Wednesday, June 14, 2006

An infinite number of monkeys?

I've read this twice-- no, three times now-- and I keep thinking it's got to be a joke. From Microsoft's job listings for MSN Search:

Hand crafted results
When all else fails, and the ranking algorithms do not pass the confidence threshold, we fall back to delivering handcrafted results. Working on a team of approximately 132 other handcrafters in 26 worldwide markets, you will receive a user query, use all the available search engines to quickly scour the web for results, pick the top 10 results for this query, and send it on to the user. Successful handcrafters can typically find top 10 results for a real-time user’s query in less than 3.8 seconds. This is an opportunity to truly connect with customers, because the queries that get routed to you are precisely the ones that the engine cannot answer well. We will have adequate staffing to allow generous coffee and bathroom breaks.
If you are an expert at using at least 3 different search engines, well versed with American English/colloquial usage, and can type at > 149 words/minute as measured by the Simia-Lico* method – come join us and delight users real-time!


No, really. See for yourself: http://search.msn.com/s/jobs/openings/search%20jobs.htm

And that's not a hidden link. Here's the trail:

Maybe someone forgot to take down an April Fool's prank? Or did some unusually subtle hackers get into the system? This can't be a serious job listing, can it?

Then again, this is the company that thought Bob was a good idea.



* From the Latin for "monkey-value?" -ed.
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