Thursday, August 16, 2007

Google doesn't know what you are looking for

Stowe Boyd got me thinking about search.
His post points out that his /message blog appears higher than the yahoo message boards... on google's returns (wonder what happens on yahoo?).
So I tried the search term 'faster future' on google.
And ff comes in at No4 on the list. Hurrah!
Sounds good, dunnit?
But it's a bit rubbish really. I know what I'm looking for. Google doesn't. That's why the result I actually want comes out at number 4. The result I'm actually looking for should be number 1 - in fact the only result - shouldn't it?
Yeah, but google couldn't possibly know what I was thinking as I entered those search terms, could it?
Not yet - but it is working on it. And the answer - as with most things - relies on unleashing the power of networked communities.
Social search engines strive to understand, from my previous interactions, ratings, and recommendations, what I mean when I type a search term.
What a social search engine does is give context. And as we've often said before - without context there is no meaning.
So with standard old google search Stowe is right to let out a whoop of joy on appearing on page 1 of google's returns. But it's also why when I type Bike Test - and a mean motorcycle - I get a load of returns about bicycles.
I wish social search engines, such as google's custom search well - and salute their illustration of the power of networked communities of interest.

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?