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Old 08-02-2004   #1
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Bill Gates Talks Search

Microsoft Aiming to Deliver Personalized Search
Reuters
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmp...ft_search_dc_1

This time Mr. Gates himself talks search!

Quote:
"We're going to make search extremely personal," Microsoft chairman Bill Gates told an audience of computer science and technology researchers at the world's largest software maker's headquarters in Redmond, Washington.

Personalized search promises to deliver search results that are more relevant by taking into account an individual's interests based on previous search queries and other information.

Gates was responding to a question dealing with privacy issues and mentioned Microsoft's search efforts because users would have to provide private information to get personalized search results."
MS is also talking about a "more personalized" IM experience.

Last edited by garyp : 08-02-2004 at 09:29 PM. Reason: add link
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Old 08-04-2004   #2
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Let's hope it's not vapor

If all goes well, Microsoft's "very personalized search" will yield a much more relevant set of results for each user, in part by rendering the algo virtually "ungameable."

Even the concept of "ranking reports" for SEO's would become largely obsolete under this scenario (or would be forced to become more sophisticated.)

Let's hope all goes well.
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Old 08-04-2004   #3
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About a year or two ago at one of these SES conference, Google was asked about personalization. They asked the audience something to the affect of "What do you think is easier for the searcher, (a) a search engine that gives you different results based on the computer you are using or (b) a search engine that always returns relevant results based on the keywords you enter into that box." (of course I am not quoting word for word, so mentally remove the quotes)

Its funny how all that is changing in 2004.

I know its about MSN, but it reminded me about this Google statement.
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Old 08-06-2004   #4
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IMO the question is:
How is providing personalization and private information going to make my searches better?

Just because I am trained as an engineer and have a background in that field, is that enough (or is almost any reasonable amount ) information to determine if I an looking to buy an automobile or researching the habits of large cats when I enter the search term Jaguar into the search box, or that while this week I am interested in the habits of large cats but next week I may well be searcing for an automobile?

I suspect that effective personalization of search may not be as productive a field for improving the search experience as teaching searchers how to search better, and faster.
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Old 08-06-2004   #5
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Mel, you make a veeeryyy interesting point. Simple personalization is cool, maybe, but doesn't go far towards reading intentions or giving a user different flavors of search based on what a more savvy user might want to pull out of a search at a given time. I continue to maintain quixotically that if you had users who wanted to emphasize meta description data, .org in a domain, and penalize excess keyword density, for example, you would have one pretty interesting search engine to the advanced user. Let that user set the weightings in the algo. That would be another form of radical personalization.

Sigh, looks like I may have to start my own search engine company after all. Luckily the mass market isn't ready for this thinking yet, so there is time to ponder. It seems unlikely that it would be in Google's or Microsoft's interest to pursue some of the most radical and unusual potential search engine designs. That isn't to say they can't come up with stuff that would be breathtaking to the average person, but I think you're right -- if we get our hopes up too high on the next wave of personalization, we're bound to be disappointed.
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Old 08-06-2004   #6
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I certainly have not seen or heard anything about personalization that inerests me. One, I don't want to bother to take time to input data about my interests, etc. and two, if my interests are determined by a computer I find they are usually pretty far off. An easy example: My neflix account presumes to tell me how I might rate certain movies based on the movies I have rated. More times then not they very far off. considering I've rated over 1400 movies you'd think this kind of personalization would be more accurate, but the fact is, is that it can't because I like what I like and hate what I hate. My likes and dislikes cannot be supplemented by a computer algorithm.
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Old 08-06-2004   #7
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Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater, though. Amazon gathers knowledge of my buying patterns (and knows who "also bought what books"), and this ultimately helps them show me more relevant suggestions, but adds to their bottom line. Personalization is here to stay.

And as usual, the press are reporting the story in such oversimplified terms that it sounds scary to use the search engine ("by entering your personal information, you will be shown material that more closely matches your interests," -- yikes on several levels)... as opposed to the "discovery of possibilities" mentality that probably exists amongst the search scientists.

Google's current personalization in Google labs doesn't do all that much, but it is fun to play with. I tried "Bambi Francisco's Google" -- keep in mind that all this means is she's identified herself as interested in Business and Finance, Internet, etc. -- and for sure, the first page of results on many queries, especially the top two queries, was more relevant than the regular index.

So for example, when I used an example query of "portulacas dying" for the purposes of my presentation at SES, I noticed that some results were going on both keywords and didn't make proper sense of what I wanted. (Gardening advice.) One page mentioned portulacas in one breath, but was really about "mining towns dying." Had I identified my interests as being about gardening, it would be likely that this page would drop out of the first page of results, because Google's full-page scan probably reads the page as "primarily about mining and history." (Is Google doing almost invisible categorization / metadata here?)

So in those respects you would see fewer junky results, but only if you'd somehow signalled that you were a "gardener" above all else. As such it's a pretty limited experiment, but from this example the potential improvement in results is not hard to imagine.
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Old 08-06-2004   #8
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I believe it!

They are already showing this with their approach to the multingual search markets.
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Old 08-06-2004   #9
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>Let's hope all goes well.

Why do you hate SEO's, or have I got the wrong end of the stick?
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Old 08-07-2004   #10
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>Let's hope all goes well.
>Why do you hate SEO's, or have I got the wrong end of the stick?

NFFC, not to get too challenging toward you, but do you think there is really a deliberate hatred toward SEOs, or do you think it's possible that there's a natural antipathy between the SEO crowd and the PPC crowd?

I think you could hypothesize that what hurts one is very beneficial to the other, as witnessed by watching the behavior (read: gloating) of one particular PPC personage (who will remain nameless because he reads here) right after the Florida Debacle. The harder it gets to get rankings, the more people will turn to PPC, so it kind of makes sense.

If such a thing exists, do you think it's on a conscious level?

Last edited by Marcia : 08-07-2004 at 05:21 AM.
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Old 08-07-2004   #11
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I think what Microsoft means by personal search, ... take this scenario for example, you recall seeing/reading some information, it was just a few days ago, and you would like to read it again.

You can't remember if it was a file on your hard drive, or on your company intranet, or it may have been a page you viewed recently on the Internet.

Only Microsoft will have access to all three areas, by way of the operating system. That is personal.
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Old 08-08-2004   #12
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I think the idea of personalized search is more attractive than the short term results it is going to provide. As has been touched on it has to overcome conflicts of language, the vagaries of individuals and demands too much input.
MSN may be able to impact the search market share with it's push for this Holy Grail... but what they produce will not change the results that greatly.
They have to hang the pages on words and optimizers work that principle.
So say they start from an exclusion of paired terms - it will be discovered and worked.
Or they use an inclusion of paired terms the same result.
I think the engines have to become more personalized... actually more vertical. If the smaller engines want to impact the market share they should specialize.
Forget about going to MSN or Google or Yahoo... if you are looking for information about arts and literature you go to Art-Search.com, if you are looking for engineering you go to engineering-search.com.
Having just done a search for art-search.com it appears someone is moving in that direction (I wish them well).
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Old 08-08-2004   #13
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I think a more personalized search will lead to more personalized SEO. Clients will have the ability to target a more focused group of consumers.

There is the localized searches and results. If a consumer keeps searching within his home city, any new search will deliver local results.

But then when the consumer expands searches beyond their city limits, MSN will then try to figure out what their "tastes" are.

A high end product client may want SEO to attract the consumers that have been searching for Rolexes, Cadillac’s, and Cancun Vacations.

Or another SEO client may want to attract consumers that have been searching for Independent Films, Ikea, and Jazz.

The first SEO firms that can deliver this kind of optimization will be gold. Advertising agencies will be able to tell the SEO, "This is the profile of the consumers we want. Go get them."
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Old 08-10-2004   #14
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>not to get too challenging toward you

You know me Marcia, I *like* challenging.

I started a new thread to stop this one going off topic and to give Mr Goodman a chance to answer.

http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/...ead.php?t=1037
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