Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Search Engine Report

Chris Sherman

Is Google God?
Last week earnings doubled from previous year. So, maybe…

What are other search engines doing?
  • Ask is on fire, going to be rolling out more 1st cousins of search (encyclopedia, maps etc… hopes to be the number two player in search).
  • Google is being questioned about is it still a search engine or a portal? Just purchased youtube Google is now an advertising company (where the revenues are coming) Need more channels for advertising. What is their strategy?
    • List of 100 most important projects at Google
      • 70% is focused on searching apps
      • 20% for gain points for internet, i.e. youtube
      • 10% classified as bluesky
  • Microsoft (now called Live)
    • Homegrown search and search advertising (things are messy) used to be purchased from Yahoo
    • Brilliant features marred by confusing and inconsistent interface
    • Image search, live local – maps
    • The Steve Berkowitz factor
      • Guy who turned Ask around may turn this around
  • Yahoo
    • Major proponent of social search
    • Major revamp
    • Becoming a media company more than a search engine
§ All of these companies are envolving

  • Importance of research
    • Microsoft research has been around for ears
    • This year, Google started a research group, and Yahoo created a new international group
    • Gold in searcher behavior
    • Yahoo research
      • Disappointed if Yahoo’s effort didn’t produce a Nobel Prize.”
      • Recording 12 terabytes of searcher behavior data daily – about half of the library congress
  • Keep an Eye on the blogs for the search engines
    • Blog.ask.com
    • Googleblog.blogspot.com

Web 2.0 Hoohaw
“Web 1.0 was all about connecting people. It was an interactive space and I think web 2.0 is of course a piece of jargon, no body even knows what it means. If web 2.0 for you is blogs and wikis, then that is peo… -- Quote from Tim Berners-Lee

Cool web search tools

o Vertical searching

Liveplasma (music & movies)
o Using visual type search based on artist

o People tagging their music collections

o Aggregating real estate information
o Zestimates of homes in the areas

Yahoo search builder
o To create a vertical search engine or a set of websites to generate a search engine to add to a webpage

o Aggregated 20 years of airline pricing data. Not going to tell you where to buy, but tell you when it is the least expensive time to buy.

o Searches for travel deals

Seat Guru
o Maps airline seats for airplanes

Underground Map (London’s real underground map, London’s transport)

What the heck is social search?
o Simple definition: internet wayfinding tools informed by human judgment
o Informed can mean many things – including egregiously uniformed
o No good industry standard definition yet

We’ve always had social search
  • The very first guide to the web was created by Tim Berners-Lee in 1990
  • Yahoo was originally created by a team of human editors
  • Meta tags were created in 1996 you help content owners influence search engines – and were a massive failure
  • Algorithmic search is social
  • Fundamentally, search engines reflect human bias (programmer choices)
  • In addition, search engines observe human behavior – click paths, popular URLS, etc. – and use this to modify algorithms.
  • New personalization efforts are also used to refine search for everyone
So why the buzz now?
  • Algorithmic search has plateaued – innovation is much harder than it used to be
  • Humans are still better at some things than computers
  • A major factor – many, if not most of the players in social search are leveraging the work of volunteers
Types of social search
  • Shared bookmarks & web pages
    • Del.icio.us, shadows, myweb, furl, diigo
  • Tag engines (blogs & RSS)
    • Technorati, Bloglines
  • Collaborative directories
    • Open Directory Project, Prefound, Zimbio, Wikipedia*
    • Yahoo is still very strong, Yahoo has beefed up the editorial staff on the directory
  • Personalized verticals
    • Eurekster
    • Rollyo
  • Collaborative harvesters
    • Digg, Netscape, Reddit (popurls.com aggregates these)
    • Tend to be based on news, voting sites for content
  • Social Q&A sites
    • Google Answers, Yahoo Answers, Answerbag
  • Scale & Scope Issues
  • Tagging issues
    • Ambiguity of language
    • Lack of controlled vocabulary
    • Human laziness
    • And … idiots!
  • Spammers

What will ultimately work?
  • A combination of algorithmic and people-mediated search
  • Trust networks
  • Increased personalization and user control over result filtering
  • Social search will probably work best for non-text content (photos, music, video, etc)
Future Trends
  • The burring of content and process
  • More personalization
  • More dynamic interaction with both search and web sites
  • More vertical/mashup specialized sites
What role does government play in future trends?
  • USA – keeping hands off for most part, Justice department was rebuffed in getting records
  • Other countries will certainly have a role, China is held up as the “bad player”, however over 20 countries require the censoring of info from Google.
Which single language is emerging as dominant other than English?

What are examples that are inpoints Google is working on
“Google” check out (which handles all the shopping cart business if you want with no charge. Ebay has banned it on ebay sites).

Google book project…. Commonly thought that Google is trying to take over the publishing business. I believe that it isn’t, instead provides links for purchase and then OCLC check it out. I think it is the stealth mission, because it is trying to teach Google to read…….. (EEEEEEK)

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