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Dec 17 2010

Google can now filter by “reading level”

This is a really neat advanced search feature just released by Google! You can now filter by “reading level,” including within posts for a certain site. How do they determine what’s considered Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced?

The feature is based primarily on statistical models we built 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.

Okay, I’m sure that’s not a perfect method, but it’s still nifty. For example, nature.com comes up very advanced:
I wonder what my blog looks like?Oh…um… well, I’m sure that’s just a result of blogging in general, right? We’re all a bit more informal around here.
…Well, PZ does a lot more reviews of scientific articles than me, I’m sure that helps his score. Surely I must be better than something like

I’m going to interpret this as “I write in a way that’s easily accessible to the general public,” rather than “I write like a goddamn moron.”*

*I should note that my ex-boyfriend pointed all of this out to me, along with this. I think this is payback for my quip about engineers being bad in bed. Internet karma, indeed.

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