search engine...

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