ASIS&T 2013 Annual Meeting 
Montréal, Québec, Canada | November 1-5, 2013

Comparing Google’s Readability of Search Results to the Flesch Readability Formulae: A Preliminary Analysis on Children’s Search Queries

Dania Bilal, University of Tennessee

Monday, 10:30am


Results retrieved by Google on fifteen search queries were examined for readability based on Google Reading Level personalization option. These results consisted of the links and snippets and corresponding web page texts, totaling 150 single results and 150 web page texts. Google Reading Level of texts was compared to the reading difficulty scores and grade levels generated by the Flesch Reading Ease and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level measures. Based on the Flesch measures, a high number of results and corresponding web page texts Google retrieved across the queries were Fairly Difficult, Difficult, or Very Confusing to middle school children. The assigned Reading Level to these results and texts by Google did not match well to the reading scores and grade levels of the Flesch measures. Implications are made for Google interface designers, as well as teachers, parents, and school librarians.