Thursday, January 26

A Better Search Algorithm: People

Following up on my previous post "The Web is more powerful than a brain", the article Yahoo's Social Circle is particularly succinct reminder of how the big players are developing this theme.

A couple of paragraphs stand-out for me:

It sounds great, but there are plenty of skeptics. Most Internet users haven't even heard of Flickr or, let alone spent time sharing photos online or posting bookmarks of their favorite sites. Alexa Internet ranks as the 364,886th most trafficked Web site. Google is ranked third by the researcher.
Others doubt the wisdom of crowds will offer much of an upgrade over the feats of raw computing power. "It really adds very little value to what is available now," says Raul Valdes-Perez, CEO of Vivisimo, which provides search technology to enterprises. "The best description of a document is the document itself."

It is certainly true that these 'tools' are not quite at tipping point. But as we know, once they tip they move so quickly that competitors will have missed the boat.
Read into this what you want, for me it's one of those few occassions where you can see the next trend and have an opportunity to be part of it... before it tips.

The idea below that some how search (as we know it, Jim) and social search (not as we know it, Jim) are mutually-exclusive polar opposites puzzles me. And I would be very suprised if either Google or Yahoo see it that way. Indeed Google is itself involved in a huge social search project, that little thing called Google Base. A self proclaimed project to index the world - they're inviting users to post-content, links to content which are self-tagged.

MORE PLAYERS. Google, by most appearances, is also tepid on the prospects of social search. Sure, the search giant has developed and acquired social-networking sites, such as Orkut and Dodgeball. But it has done far less than Yahoo in the arena of online community building. Analysts take that to mean Google's long-term bet remains on personalization -- using its mammoth computing horsepower to sort through data and better discern what users are thinking. Google declined to comment.

Ultimately, there is room for both and a mash-up of the two types of search. We should call the algorithm approach Rational Search, since it's is based on entirely rational principles. Social Search is Emotional Search, something generated by random connections, thoughts and feelings between human interest groups. Both ad value, depending on whether your search query is rational i.e. looking for business research or emotional i.e. finding music that you might like.

>>Written to the tunes of Telepopmusik's Breathe


Anonymous Gurtej Sandhu said...

Youtube is another. Most large companies are scratching there heads thinking about investing but struggling with the commercial model.

When the likes of Yahoo or Google buy it, then it will be too late as they would have worked it out already.

31 January, 2006 06:24  

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