Personalised Search

Charlene Li offers suggestions to improve Google’s offering:

Improvement #1: Prioritize searching through feeds, bookmarks, and saved sites. As a user, Ive already indicated when certain pages and sites bear greater relevance to me their URLs and content are saved in my browser and RSS aggregator. Personalized search could leverage Google Desktop Search to provide better intelligence on whats relevant and whats not. I expect that Yahoo! is in a prime position to use this technique as it has millions of RSS users on MyYahoo! and also has been encouraging users to save sites to MyWeb.

Improvement #2: Add clickstream data to the personalization engine. Google should be tracking when a users clicks on a link to another site but then quickly comes back to click on another link. The inference: that page wasnt that relevant. One simple step would be to eliminate that link from subsequent queries with refined search criteria. More complex calculations would analyze the semantics of the referred page and eliminate similarly irrelevant pages from future searches. Google should take some notes from Choicestream, which provides personalization services for publishers (it powers the movie and shopping personalization engines on Yahoo!) by leveraging user clickstream data and grouping content into categories.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.