Saturday, February 17, 2007

New Google patent applications - expert enabled search?

A couple of interesting reads on Google patent applications. This from Search Engine Land: Google Customized Search Engines to Harness The Wisdom of Experts? It speculates as to what Google could be up to in regard to harnessing things learned from the use of the Google Custom Search Engine.

People running these sites, subject domain experts, often have considerable knowledge about the value of other sites on the Web. Using their expertise, these content developers can also best structure their site's content to address the variety of different information needs of users.

Then there is this Eweek article from back in August, New Google Patent Hints at Direction of Social Search

Those "themes" include topics commonly occurring in search queries from users in Google's network. According to the patent, editors will develop these query themes by looking at search query logs and developing categories of information.
The editors develop query themes by surveying user search logs, experimenting with test search queries, and examining search results lists.
The patent also includes details about distinguishing between "favored" and "non-favored" sources. Such sources would be determined by a variety of factors, including host name.

So all of these new patents take yet another “expert“ mediated approach. None of these search strategies seem particularly “social“ to me. Perhaps the academic roots of the Google founders can‘t get away from using “experts”? I‘m reminded of the difference between the failed Google Answers and the community driven Yahoo! Answers.

I know it‘s really early in the social search game, but it‘s little things like this that lead me to speculate that the social search race is wide open. The few glimpses that we see of Google‘s advance thinking is that they don‘t “get” social, or at least that they don‘t respect it.

No comments: