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You are not paranoid, someone IS watching you

Written by David Harry   
Wednesday, 23 April 2008 23:47


Microsoft’s take on user behavioural data

A search related patent released by Microsoft the other day touches on a popular theme of late, (with me at least); user behaviour analysis. In simplest terms, they look at various interactions with the search results (SERPs) and listing pages, to try and determine the relevance of a set of results. This has been a common theme among the Big 3 as noted by these recent posts;

Google confirms using query analysis – use of past queries in the regular index
Google on User Performance Metrics – trio of patents on the subject
Yahoo Personalized PageRank – user behaviour and PageRank
Yahoo on Personalized Networks – user annotations used to populate networks get the idea...

While concepts utilizing user behaviour relating to AdServing have been around for while, there is increasing interest in ways to harness it within the main SERPs. That is beyond mere personal search implications – though they work best there.


The Microsoft approach

The patent; Search system using user behaviour data - Filed; December 2003 – Published; April 22 2008 

We're watching you

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Yahoo to improve social searching through trusted networks

Written by David Harry   
Thursday, 17 April 2008 23:15

It’s all about the Buddy System…

Recently I have been engaging a few of my industry cohorts on the topic of social search engines and the future of search in general. In the coming weeks I will be publishing some of these discussions which for me lead to some hybrid of algorithmic, performance metric based and human enhanced ranking signals.

Yahoo gets socialOne of the problems facing those that believe in a pure social powered search engine is the fact that over time, once the novelty wears off, many users will be less inclined to actively be involved and so the few (in the form of power users) would be creating indexes/SERPs for the many. One way of dealing with this (and spam) would be to have a form of personalized (trusted) network search approach… But how do you make creating networks and accessing ranking signal easier? Yahoo seems to have a plan.

In a patent I came across yesterday, I would seem the folks at Yahoo! are looking to address such shortcomings in a personalized/social search sphere.

Systems and methods for establishing or maintaining a personalized trusted social network

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Query analysis confirmed as Google ranking signal

Written by David Harry   
Friday, 11 April 2008 09:52

Personalized Search and User Performance Metrics - back in the news

Recently Danny (Sullivan) mentioned Google and the use of performance metrics, which I thought worth discussing.

Google ranking signalsIn his keynote, wonderfully covered by Kalena, he was talking about his vision of Search 4.0 and how personalized search finds its way into the mix. Also of note, the other day Danny was reporting on the keynote interview and Marissa Mayer’s talk about ‘Previous Query’ ranking signals coming to the regular index search (not merely AdServing). Personalized search is built upon the concepts that your actions can teach a search engine to better predict your likes and dislikes. Taken on a larger scale, it stands to reason that ranking signals for the regular index can also be mined.

Now what is all this Gobble-D-gook and why do I care? Because it is important.

Read more... [Query analysis confirmed as Google ranking signal]

Yahoo follows up Personalized PageRank with HarmonyRank

Written by David Harry   
Thursday, 03 April 2008 15:29

It’s all about getting along with your neighbours

A while ago the fine folks at Yahoo! had a patent granted relating to Personalized PageRank, (or User Sensitive PageRank).  At the time it was not only interesting but just fun from a ‘my PageRank is better than yours’ perspective. Today I ran into another Yahoo! patent that makes mention of said Personalized PageRank and another potential candidate for the lexicon; HarmonyRank. It is sort of like, how well do you play with others ;0)

System and method for characterizing a web page using multiple anchor sets of web pages - filed Oct.2006; Published April 03 2008 “ An improved method for characterizing a web page using multiple anchor sets of web pages. “

Now as we have all learned from our search masters, have a look around right?

Ok, seems these fellows have ALL also worked on; Anchor-based Proximity Measures (PDF) – 2007; which discusses both Personalized PageRank (PPR) and Harmonic Rank (HR - I prefer HarmonyRank) author, Andrew Tomkins also worked on the Personalized PageRank patent. Also of interest, Amruta Joshi, (also an author on this one) did a PPT on ‘ Keyword generation for search engine advertising’ while at Stanford. a glance...

Yahoo HarmonyRank

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Search patents of interest 2008

Written by David Harry   
Thursday, 20 March 2008 17:53

Warning heavy search geek content - bring caffiene

While I am on the topic of patents I figured I would put up a list of the patents from the first quarter of 2008 that I found of interest. I am limiting the list to the Big 3 for the moment (Google, Yahoo and Microsoft). Sure, it ain’t sexy, but if yer a search freak/geek or addict, then might just be something of interest.

Also on the topic of patents, it is Bill Slawski’s birthday and on behalf of all technical search junkies I want to wish him many, many more returns and best wishes for a great day today!

Now here’s the list;

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