Saturday, November 11, 2006

Andrei Broder talk on information supply

Yahoo VP and Research Fellow Andrei Broder is giving an IEEE talk, "The next generation Web Search: From Information Retrieval to Information Supply" on Nov 16 at Stanford University.

The idea of "information supply" is very close to the idea that I spend my time working on and advocating, information personalization and recommendations. From the abstract for Andrei's talk:
The goal of Web IR will widen to include the supply of relevant information from multiple sources without requiring the user to make an explicit query.

[We can] supply relevant information specific to a given activity and a given user, while the activity is being performed. A prime example is the matching of ads to content being read, however the information supply paradigm is starting to appear in other contexts such as social networks, e-commerce, browsers, e-mail, and others.
A Yahoo Research page, "Toward the Next Generation of Search", elaborates on Andrei's thoughts on personalization of information, saying:
Andrei Broder ... foresees pushing search toward information supply: serving up answers to users' questions that they haven't even typed in a search box.

Worry not, users; this isn't mind reading. But with statistical analysis of people's surfing habits and creative algorithms, we ... hope to figure out users' intents and understand their context, so we can supply them with useful information.

It could get displayed in a variety of ways, such as recommended links or intelligent, personalized footnotes dynamically served up on the bottom of a Web page.

"It's a little bit of the 'push' paradigm," Broder says, but he says the way the information is presented to users is key, so that it is unobtrusive but useful.
Andrei has given what appear to be similar versions of this talk over the last year. For example, here are slides (PDF) from a May 2006 talk titled "From query based Information Retrieval to context driven Information Supply". I wrote about that talk back in June 2006.

See also my posts ([1] [2] [3]) about related work by Susan Dumais and Eric Horvitz at Microsoft Research.

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