Many people in the information world believe that big search is generally better than small. The aim is to provide the largest number of results from a single query. Big search favors recall over precision. People saw it first with those clunky old web search engines such as AltaVista and Excite. Even in the early days of the web, these engines would regularly produce millions of results, primarily because they defaulted to a Boolean OR search. The philosophy seemed to be that users wanted a larger scope for searching than what just mere search words could bring them. Force the search to be even bigger and broader than the searcher intended, and the number of results will be impressive. When Google came along, users discovered the benefits of fewer but better results, ones that put precision ahead of recall. Google's results reflected what people asked for, and it got high marks for relevancy.
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