Yahoo Phrase Based Indexing in a Nutshell

Search engines are getting smarter about the phrases that they see and understand online, and Yahoo recently published a patent application that describes a number of the ways that they learn about and understand the use of phrases in documents on the Web.

Exploring how Yahoo might use phrases to rerank search results may show how they may try to understand data from published documents on the Web, and from log files that collect information about the queries that people use when they search for information about different concepts.

From Keyword Matching to Phrase-Based Indexing

A page’s placement in search results for certain queries can involve looking at ranking criteria and algorithms applied to documents involving keywords in search queries for things like:

Continue reading “Yahoo Phrase Based Indexing in a Nutshell”

Microsoft on Reranking Search Results Based Upon Your Calendar

Many patent filings and papers from the search engines discuss ways that they might shuffle around search results to try to provide more relevant responses to people’s searches.

Imagine a search engine changing around the results that you see, not based upon the time that a page is published, but rather on some estimate of the importance of a page to you, and how that importance might vary with time and your personal calendar. Sounds like a tricky proposition, doesn’t it?

Microsoft adds an element of time to search results by introducing a search system that pays more attention to what is happening on your computer and within your company intranet.

This more complex search system could be used to index both search results and information found on a person’s desktop and local network. The search system would pay more attention to the context of searches and add personalization to those searches by building a user profile to distinquish how important different information might be to each individual searcher.

Continue reading “Microsoft on Reranking Search Results Based Upon Your Calendar”

Mysterious Google Interface Design

Google was awarded a design patent today on an interesting looking interface, in a patent titled Display device showing user interface.

Design patents sometimes leave you guessing as to what it is that you are actually looking at, and they can appear somewhat unusual.

With two sliders, and what seems to be a circular area where different choices could be selected, this design from Google looks somewhat mysterious. Upon seeing it, I wondered if it were something from a phone:

Continue reading “Mysterious Google Interface Design”

Yahoo on Collecting User Data for Web Site Profiling

Recently I wrote about a Yahoo adaptation of PageRank, called User Sensitive PageRank, which required that a lot of data be collected about visitors to web sites, including their clicking and browsing habits.

A couple of Yahoo patent applications from last week refer to User Sensitive PageRank while describing the collection of user data and Web data, and building profiles for specific web sites based upon that data.

One of them focuses upon how profiles are created for sites, to determine what the sites are about and what kind of traffic levels they receive based upon profiles constructed for other sites where more information is known about those other sites.

The other Yahoo patent filing describes some details on how this information could be used in choosing what kinds of materials to advertise on such sites, where profiles are being used to determine context when little is know about the actual content on some pages of those site.

Continue reading “Yahoo on Collecting User Data for Web Site Profiling”