User data can be used a lot of different ways to rerank search results for individuals. It seems to be a popular theme lately, with recent patent applications on the subject from Ask.com and from Microsoft.
Some of Yahoo’s potential processes in this area are described in a fairly complex patent application that explores topics such as:
- Methods to collect user data
- User tags and annotations used as if they were anchortext
- Creating user profiles by indexing a user’s tags, annotations, saved pages, and other user interactions with content
- Aggregating and indexing user data according to communities or social networks of users
- Reputation or Trust Values from Social Networks, from explicit relationships in social networks or implicit relationships based upon personal information and shared interests
- Real-time User Information from a stream search queue
- Dual Trustrank – one for the link structure between content items on the web, and one between related members of a social network
Search engine with augmented relevance ranking by community participation
Inventors: Zhichen Xu, Pavel Berkhin, Daniel E. Rose, Jianchang Mao, David Ku, Qi Lu, Eckart Walther, and Chung-Man Tam
US Patent Application 20070112761
Published May 17, 2007
Filed: June 28, 2006
Embodiments of the present invention provide systems and methods for ranking a result set. The method according to one embodiment comprises selecting an item from the result set, selecting a user profile from one or more user profiles and selecting one or more items of personalized information from the selected user profile. A rank is calculated for the item on the basis of the selected one or more items of personalized information and the selected item in the result set is ranked in accordance with the calculated rank.
User data will likely play an ever increasing role in how search rankings are calculated. This patent application describes some interesting approaches to using that kind of information.