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October 16, 2006

Search Headlines – Uncanny Valley

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Search Engines Were Never Meant to be Human

Whose idea was it to let a search engine speak? Did someone really find this amusing? I don’t know, but you’ve probably already been introduced to Ms. Dewey, the search engine with “a human face” that offers ‘witty banter’ while bringing up your search results.

The unfortunate part is that none of it works.

Ms. Dewey has the relevancy of HotBot, an unfriendly SERP, and the attitude of an annoying two-year old that will neither go away, nor stop talking. The Google Operating System blog calls the figurehead “ironic, clever and provocative“, but I think what they meant to say was tiresome, annoying and boring.

Maybe if it’s human, we can kill it? You think?

No, that’s wrong. (Talk to me later if you’re interested.) [Lisa, you're scaring me a little bit here. Though I agree that Ms. Dewey is extremely irritating, takes much too long and is less helpful at returning results than Pupna, violence is never the answer. --Susan] – Except for when it is. Muahaha!

GDrive Leaked. Again

For a company that’s hoping you’ll trust them with all your important business documents, they sure don’t do a very good job protecting their own. Phil Lenssen was able to get a hold of Platypus, Google’s internal GDrive client, and post a mirror of the help page for Windows and Linux. For obvious reasons he couldn’t get past the log-in, so who knows what’s behind it..

So, GDrive is real, and it’s all very internal so little people like us will never get to use it, but David Utter asks one very good Google-related question:

“Will Google continue to leak product information to bloggers on Fridays (assuming they have done so by design to date)? It has to be cheaper than paying Ogilvy to do PR, right?”

Seriously. The YouTube rumor, now this, why is every trying to take my Friday buzz? Harsh, man.

How can search engines rerank results?

Bill Slawski uses his patent filing skills to construct 20 ways the search engines may rerank search results, including filtering out duplicate content, personalization, country specifications, accessibility and others. The most interesting of the twenty was one that doesn’t always get a lot of attention:

15. Reordering based upon implicit feedback from user activities and click-throughs

There have been a lot of papers and patent filings that describe reordering of search results by looking at user behavior and query selections.

Here’s one that describes looking at different queries over user sessions:

Query Chains: Learning to Rank from Implicit Feedback (pdf)

[Rand also mentions manual boosts as part of his 'cracking' of the Google algorithm completed at 12 am this morning. Does the boy not sleep?]

Bill’s entire post is an excellent read, as is anything written by the SEO by the sea.

Fun Finds

Seth Godin ponders the eternal question: Why do people look like their dogs?

Nick Carr wonders if United States vs. Google will be this era’s defining antitrust case.

P.S.
Tom Schmitz – I love you for this! I’m still laughing.

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