Posted by: Rob Hof on March 15, 2005
Lest that last post make it sound like Amazon’s A9.com is the only one advancing the state of search, Google and Yahoo! clearly are moving ahead fast as well. …
Each company's technical wizards offered a gliimpse at the Emerging Technology conference into some new stuff they're testing out.
Google's director for research quality, Pete Norvig, showed off several things it's trying out that you may have seen if you hang out at Google.com a lot. One is Google Suggest, which automatically brings up the most popular searches as you type out words, changing as you type in more letters and words. Another is Google Maps, which lets you zoom in on locations and find local businesses. But the most interesting was a beta version (isn't everything beta these days?) of personalized search. You can move a slider with your mouse to go from minimum to maximum personalization, based on a profile of your interests that you can create and edit. "We think it's important to have richer kinds of interactions," says Norvig. You can try them all out at the Google Labs site.
For its part, Yahoo!'s research lab introduced a new research project called the Yahoo! Buzz Game. It's an artificial market on emerging technology trends, in which people can buy long on when various trends will emerge, as measured by frequency of Yahoo! search results, and maintain a portfolio of their predictions. "Basically, you can participate in a collective attempt at prediction," says Gary William Flake of Yahoo! Research Labs. Ultimately, Yahoo! intends to use the techniques behind the game's markets to improve search results.