There are plenty of debates in the world of search today, and “private vs personalized” is one of the big ones. While some users and search sites cry out that data shouldn’t be stored, others are proponents of keeping user data to help deliver higher quality results. Yahoo has chimed in recently, shoving their chips in on the side of personalized data.
As part of this, two Yahoo engineers (if Google employees are Googlers, can we just call them Yahoos?) have taken a look at the “three dimensions of search” to learn more about user trends. The study takes a look at registered census data and compares it with search data, examines what is commonly being searched for among the various demographics, then looks further into the trends for number of queries, and so forth. The two engineers, Alejandro Jaimes and Ingmar Weber, presented their findings at the WSDM conference in Hong Kong.
According to Yahoo, one of the great things uncovered was the revelation on user habits on the web. The company stated that search engines currently “optimize for the query” rather than the actual searcher, and have stated that information like that uncovered by Jaimes and Weber will help to make a more quality-driven personalized search.
Yahoo’s stance is, of course, less than surprising. After all, they’re vulnerable to the whims of Bing, who runs their search algorithm. Since Bing already made it known that heavier personalization would be present in that algorithm, it no shock that Yahoo would be giving a similar line.
[via the Weber Jaimes Report and the Yahoo! Search Blog]