Friday, March 24, 2006

Search as a matching engine

Steve Smith at OMMA writes about the future of search. Some extended excerpts, focusing on personalization of advertising, news, web search, and mobile search:
In 2006, the focal point for the future of search has shifted dramatically. The search box is going beyond the desktop to evolve into a ubiquitous engine that matches both content and laser-targeted marketing to our desires ...

The longstanding hope of personalized search is starting to bear fruit. For example, Google's News page now recommends stories based on a searcher's click history.

"The writing is on the wall. Behavioral targeting and demographic profiling will be the next layer in search," [MoreVisibility EVP Danielle Leitch] says, pointing to MSN's plan to include both options in AdCenter.

Yahoo hopes to ... tweak and target results so they account for subjective qualities like trustworthiness and personal taste. As search becomes the interface for a wider range of content, especially video, merging it with a recommendation engine may be as important as tagging video.

Consumers want relevant answers, not "search results," adds Pankaj Shah, CEO, 4Info ... "The differentiators will be how personalized [mobile search] is." For example, "answer engines" that send relevant results and learn from user histories ...
Search should be a matching engine. Not everyone agrees on how relevant a particular page is to a particular search. Search should match each person's interests and desires to relevant content. Relevance rank should be specific to each searcher's perception of relevance.

See also my previous posts, "Perfect Search and the clickstream" and "My 2006 predictions".

1 comment:

jeremy said...

Just to be that constant thorn.. I mean.. reminder..

Instead of personalizing the actual results, based on past behavior, the engine could also personalize the tools it offers to the user...both the type and the content of the tools. Again, just part of my mantra about personalization being great.. but personalization without user feedback being dangerous.

Anyway, the WSJ has a piece today about Ask's new tools. And the review is quite positive. Oh, and I'm sure you saw the new Google jobs. While only a minor tool, Google goes beyond the typical single text field input box, with a 2-3 word query, and instead opts for something with a little more user control: a series of boxes, some with pull-down menues. They could have easily just used a single text field, and parsed it out and/or "personalized" user intentionality, the way they do with Google maps. But nope. They chose to go with a more complicated tool. Not much more complicated. But a query refinement tool nonetheless.

Anyway.. < /soapbox>