today i learned – mon 13th feb 2017

with macklemore & ryan lewis pleasing my earholes, we’re starting with a relatively geeky first #todayilearned thanks to my least favourite people – google.

the thing i learned today is that the star rating that google gives to each business isn’t actually an average of all the star ratings that the business has … nope, that’d be far too simple for google.

a google business star rating is actually “an overall rating based on user ratings and a variety of other signals to ensure that the overall score best reflects the quality of the establishment”  (

the actual technical term for what they do is a bayesian average (i didn’t know what that meant either…after many many complex formulas, I still don’t). basically – according to another dude on the google forums – “it takes into account the number of ‘ratings’, so that a single five star rating, doesn’t get an automatically higher rating than 10x five star ratings and 1x four star rating”. (

to be fair to google, i guess it does make sense – it certainly helps internet wanders have faith in the businesses that they search for; even if they only have a couple of reviews, you’re getting the rating that best reflects the service that you’ll receive.

that said, this is google, so i very much imagine that they’re actually guessing at what the rating should be whilst taking turns on the fabulous slides (i’m actually just jealous). either way, if you ever wonder why your business isn’t showing the star rating you’d expect, now you know why.

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