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Benjamin: YouTube’s Search Technology Ain’t So Hot

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Benjamin loves construction backhoes and excavators. Wherever we drive, he helpfully points them out on the street. And he has several toy trucks, the most treasured of which are the backhoes that hover over us on the shelf at the head of our bed.

He also seems to love bowling. Annie’s cousin Nam often takes him to the bowling alley where he heaves a ball (a light version, approx 5 pounds) from chest-high, bouncing it down a child-friendly lane (rails prevent gutter balls) where it sometimes actually makes it all the way to the pins. We have bought several plastic bowling sets for the home on which I have honed my skills as a pin setter.

He also likes YouTube.

The result of all this is that Benjamin really likes browsing around YouTube, looking at videos of construction equipment and videos of bowling. So, I have created shortcuts/favorites for him - on the desktop and in the browser’s Links toolbar - that lead directly to these destinations. Once he’s comfortably on the site, the YouTube’s “Related Videos” feature gives him plenty with which to play.

Well, he - and Becca, as well - also likes Dora the Explorer. A few days ago, when he asked me to find him some Dora videos, a quick search within YouTube got us to the right page. And from there, he was fine. But I had neglected to save a shortcut for him.

So this morning, Benjamin comes to me and asks me to find some Dora videos for him. As I sit down at the computer, I see he is already on YouTube page, and he has already entered text into the YouTube search box.

Can you believe that? The kid saw me do it once and knows that this is the correct procedure. But he’s mystified why it’s not working. OK, the text he has entered is something like “Loe ii lf i”, but why should that matter?

Further, a quick look at his search history shows that he has tried several variations on this: “Loli e”, “i oe”, ‘fsof”, etc. But still no Dora videos.

FYI: Benjamin will be three-years-old in two weeks.

Just blown away by my little guy!

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