graphing social: danny sullivan: search to social

remember altavista, and when you first started using google, you felt guilty? for abandoning altavista?

1st gen search engines: search engines “crawl” links to pages, they make a copy in something called a index, they find pages you are looking through, originally via term frequency. this was too spammable, because control was in the hands of the webmaster.

2nd gen search engines: use factors off the page that wemaster can’t easily influence

  • clickthrough
  • links “democratic nature of the web”
    • pagerank
    • anchor text, actual words in the text
  • then people began overtly manipulating links, thinking about votes, campaigning for votes (miserable failure), even buying votes

3rd gen?

  • vertical search
    • focus on a particular topic, such as news
  • personalized and social search
  • Google personalized search
    • ranking is reorganized based on whats deemed to be your personal preferences
    • Changes are subtle, but will likely change over time
  • personalize influencers
    • google homepage
    • google bookmarks
    • search history
    • web history
  • social search
    • eurekster experimented with friends clicks reshaping results in 2004
    • Yahoo My Web promised to let us tag and use a network to reshape results
  • Neither really has suceeded
    • the promise & reality of mixing the social graph with search engines
    • eurekster says “swikis” are much better
    • yahoo dropped many feautres quietly
    • but what about facebook.
  • Social graph (ugh) social network data potentially useful
    • watch what others are searching on
    • monitor clicks in a more closed environment – harder to spam, identity is persistant
    • reshape results based on what your friends seem to like
    • but WHO are your friends?
  • www.dumpfolder.net/?p=193
  • friend pollution
    • do you really want to go through and pick out friends you trust enough to influence search results
    • what about unfriending, privacy, and what you want to share?
    • tagging? search basically works, and sharing queries is undesirable/unnecessary
  • Does facebook instead work on a aggregate level? use networks, for example.
  • And what’s the underlying platform? They’ll probably partner with someone else (Facebook unlikely to build a search engine from scratch, it’s not easy)

What shall they do?

  • Go vertical? People search?
    • plenty in space, spock et al
    • searchengineland.com/lands/peoplesearch

Search vs discovery

  • search is an on demand thing, have particular need to fulfill activity
  • Discovery is related but less specific in what you want
    • stumbleupon, digg
    • iGoogle related magic tabs

QUESTIONS
Q: Maholo?
A: I like it, i think it could help. Google says, we won’t touch it we’ll fix the algorythm but hey, fix it now! But maholo is starting to morph into a wikipedia. SInce it’s made by an editor, it’s more of an about than a social search engine.

Q: don’t people already want to separate top friends, professional friends, etc?
A: if you are a heavy user, then yes, but most people that’s too much overhead. have to be a poweruser.

Q: don’t you think people search is fundamentally different than web search?
A: absolutely, you are looking for a page with bio, contact info, etc. But the problem is where are they? myspace, facebook, etc? Easier to go to google or a people search.

Favorite quote
speaker “google will say we’ve got iran, and we’ve got brazil and we’re coming for you”
audience “the axis of orkut”