Mike Tung, a grad student at Stanford, was fed up with US News’s ranking of America’s Best Colleges – so he did his own. building a quite interesting statistical analysis using Google to rank the US’s best colleges and Universities.
The factors he used to determine “best” were:
1. Peer assessment [link:www.stanford.edu] – This is how some search engines approximate “peer assessment”, by counting the number of other pages citing you
2. Size [site:www.stanford.edu] – a larger school would have a larger web, right? =)
3. Number of faculty [dr. “home page” site:www.stanford.edu] – hopefully those professors have websites that mention “dr.” and “home page”
4. Scholarly Publications[“Stanford University” in scholar.google.com]
5. News mentions [“Stanford University” in news.google.com]
The bottom line – the UW came out #1! Very cool, not just for that result, but for the methodology of data mining the Web for this kind of purpose.