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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Personal, specialized and general search engines

Another interesting discussion about search I missed on the weekend was started by Scoble and it is related about "Perfect Search" Chapter of John Battelle's book The Search, in the follow-ups concepts like query refinement, tags, freshness, clusters, the semantic web and natural language interaction are mentioned. I believe that the perfect search depends on what you are really looking for so I'll share what I need right now.

Things you know or you are interested in

My computer is my personal digital repository of things I've seen, read or browse and desktop search engines are already helping me find this stuff, though I need query refinement tools because I don't always remember the exact keywords in the documents. Also some are trying to find some stuff that may interest me using my browsing history patterns.

But what is really needed is some way to categorize this information, similar to what we do with folders in the file systems but with tagging flexibility, something like personal tagging that will cluster the query results and identify similar interests using these tags. The work in progress being done by the recently introduced Wink, the personal search engine Rollyo and the Structured Blogging organization is worth to watch in this area.

Things you don't know and you work with

When you need something for work or school that you don't know, the best places to find it are the intranet (enterprise search), the databases/digital libraries you have access to (vertical search) or online communities (social search); query refinement and clustering, some implementations of natural language related work, some kind of simple semantic web implementations like taghop category relater and the use of alternative interfaces to display the results like SearchIris will ease the finding of our information needs in this area.

Things you just don't know

Here is where Scoble's example fit and it is the main interest of the big players in the search engine market, I have different search patterns so I will search on new york hotels and will enter some of the sites suggested in the results page to find the ones with "free wifi and good view" but what will really help me is that I could enter new york hotels free wifi good view and it will return a list of hotels - obtained by querying the specialized databases provided by those sites - with some user opinions about their services - probably extracted from blogs or forums.

How far are we from it?, to get started let's pay attention to what the blogosphere will talk about Web 2.0's workshop New Ideas in Search and posts tagged Web 2.0, if only I could search on "search" in these results will be great...


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