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Search is in a Better Place than it was Two Weeks Ago
Thursday, October 04, 2007
I can't help walk around with a smile these days. You see for the past few years I have been wondering when we would see some dramatic changes in the world of Search. We had been wondering about the thought of personalized search and how a search engine results page would become different for everyone. In fact I have coined the phrase "The Snowflake Theory" with the idea that no two search results pages will be the same. (I am compiling notes about this for a future whitepaper and/or book. More on this later.) The gist of it is that they say no two snowflakes are the same. In a perfect world no two search results pages should be the same either. My search intent may or may not be the same as your search intent. (In fact I would guarantee that nine times out of ten it is the later.)

So it puts a smile on my face when a few months back Google (GOOG) announces and more importantly releases their initial personalized search features. (I love using my iGoogle page). ASK then steps it up and releases the ASK 3-D experience. Very cool. Can you notice the trend here? A richer search experience perhaps? Then last week after what felt like an eternity of sitting idly by Microsoft conducts their first Searchification Day and announces a number of upgrades to their Windows Live Search product. Microsoft (MSFT) addressed a number of key issues with a focus on:
  • Improved core relevance
  • Reduced spam
  • Much larger index
  • Working towards understanding user intent
Then earlier this week, Yahoo (YHOO) announces an update to their search offering. Including their new Search Assist feature that helps users from suffering "searcher fatigue". According to Yahoo, they've been testing Search Assist over the past few months and have seen significant improvements in user satisfaction from those tests. One metric they found was a 61% increase in successful task completion when users had Search Assist as part of their search experience. Again very cool.

So why wouldn't I walk around with a smile on my face. I spend a lot of time using search engines. More than the average Jill or Joe. The fact that my user experience is being improved makes me excited. As a user relevancy is the key. A richer search experience with improved relevancy puts a smile on my face... it should put one on yours as well.


posted by Jody @ Thursday, October 04, 2007  
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