Word Bursts May Reveal Online Trends

from the analyze-everything dept

At Cornell, anyone who talked about Jon Kleinberg would usually throw in the word “brilliant” fairly quickly. He was the first person I ever heard talk about using inbound links as a way to determine how popular a website was (the method now refined and used by Google). I hadn’t heard much about him lately, but it appears, he’s still up to his old tricks looking for ways to make “search” better, with a new technique for analyzing greater trends by searching for “word bursts”. His research shows that if there’s a noticeable “burst” of a certain word or set of words, it can often indicate some larger trend is happening. He thinks that such a system could be used to scan blogs for bigger trends. If a bunch of blogs start using a word or certain particular words, it can be the sign of a new trend. When simplified to that level, it sounds obvious, but no one has really done much with it. However, when you look at it in terms of Google’s purchase of Pyra, it becomes more interesting. Having better ways to automatically pick out what people are really talking about could make searching for information much more practical.

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