Monday, September 11, 2006

Google recommendation widget

Ionut Alex Chitu notes that Google now has a recommendation module for their personalized home page.

The module is called "Interesting Items For You" and recommends three things: "recent top queries related to your searches", "web pages related to your searches", and other gadgets for your personalized home page.

In my usage, the queries appeared to be mostly based on my geolocation, not on my search history. The top three recommended queries were "evergreen state fair", "seatac airport", and "seahawks", not particularly relevant or useful to me, but apparently targeted to my Seattle location. The recommended gadget was the Seattle PI module. The recommended web pages also had a Seattle focus, but near the bottom also included links to KDD 2006 and IJCAI 2007 (probably based on a lot of hits to SIGIR in my search history).

It is an interesting experiment. However, I think it suffers from the same problem as Google Personalized Search, focusing too much on a high-level, coarse-grained profile based on long-term behavior. I suspect the gadget would be more useful if it focused on your recent behavior -- what you are doing now -- and adapted rapidly to shifts in your current interests.

See also my earlier post, "Google Personalized Search and Bigtable".

[Found via Phil Bradley]

Update: Niall Kennedy posts a nice review and includes a brief description of the API to access the recommendations.

Update: A friend, also in Seattle, sent me his recommended searches. The top four were identical to mine. This would seem to support the claim that the recommendations are too coarse-gained and based too much on location.

Update: The recommendations do not change as I execute new searches or click on new items. They do not adapt to new data.

Update: About two days and a hundred searches later, the recommendations still have not changed. Wow, these are really static. That's no good at all.

1 comment:

Ionut Alex. Chitu said...

About two days and a hundred searches later, the recommendations still have not changed. Wow, these are really static. That's no good at all.

The queries are changed every week, so I assume the other two tabs will be updated with the same frequency.