Google Appears to Mix Strain Ratings With Movie Reviews for ‘Pineapple Express’ Film
Sly Easter egg for cannabis lovers or an algorithm error? Conducting a Google search for the Seth Rogen-James Franco stoner comedy Pineapple Express returns a movie knowledge graph result that includes the film’s aggregate rating from IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, and…Leafly?
Those of you who are familiar with our strain ratings should know that Leafly did at one point have a 10-point scale for strain reviews, but a few years ago we updated our website and trimmed the scale down to a 5-star system. The popular hybrid Pineapple Express currently has a 4.4 average ranking based on nearly 1,700 reviews.
Sometimes the Google search will display dispensary price comparison website Wikileaf’s average strain rating in addition to aggregate film scores:
I checked a few other movies that overlap with cannabis strains of the same name. Curiously, none of them appear to pull in a strain review aggregator’s rankings.
Next up is a search for “3 Kings,” which in addition to being a relaxing hybrid strain, also brings up results for the David O. Russell-directed Three Kings starring George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, and Ice Cube:
Nothing eyebrow-raising returned when I searched for LA Confidential, which is both a fantastic noir-style throwback detective drama and a potent indica with the same name.
And despite the fact that some cannabis would pair nicely with the sci-fi cult favorite The Fifth Element, no strain rankings for the indica 5th Element appear (although I didn’t have a multipass, so maybe that’s why I was out of luck):
Why Is This Data Being Pulled Into Search Results?
Our senior content strategist David Karalis weighs in on why movie searches typically pull up a “knowledge graph” result:
Google launched the Knowledge Graph in 2012 to improve the relevancy of their search results by allowing them to recognize different people, places, and things, and how these entities relate to one another. The output is the panel in the search results you see in the screenshots above, which Google aims to include all of the details it deems necessary about your search in; for movies, this usually includes reviews, the director, the cast, and more. Google’s goal here is to move to a “semantic search” model, which seeks to better understand the intent and contextual meaning behind the overarching topic of someone’s search. The search giant process over 40,000 search queries per second, so they have a lot of data to draw from when tying together different topics and subtopics.
However, this still doesn’t answer the question of why Leafly strain reviews are being pulled into the Pineapple Express movie Knowledge Graph.
Since thus far I’m only able to spot this “error” for the 2008 canna-friendly film, I suspect it could be a winking nod from a Google engineer who slipped in the result while binge-watching episodes of 227 and eating fondue. We’re pickin’ up what you’re puttin’ down, Google.