Personalizing Search Results After The Fact

from the giving-humans-the-control dept

I haven't been a huge fan of the concept most people talk about when they discuss "personalized search" which usually seems more like giving up a bunch of private info so that search engines can better target ads for you. However, rather than focus on personalizing the searches before they're done, a few recent announcements suggest there's some potential in personalizing the search results after they've been done. Much of the tech world is focusing on the latest launch of a9, the Amazon.com owned startup that is working on ways to make the search interface better (it's worth noting they don't seem to be doing anything to make search itself better -- but just the interface). One of the new features is that it lets users better handle search results, keeping track of what sites they've clicked on, taking notes, and even "organize" past searches. This sounds quite similar to another (much quieter) announcement, earlier in the day, from a small-time meta search engine named iZito whose meta-search engine lets users organize the results -- "parking" certain results while deleting or minimizing others. This seems like a different way to approach search. Rather than focus on trying to better anticipate what a searcher really wants, both of these moves show that sometimes it's best to let the human doing the searches take control. Give them more of the raw data and shape it into useful results. In a subtle way, it's almost admitting that automated search really can't figure out what a person really wants very easily -- something most people know, but many in the search world don't like to admit.
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