Google is playing with personalized search

posted by Jason Kottke Mar 29, 2004

Google is playing with personalized search. Which everyone thinks is the future, but it needs to be more passive than this.

Reader comments

PeterMar 29, 2004 at 11:03AM

there's not even a Canada region. or a North America for that matter.

Adam van den HovenMar 29, 2004 at 11:47AM

I was just about to make the same comment. Mind you this is just a beta so I suspect that as time goes on, they'll add a lot more categories.

A great feature would be to allow us "common folk" to recommend new categories. This way we have a more useful shared personalization.

djMar 29, 2004 at 12:05PM

if it automatically indexed your orkut profile, would that be passive enough? Or should it accrue information (via the toolbar) as you surf?

AndyMar 29, 2004 at 2:00PM

"Sorry, Google Personalized does not currently support Safari."

Everybody loves browser dependencies!

CarinaMar 29, 2004 at 2:35PM

Of course, Google waits until after you've given them the personal profile before revealing that your browser is rejected.

TimMar 29, 2004 at 4:32PM

this strikes me as all wrong. how is this personalization? it's an interesting toy, but it boils down to directory style fitlering. And the categories are almost useless. i was imagining saving info on searches and links clicked, user ranking of results, and expanding to the same functionality over a network of friends or trusted users.

Can I pull up my search results for a typeface I searched for 3 weeks ago? It doesn't have to be all of them, just show me the ones I clicked on. Can I mark a site as marketing spam and have it never shown in my results again? Can I see a list of the sites about social networking my friend Aaron thinks are relevant?

AdrianRMar 29, 2004 at 6:12PM

Just way too crude at this stage, but an interesting idea. Reminds me of early speech recognition software; the concept is there, but the logistics of the execution are extremely underdeveloped, rendering it's purpose useless.

Mind you, it's the mistake (or beta) that has to happen. It takes a lot of dead ants to build a bridge.

CostasMar 29, 2004 at 6:14PM

This is a plug, but it's actually relevant: I've been developing a newsbot that does passive personalization for 2.5+ years now. Personalization is done by watching your click-thrus or explicit ratings and those of other users. Kinda like Amazon recommendations meets Eurekster.

sarahMar 29, 2004 at 7:37PM

Can anyone expand on the ants-and0bridge metaphor? I'm not familiar with that one.

FirasMar 30, 2004 at 6:49AM

sarah: I think he just made it up.

KalebergMar 30, 2004 at 8:37PM

Google is off the mark on this one. My interests are extremely broad but I can usually tell if I am researching San Francisco hotels as opposed to K'Nex robotics. Maybe they want a combination of directory search and keyword search?

Personally, I loathe passive customization. I hate programs and systems that try to figure out what I want. I know what I want. This stuff does have a use. Amazon's recommendations are always good for a laugh when I need one.

Does any remember the pejorative adjective "dwimmy"? It comes from DWIM, "do what I mean". Basically it meant that if the computer didn't understand what you typed it would do something random. Spare us a return from those dark days.

CurtisMar 30, 2004 at 11:39PM

I may not be a member of the geekwazee (i.e. - I don't know crap about computers), but I LIKE it. The slider bar was groovy and I look forward to greater test driving.

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.