Imagine that you surf the Web regularly, and bookmark pages that you might revisit.
You may take those bookmarks, and organize them into categories.
As part of a personalization process, you may get to select how much influence each bookmark might have upon your future searches. The bookmarks and categories that you choose for each might act to rerank the search results you see.
The Evils of Bookmark Managers
Last December, I wrote about the newest version of the Google Toolbar, and its synch feature that enables people to log in and out of the toolbar and save their toolbar settings regardless of which computer they are sitting at.
My post covered a number of the privacy issues that might surround the use of synchronization of toolbar settings from one computer to another with the same login.
In 2005, I wrote several posts at Cre8site forums, in a thread titled If a Googler Offers you a Bookmark Manager, Punch Him. That patent application (Methods and systems for personalized network searching) provided many details on how a bookmark manager might work, but not necessarily the actual personalization aspects of the process described.
That patent went beyond bookmarks to cover other factors that might be considered to serve personalized search results to someone, such as Web and search history and browsing behavior.
Google Bookmark Personalization Patent Applications
A couple of new patent applications from Google explore another aspect of the toolbar, bookmarks – how they might influence personalization, and how they might be stored remotely.
Bookmarks and Ranking
Invented by Oren Zamir and Jeffrey Korn
Assigned to Google
US Patent Application 20080010252
Published January 10, 2008
Filed: September 29, 2006
A system receives bookmarks associated with one or more documents or sites. The system searches a corpus of documents to obtain search results and ranks the search results using the received bookmarks.
Invented by Ying Zhang and Jeffrey Korn
US Patent Application 20080010286
Published January 10, 2008
Filed: January 9, 2006
A system receives, at a server, an action request from a client associated with bookmarks, where the bookmarks identify user-designated documents. The system accesses bookmark records stored at the server based on the action request and acting on the bookmark records in a manner specified by the action request.
Reranking Based Upon Bookmarks
Someone bookmarking pages might have some control over how much or how little a bookmark might influence search results.
Reranking of search results may happen in a few different ways:
- If a bookmarked document is contained in the search results, then it might be promoted higher in search results.
- If a page from the same site as a bookmarked document is contained in the search results, then that page might move up in search results.
- The user’s specification for each bookmark may determine how and if the user’s bookmarks should be used in re-ranking the search results, whether it is the individual bookmarked page or a page from the same site as the bookmarked page.
- The categories that are assigned to bookmarked pages may also influence rerankings of search results when there are pages in the search results that are related to the same categories.
Conclusions and Implications
David Harry also took a look at these patent applications in Google Bookmarks the new ranking signal? He draws a nice analogy to something that we’ve already seen from Google – their ability to let people use custom search engines. Instead of selecting sites to include in a custom search, this process might allow the reranking of results showing in your browser-based upon your bookmark selections.
The process enables bookmarked pages and bookmark categories to influence organic search results, and cause search results to be reranked either based upon settings that a user determines or on the selections and categories themselves without the user setting selections.