Friday, March 02, 2007

Matt Cutts interview on personalized search

Gord Hotchkiss at Search Engine Land posted another interview (partial with comments, full transcript) on personalized search, this one with Googler Matt Cutts.

Some selected excerpts:
Personalization is one of those things where if you look down the road a few years, having a search engine that is willing to give you better results because it can know a little bit more about what your interests are, that's a clear win for users.

Already, you don't do a search for football and get the same results in the U.K. as you do in the U.S .... You can get different results, instead of just the standard American results ... [That has] a huge benefit.

If you're in the United Kingdom and you type the query newspapers, you don't want to get, necessarily, the L.A. Times or a local paper in Seattle, the Post-Intelligencer ... [Localization] started down that trend, and, over time, personalization will help a lot of people realize that it's not just a generic set of results, or a vanilla set of results.

The idea of a monolithic set of search results for a generic term will probably start to fade away ... You already see people expect that if I do a search and somebody else does the search, they can get slightly different answers ... Over time people will expect that more and more.
See also my previous post, "Marissa Mayer interview on personalized search", that has selected excerpts from Gord's interview with Google VP Marissa Mayer and references to other information on Google's efforts on personalized search.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I apologize for being a first commenter too often, Greg.

But let me just chime in (yet again) about how wary I am off all this. In fact, Cutts' example of football in the US vs the UK is extremely appropriate here. I spent a year in the UK, from 2004-2005, doing a postdoc in London. And I found myself doing searches on Google and getting results that I really did not want. Though I was in the UK at the time, my sojourn was temporary, and most of my focus was still on US information.

And I found that there was no way I could turn off this Google "personalization"! It was extremely annoying. It was worse than non-productive.. it was actually counter-productive. Google got my personalization "wrong", and I could not turn it off.

It was very unhelpful. And it was at that point that I found myself wanting more control over my search experience than automated "personalization" mechanisms were allowing me.