Bill Slawski of SEO by the SEA looks at Microsoft Live Search and the Firefox Browser and how these companies are harnessing their web browsing and desktop applications to monitor search queries and then ‘suggest’ them to the same user from their own search boxes.
You can see query suggestions in action at Microsoft’s Windows Live search, and when I tried a few minutes ago, I was surprised by the suggested terms I saw. I can’t recall the last time I used Microsoft’s search on my laptop, but it’s definitely been a while. As I started entering a term into Window’s Live Search, query terms I used in Google started appearing. A couple of those terms were from earlier today, and more of them were from months ago.
Bill looks at a Microsoft patent on the technology:
A system and related techniques detect the initiation of a user’s search input and monitor that input character-by-character, to generate suggested search terms on the fly. Arbitration logic may monitor the user’s keyboard of other entry of search or query terms at a Web search site or other search engine or resource, and examine that input along with stored query history or usage data on a real-time basis to predict or infer search terms which the user is attempting to transmit. Spelling corrections may likewise be made. According to embodiments, the arbitration logic and/or query history or usage data may be hosted in the user’s machine, in the search service itself or in other resources. As the arbitration logic generates suggested search terms in inline fashion, those search suggestions may be presented to the user in real-time, for example by way of a wordwheel, drop-down or other dialog or interface. The user may for example choose to select one of the set of search suggestions before completing the typing or other inputting of their search data, and in embodiments may edit those suggestions in real-time as well. According to embodiments in a further regard, the user may provide configuration inputs to the automatic inline search suggestion feature, for example to turn that capability on or off on a per-session, per-search, permanent or other basis.
Bill also looks into his search experiences with Firefox:
I was using Firefox (Version 18.104.22.168) when I saw my query history being transferred easily from one search suggestion service to another. I jumped to Internet Explorer, and attempted to replicate my results. It didn’t work. It appears that Firefox maintains a search query history that IE doesn’t. It appears that Firefox has a built in search suggestion feature.
Read the entire piece at SEO by the SEA.