Thursday, October 07, 2004

Web 2.0: Search as a Platform by EK

Let’s start with the panel:

Steve Berkowitz, CEO, Ask Jeeves, Inc.
Udi Manber, CEO, A9
Louis Monier, Director, Advanced Technology Group, eBay
Christopher Payne, Corporate Vice President of MSN Search and Shopping, Microsoft, Inc.
Jeff Weiner, Senior Vice President, Search & Marketplace, Yahoo

Following you will find the keynotes:

Top improvements in the next 5 years:

UI

Louis Monier: New Technology that requires training the user is a lost cause. Google set the standard for search experience, so newcomers need to be very creative to incorporate new features in a simple UI.

Jeff Weiner: UI is where we are going to see the most improvement. As technology becomes available to search desktops, search local, search personal, etc., is going to be essential to have a single UI capable of delivering the right results.

Local Search

Jeff Weiner: The only way to attract more advertisers is to align search with users expectations. Example: Local Search is $100 billion market including yellow pages’ $14 billion, only 0.4% of it is online. As people change behavior and ad matching gets better, the advertiser will jump on.

Personalization:

Udi Manber: A9 is not collecting history and bookmarks because they believe it will change the way people search. They are doing so in order to aggregate the data and give context to the search query. INTERESTING TIP: A9 has been online for 9 months and they still think they need a lot more time to start aggregating data.

Udi Manber: Changing the ranking order is not a valid solution. Search Engines have to be able to provide a set of valid answers based on lots of knowledge about the user.

Christopher Pyne: MS is working in a project that engages user in a “search dialogue” to learn more about the intent of the user. We need to create an environment that allows knowing more than a 2.4 words query. Example: People don’t go to Best Buy and ask, “I want a dvd player”.

Jeff Weiner: We are starting to tap the “explicit” personal search through bookmarks, history, etc. I haven’t seen much efforts trying to understand the “implicit” search. We are going to see companies analyzing lots of variable involve in searching to capture the real intent of a query.

Improving Ranking

Jeff Weiner: Blogs have created an invaluable source of content hubs in the web. Yahoo uses certain blog communities to get immediate feedback on product improvements and beta releases. In the next 5 year, blogs will become the source of authority and a very viable alternative to the PageRank algorithm. (VERY INTERESTING)