I am the founder of a large college professor rating website,
RateMyProfessors.com (http://www.ratemyprofessors.com). Our users add
about 300 new professors and about 1500 new ratings each day. It's a
free site, and we don't even require students to sign up or login in
order to make it easier to rate professors.
One of the drawbacks of not requiring a login is that I've had many
problems in the past with people adding fake professor names. Some
people who do this are professors who don't like the website, others
are just students messing around. In both cases, these people are
diluting the usefulness of the ratings and fill the database with
garbage. I've had to work long and hard to try to keep this garbage
data out, and now the Google web API has greatly improved my system
for keeping the data clean.
I have implemented a professor verification system that automatically
searches the web for the combination of both the teacher name and the
school domain for all newly added professors, using the Google web
API. If no results are returned, the professor is flagged for further
(human) review. If the professor is found in the search, I can be
pretty confident that it is a real professor. This system is already
saving me 5-10 hours of labor a week. This service that Google is
providing is a great thing for me.
I'm glad you found it interesting, and thanks again for providing this
useful web service. Google rules!