Web search engines rely on complex algorithms and tens of thousands of computer servers to provide the best results. Now, in a twist, some of the biggest search companies are turning to real live humans to boost their offerings.
The companies believe that the user-submitted answers will improve the quality of their search services, tapping knowledge and opinions not easily accessed otherwise, though they acknowledge that some users may submit wrong or misleading responses. A high number of queries go unanswered by search engines because the knowledge isn’t necessarily on the Web or indexed or measured for relevance by the search services, says Steve Stanzel, general manager for Microsoft’s Windows Live Search. “We think people can get more credible answers from people sometimes.”