Friday, February 01, 2008

Marissa Mayer on social search

Doug Sherrets at VentureBeat posts a great interview with Googler Marissa Mayer on social search. An excerpt of my favorite part:
VB: How would you implement social search?

MM: One thing we have tried ... is labeling -- have users annotate the search results they see and have those annotations be shared with people on their social network or with people of like mind and interest ... There have been a few topical areas that have had a lot of traction, but overall the annotation model needs to evolve.

Another classic thing to try is "other users like you," where you build implicit social connections between users who are like each other, much like Amazon does with books. Examples: "Other users like you also searched for" or "other people who did this search also did searches."

I think there is the possibility of taking a social network and combining some element of annotations and searches done. For example, if I have 400 friends on Facebook, and I knew 10 of them all searched for one topic today, that might interest me.

If we took Web History and allowed that data to influence rankings, such that pages that your friends have visited were now bumped up in your search ranking, that that might be a good augmentation to something like personalized search. In essence, it's a fusion of personalized and social search ... We have not done anything like that to date.
I would post my thoughts on this, but Danny Sullivan has already done most of my work for me, providing excellent commentary on Marissa's interview. Some excerpts from Danny's article:
Marissa talked about the existing Google Co-Op service being a success ... in terms of [tagging]. Personally, Co-Op seems to have largely failed to catch on, from what I've seen. We also know that Yahoo's experiment with tagging search results didn't go very far.

Letting people in your network know what you are looking for raises serious privacy issues.

Marissa raised the idea of Amazon-like recommendations [for web search]. To some degree, Google already does this through its personalized search feature ... Yahoo (among others) had thoughts of doing exactly the same thing years ago but never moved forward with it.
For more on tagging and web search, please see also Danny Sullivan's older post, "Tagging Not Likely The Killer Solution For Search" and a post from Sun Researcher Stephen Green, "Tags, keywords, and inconsistency".

For more on personalized web search, please see also my older posts, "Effectiveness of personalized search" and "Potential of web search personalization".

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

May be I am the last one to realize this but it is quite interesting to see the similarity between "social search" and Luis von Ahn's "human computing". Social search looks very similar to his game "pickaboom".