Microsoft's Answer to Google PageRank: BrowseRank

Jul 28, 2008 • 9:14 am | comments (3) by twitter | Filed Under Bing Search

CNet reports that Microsoft has announced BrowseRank, which they feel may help boost the search's popularity. CNet explains the difference between BrowseRank (BR?) and PageRank:

Essentially, the researchers tested out a system that replaces PageRanks' link graph--a mathematical model of the hyperlinked connections of the Internet--with what they call a user browsing graph that ranks Web pages by people's behavior.

Basically, it comes down to user behavior. The more clicks and actions they can record, the more likely the page is favored (rather than emphasizing links). Since millions of people are using the search engine, the researchers claim that this evolution just makes sense.

Forum members are afraid that they've been targeted for the purposes of this study without realizing it (even though it is in the Terms of Service). Well, I guess that it's important to read these things.

Still, despite this, the same member who thought he was being spied on thinks that "[t]he BrowseRank algorithm is a thing of beauty, and their methods are brilliant." This is agreed by other forum members who feel that human behavior is the best way for search engines to go. (I'd argue that this is what humans do when they purposely link to certain pages versus others, but moving on...)

Is Microsoft offering brand new technology? One forum member says that FAROO, a P2P search engine, has the same kind of technology. Perhaps it is the mindset behind Microsoft, but it's not revolutionary, he argues. Still, making it more mainstream is a step in the direction that many webmasters are hoping for, provided that it doesn't get gamed.

Forum discussion continues at WebmasterWorld, DigitalPoint Forums, and Sphinn.

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No Name

07/28/2008 04:19 pm

Where's Yahoo Rank?

Michael Martinez

07/28/2008 07:07 pm

You know, all those people who set up click-bot networks to manipulate DirectHit's results years ago have since been able to redirect those networks against Google and Yahoo!'s advertising (and probably Microsoft's). Adding the old DirectHit technology into the Edison algorithm hasn't improved Ask's market share. So now what do the people at Microsoft hope to gain from using click popularity? They face a horde of foes who have more experience in this game than they do. Measured by estimated number of unique visitors to a search property per month, Microsoft has moved ahead of Yahoo! in search market share and now sits at number 2. With Google controlling less than 40% of the real search market, this seems like a crazy gamble for Microsoft to be taking. They need to focus on improving the quality of their search results, not on coming up with a gimmick to out-gimmick Google.


07/28/2008 07:56 pm

Very interesting, although this has been tried before. DirectHit had a search engine built entirely on clickstream data (Acquired by in 2000). They got the data from ISPs in those days. The end-result is really not that much better than Page-Rank. We at Me.dium on the other hand ( are processing our user's clickstream data in real-time to create a different lens based on what's going on now. e.g. do a search for John Edwards on Google or Live, and you get and wiki/johnedwards. Do the same search on Me.dium and you learn that today people care about his love child, pictures of his mistress, etc. The difference is real-time (what people are browsing now) vs. historical (what they browsed in the past). Social vs. Old School. Check it out and let us know your thoughts.

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