Personalized Anchor Text Scores

Wish I had more time to break this newly granted Google patent down, but I have to run to catch the keynote address this morning at the SES conference. One of the authors of this granted patent was on a conference panel on personalization yesterday.

Personalizing anchor text scores in a search engine

Invented by Glen Jeh, Taher H. Haveliwala, and Sepandar D. Kamvar
Assigned to Google
United States Patent 7,260,573
Granted August 21, 2007
Filed: May 17, 2004

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Making Sense of Search Queries by Using Context

I’m presently in San Jose, getting ready for the Search Engine Strategies Conference coming up.

I was fortunate enough to attend BarCampBlock yesterday, which was a lot of fun. I met some interesting folks, and watched a thoughtful presentation on privacy on the Web, and was involved in a couple of discussions on “problems with search,” and on “corporations and their fear of blogging.”

One of the issues that came up in the search discussion, and one of challenges that face search engines is trying to understand what someone is searching for based upon their entry into a search box of just a word or two or three. It reminded me of a post that I’ve had in my queue, waiting to write about for a little while.

A paper presented at SIGIR 07, this last July, looks at using some additional information to enhance those words in a search of a collection of documents. I came across a video presenting the paper in a webcast at a venue in the UK a few days after the SIGIR conference, which adds some addition information about the paper. Both are worth a look to see how search terms might be expanded before a search is performed.

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Facebook Timeline and Patent Application

Added – 2-26-2010 – for an updated list of granted and pending Facebook patents, see my post from January 24th, 2010, Facebook Patent Filings, which includes the Facebook News feed patent as a patent application, with some commentary in the comments about the impact (or lack thereof) that it might have upon other social networks.

Mark Zuckerberg started one of the most short-lived and controversial web businesses ever to come out of Harvard.

And then he started Facebook, which rocketed to success, and is continuing to grow at a very fast pace, and has weathered some controversy of its own. Interestingly, the privacy failings of the earlier business seems to have lead to the success of Facebook.

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Next Week: Search Engine Strategies San Jose

The Search Engine Strategies Conference in San Jose starts next Monday, and I’m looking forward to attending, and to meeting up with old friends, making some new friends, learning what’s new in the industry, and sharing some ideas with others.

I’ll be speaking on Monday morning on the topic of Universal Search, at 11:00am, along side Greg Jarboe and Sherwood Stranieri, with Erik Collier of, David Bailey of Google, and Tim Mayer of Yahoo as Q&A speakers in the session. While I have a presentation prepared for the event, if there’s something in particular about Universal Search and blended search results that you want to hear, let me know.

I had the chance last year to join Loren Baker, David Zuls, and Carsten Cumbrowski for a lunch at a San Jose Mexican eatery, The Taqueria, and hopefully will get the chance to meet a few people there for a meal sometime during this conference – if you like Mexican food, it’s definitely a great stopping point.

If you are going to be in San Jose next week, and would like to meet, let me know. I’ll be arriving late this Friday night, and am thinking of running out to BarCampBlock on Saturday morning.

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Yahoo Tactics Associating Geographic Search with Searcher Location

Can a search engine guess where someone is searching from based upon the query being used?

A patent granted to Yahoo today, originally filed in 2003, explores that question.

Many site owners have tied site visitors to locations by looking at those visitors’ IP addresses, and mapping those to a particular place. That could be helpful on a country level, but much less reliable at a city level.

Why be concerned with knowing where someone is connecting from? It could be helpful in providing local services or information, such as news, advertising, weather, and traffic information to a user. For a search engine, that information might be userful in returning relevant results to a searcher.

Understanding a searcher’s location

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When Might Google Show Local Search Information in Web Search Results?

What assumptions might search engineers hold when they consider displaying results to searchers trying to find information? What kinds of things might they try to do to make it easier users of a search engine?

One belief might be that there’s value in presenting contact information for web sites when those pages appear in search results, especially when the site belongs to a business, and the page that shows up in the search result doesn’t contain contact information. Can the search engine make it easier to find that contact information, even make it so that the searcher doesn’t have to actually visit the page?

A new patent application from Google, published this past week at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), discusses providing contact information such as a telephone number, or address, or even a map to searchers, in Google’s Web search results (as opposed to local search results).

Two of the listed inventors are also named inventors on Google’s patent application for Site Links, which are the lists of additional pages from the same domain that sometimes show up under the first link in search results, in response to a query. The idea behind the Site Links patent filing is to make it easier for a searcher to go directly to a final destination page on a domain, without having to search around for that page.

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