Skip to content

OPLIN 4cast #328: Inventive searching

Posted in 4cast

magazine coverThe search for better ways to search for information continues as the Internet “heavyweights” — Google, Microsoft, Facebook, etc. — increasingly find themselves in direct competition with each other to grab Internet searching traffic. Just lately there seems to have been a spate of developments, or rumored developments, that point to some innovative things going on inside the companies that make Internet searching their business. Since libraries are also in the business of finding information for people, we think you might find some of these developments interesting.

  • How search is evolving — finally! — beyond caveman queries (All Things D/Liz Gannes) “One thing binding together much of the work Google and other companies are doing around search these days is that they’re making it more natural and conversational. Conversational search is search that tries to understand context, that makes educated guesses, that takes voice input, that parses homonyms and adapts to mobile environments, and that understands the same user across multiple devices.”
  • Better media search through phonetics (Broadcast Engineering/Michael Grotticelli) “The success of keywords to find video clips is highly reliant on the amount of metadata attached to that asset at the time it was logged into the system — and whether metadata was assigned at all. A company called Nexidia, based in Atlanta, has developed specialized software called ‘Dialogue Search’ that eschews keywords to find audio or video clips and instead uses phonetic sounds found on that clip.”
  • Is Bing testing “subjectship” rather than authorship in its search results? (Search Engine Land/Danny Sullivan) “The two arrows point to stories that are about Kara Swisher, with her picture shown authorship-style. But she’s not the author of these stories. She’s the subject. That wouldn’t be too remarkable if Bing were simply pulling a prominent picture out of these stories, similar to what both Google and Bing do for news stories. But, with the latter example from Gawker, the image shown doesn’t actually appear on the page. Is Bing perhaps building a knowledge base of people, so that it can, in turn, link people or subject images back to stories? Perhaps.”
  • Microsoft’s Data Explorer: Picking up where Bing leaves off (ReadWrite/Mark Hachman) “In some cases, the questions we have require data — a lot of data. ‘How likely is it that I will find a job in Austin, as opposed to San Francisco?’ is a question that boils down to, at its most basic, two comparisons: the unemployment rate within both cities. We’ve also been trained by search engines not to even hope for additional data that might make our answer even more valuable: if I’m a nurse, for example, I might like to know how many hospitals, hospices and clinics are in each town, the total number of beds, and even data for each city such as housing prices and the cost of living.”

PLA fact:
“PLA” is not the “Public Library Association” in this context, it’s the “Product Listing Ads” that appear in conjunction with search engine search results. PLAs are now driving 20+% increases in year-to-year search engine revenue — which explains the fierce competition between search engines.