Live Coverage of Google's SearchWiki, Customized & Personalized Results at SMX West

Feb 11, 2009 • 1:25 pm | comments (1) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Search Marketing Expo 2009 West
 

Below is live coverage of the Google's SearchWiki, Customized & Personalized Results from SMX West 2009 conference.

This coverage is provided by both Barry Schwartz, the editor of the Search Engine Roundtable and Keri Morgret of Morgret Designs.

We are using a live blogging tool to provide the real time coverage. We will publish the archive below after the session is completed. In addition, you can interact with us and while we are live blogging, so feel free to ask us questions as we blog.

Google’s SearchWiki, Customized & Personalized Results(02/11/2009) 
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10:22
Barry Schwartz:  8 minutes to the start of this session, new content is "SearchWiki"...
10:26
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10:28
Barry Schwartz:  2 minutes until we start

10:28
[Comment From Prashant]
@barry random question but if you don't mind me asking, how many people viewing your live blogs on average?
10:29
Barry Schwartz:  ~10 people on average "live" but hundreds or thousands afterwards
10:31
Barry Schwartz:  Danny welcomes everyone
10:32
Keri Morgret:  Danny asks if anybody is freaked out about the whole search wiki and personalization stuff.
10:33
Barry Schwartz:  We got two Googlers with us... Corey Anderson and Bryan Horling -- last time we had this session it was great, but it was just Bryan then
10:33
Barry Schwartz:  Don't worry, Matt warned them before:
10:33
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10:33
Barry Schwartz:  Corey is up first
10:35
Keri Morgret:  Corey did a search for SMX when he got ready for this session. In his mind, this conference should be the first result. But it depends, for someone in my (keri's) hometown, we're looking for the tiny little airport in Santa Maria. Or if you're in a different country, something else entirely. The point is people have different intent for the same keywords.
10:35
Barry Schwartz:  Corey will focus on SearchWiki
10:35
Barry Schwartz:  Bryan will chat about personalized search
10:35
Keri Morgret:  He shows a screenshot of search wiki.
10:36
[Comment From Sunny D]
Is google going to use searchwiki data later on to alter their rankings when they have a large amount of feedback?
10:36
Keri Morgret:  Comments, rerankings, etc. are called notes.
10:36
Keri Morgret:  Why did we call it search wiki? At Google, we're talking to users all the time, with lots of user studies.
10:37
Barry Schwartz:  @Sunny, ill ask but I know the answer and you do to.. ;)
10:37
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10:37
Keri Morgret:  They get feedback from their users, and even go to users' houses and see the whole context of their search. Not just the computer, but the piece of paper next to the computer where they're taking notes.
10:37
Keri Morgret:  A bunch of people wanted to add, re-rank, and comment on search results.
10:38
Barry Schwartz:  SearchWiki launched end of November 2008
10:38
Keri Morgret:  How do they see search wiki being used? Bookmarking.
Improve specific name searches.
Collect information on a task. Look for right website(s) to find this gift.
Refinding hard-to-find information.
10:39
Barry Schwartz:  Bryan is now up...
10:39
Keri Morgret:  Search wiki = explicit control. Personalized = implicit control, google doing the work for the user.
10:40
Keri Morgret:  Why personalize? There's ambigueity in search, the context of the user helps provide clues as to what the user wants to do.
10:40
Barry Schwartz:  Here is a link to coverage of this session from SMX East http://www.seroundtable.com/archives/018429.html
10:41
Keri Morgret:  This must be done in a privacy-sensitive way. Transparency and control are guiding principles.
10:41
Do you use SearchWiki?
Yes
 ( 17% )
No
 ( 83% )

10:42
Keri Morgret:  Search details is where it says in the upper right of the results that your results were customized because of previous searches, geolocation, etc. There's a way to show what was personalzied and a way to remove the customizations.
10:43
Keri Morgret:  Bryan is now talking about web history, for those who have it enabled. You can look at your history, pause the history, remove everything in your history, or remove the service.
10:43
Barry Schwartz:  he shows off google web history, you can access yours at http://www.google.com/psearch
10:43
Keri Morgret:  He's showing a screenshot of regional locilization.
10:44
Barry Schwartz:  basically at the top right of the page, it shows how the results are localized for your location
10:45
Keri Morgret:  Google does diff't things depending on your area. Shows picture of search for metro in Washington DC that shows transit information, but search from San Jose you get results for the newspaper called The Metro, based in Silicon Valley.
10:46
Barry Schwartz:  He now brings up Google Preferred Sites
10:46
Keri Morgret:  Google will also look at long-term history of preferences for users, and may decide what to promote based on your preferences, all else being equal.
10:47
Barry Schwartz:  Preferred sites is now available to opt into at http://www.google.com/experimental/ cool!
10:47
Keri Morgret:  Preferred Sites lets you explicitly tell Google what you like, either via a list or from your history.
10:47
[Comment From Guest]
On a users perspective, I honestly don't understand how I will benefit from the Google history feature, specially considering I can have access to this information on my browser. I do see how have my bookmarks saved externally might be useful though.
10:47
Keri Morgret:  What does it mean for Search Engine Marketers?
10:48
Keri Morgret:  Half-empty: harder to collect metrics, see how your pages rank.
Half-full: easier for pepole looking for your service to find you, easier to retain customers who prefer your business.
Top position is not winner-take-all.
10:48
[Comment From Pedro Sttau]
Keri..dont know what it means, but it scares the crap out of me as a SEM.
10:48
Barry Schwartz:  Top position is no longer "Winner Takes All"
10:49
Keri Morgret:  The answer from Google as to how to deal with this is to "make a good website"
10:49
Can SEOs Benefit from Personalized Search and SearchWiki?
Yes
 ( 50% )
No
 ( 50% )

10:50
Keri Morgret:  There are ways to controlv this:
- Use search detais
- Disable by appending &pws=0
- Log out
- Look for extensions.
10:50
Barry Schwartz:  Now we have Q&A, we will cover the Q&A - should be interesting...
10:51
Keri Morgret:  G is not presently using search wiki data to influence the search results.
10:51
Barry Schwartz:  Sunny D, that answered your Q
10:51
Keri Morgret:  Their plans was to launch it, let people use it, then look at the data and see how people use it. At present they're not using it.
10:52
Keri Morgret:  Danny: If you did use the data at some point, how might it be used? Can you see yourself saying this data could be used to influence results for everyone?
10:52
Barry Schwartz:  If you have questions, we can ask them for you....
10:53
Keri Morgret:  Corey said it's easy to speculate, but hard to know for certain. He could come up with several ideas as to how this might be used.
10:53
Keri Morgret:  Q: What percentage of searches are personalized today?
Bryan: "A bunch". It's his number and he's sticking to it. It does vary geographically, but not a huge amount.
10:55
[Comment From Pedro Sttau]
Barry, so basically the personalized results that we will be getting will depend on how many times I chose a website over another one in a given topic? Is that it? And what other criteria will be used?
10:55
Keri Morgret:  Q: Why search wiki doesn't have an off button, when personalized search did?
A: Short answer: we're looking into it. Longer answer: we felt search wiki is much more similar to other aspects of search that aren't a la carte (universal search, site links, related searches). It doesn't make sense to turn each one of those on and off, so they felt it was similar to that. Also, contrary to what people think, they did run a fair number of experiments. They didn't feel that it was a necessary requirement to turn it off, based on that feedback.
10:55
Barry Schwartz:  @Pedro, it includes that, but it is also based on where you are and what you click on... (not a google response)
10:56
Keri Morgret:  Q: What's the adoption of search wiki?
A: Can't say exactly. Adoption rate is something they're comfortable with, and doesn't say anything more.
10:56
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10:57
Keri Morgret:  Q about comments and notes.
A: Two parts. To see comments now, do a search for a particular query. There's a link at bottom of result to view all notes. Collectively includes comments, re-rankings. You'll see results that have been added, removed.
10:57
Keri Morgret:  A bug makes it so that you can only see ten comments on a search result, even if there are more. They're working on resolving this now.
10:57
Barry Schwartz:  He called that a bug, not a "feature" - love it
10:58
Barry Schwartz:  Will you be able to see "comments" on main search results? It is a trade off Google said... It depends and they are looking into it. They want useful comments there and it is hard to know what is useful.
10:59
Keri Morgret:  How can we identify good comments from bad? They're exploring that area right now.
10:59
Keri Morgret:  Q: are you grouping users by search patterns?
10:59
Keri Morgret:  A: An interesting signal. I suspect when you look at it there probably is something that could be useful, but not something that we're doing today.
11:00
Barry Schwartz:  that was my question... didnt think I would get a good answer, but his answer was not bad...
11:00
Keri Morgret:  Doesn't want to go into what metrics might be used from search wiki. Anything Corey says now he'll be proven wrong two weeks from now. Things change.
11:01
Keri Morgret:  Designed to be a useful tool for ordinary searches. He'd be worried about saying "turn up the volume" but says to use it for yourselves, try it out. Spend some time and try it out and see if it is useful for you.
11:01
Do you want Gogole to use SearchWiki data in the ranking algorithm?
Yes
 ( 11% )
No
 ( 33% )
Maybe
 ( 56% )

11:02
Barry Schwartz:  Does SearchWiki or personalized search have a role with the ads? No.
11:02
[Comment From Guest]
searchwiki data + google aglo = gaming galore.
11:02
Keri Morgret:  Q: How strong do the personalized signals have to be before you feel confident overriding standard results?
A: A bunch. Real question is how trigger happy are we?
11:03
[Comment From Pedro Sttau]
Barry: Gotcha. But for example, the geographical element should only be used on certain queries, and I wonder how Google will decide which topics the location should be relevant. For example, why would a client that sells flowers be listed under another Florist just because the search was made from somewhere closer? Also, there is something that really bothers me about this concept of "always giving me what I am used to having". Doesn't it bother anyone else? (even if you can turn it off)
11:03
Keri Morgret:  "Not today" is a common answer to questions about how personalization influences all kinds of things.
11:03
[Comment From Guest]
twitter wont be full of "Digg this or Stumble This" Twitter will be full of - hey everyone can you arrow up xxxxx.com on "xxxxxx" search string?
11:04
Keri Morgret:  Personalization isn't coming in and changing everything in results, changes tend to be minimal. Some re-ranking, but not taking in and throwing things out completely.
11:05
Keri Morgret:  Danny asks how do new places get a chance to rank, if you're always showing results that people have already liked?

11:05
Keri Morgret:  Make it such that it's something that wants to be found that is valuable to users, it will still come up in the results.
11:06
Keri Morgret:  There is still an opportunity for newcommers to come in to the results.
11:06
[Comment From Pedro Sttau]
Kery: Exactly the question I would like answered.
11:06
Keri Morgret:  Danny does talk about the results he's notice are subtle, sometimes even hard to see the differences.
11:07
Barry Schwartz:  How do you get around localized personalized results? I.e. searching for a barber in a specific area
11:07
Barry Schwartz:  You can always change your location in your profile, Google said.
11:07
[Comment From Pedro Sttau]
Keri, Might be because most people simply go for the results in the first page. I think that this will hurt mostly the websites that have not ranked yet for a particular term.
11:07
Barry Schwartz:  Or you can type in "barber [location]" to be more specific
11:08
Keri Morgret:  Danny asks how Google figures out the geographical intent for a website; Bryan said that there are several ways they do this.
11:08
[Comment From Pedro Sttau]
Barry: Yep, but I have clients that sell all over the Hibernian Peninsula, and are currently ranking in Spain and Portugal. This would mean, that depending on where my client is hosted, we would lose out on one of these markets.
11:09
Keri Morgret:  Addresses on page aren't the only way G tries to find that information about localization.
11:09
Keri Morgret:  Bryan cannot say anything more about what these ways are.
11:09
Barry Schwartz:  @Pedro, if you are specific in your query about your location, then yea, but if not, ie. just search for "barbers" then no
11:10
Keri Morgret:  Q: Are people more likely to be using search wiki if they're doing a long tail search or a generic search?
11:10
[Comment From Guest]
nothing i love more then searching on google and seeing "Your results are personalized for the New York City Area"
11:11
[Comment From Pedro Sttau]
Barry: Cheers, could be worse then.
11:12
Keri Morgret:  Corey: They have been doing expirements with search wiki since launch, including visual changes. How can we maintain it being a useful tool. Since launch, there's nothing else they have brought out. Other things they're working on but can't talk about it. Danny calls him a tease.
11:12
Barry Schwartz:  This is a funny Q&A.. "Cannot say," "Can't answer that," "Cannot recall." etc
11:14
Barry Schwartz:  SearchWiki use today is mostly for "personal use"
11:15
Keri Morgret:  There are lots of searches for which there are no results on the notes page. There are a lot of searches where the notes is empty.
11:16
Barry Schwartz:  Keri and I live blogging....
11:16
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11:16
[Comment From Guest]
Barry - tackle him and noogie it out of him
11:16
Barry Schwartz:  @Guest, you tackle him.
11:16
Barry Schwartz:  @Guest, you see my picture, I am a large guy, I'd crush him
11:17
Keri Morgret:  @guest We will take pictures and upload them though.
11:17
Barry Schwartz:  Danny goes on and on about "build a great site" blah blah blah
11:17
[Comment From streko]
dude, i got your back ... umm... if i was there...
11:17
Barry Schwartz:  @streko, thanks!
11:17
[Comment From Pedro Sttau]
Shoes Barry..Shoes...go for it....lets see those Googlers reflexes
11:18
Keri Morgret:  Q: What about malicious comments left on search wiki?
A: Number of things you can do. It's a tool for users. If you encounter such a comment, you can thumbs-down a comment. That feedback is taken into account. You can then flag it as inappropriate.
11:19
Barry Schwartz:  As soon as you report a comment as inapprioriate, it goes away for everyone until it is reviewed.
11:20
Keri Morgret:  q: do you ever see a time when all the results on a page might be customized?
a: bryan: I think I'd be a little surprised if that were ever the case..well, it depends on the query.
11:20
[Comment From Dave Dugdale]
I think the poll about searchwiki is funny. Not many are using it, not even SEO type of people.
11:20
Barry Schwartz:  As you can see from the picture below, I did not sit on the Googlers yet
11:20
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11:21
Keri Morgret:  q: how do search wiki and personalized search interact, if at all? do they talk to each otehr?
a: preferred sites is an experiment we're running, looking to see how people interact it. There are challenges about how to make these two blend together.
11:21
Barry Schwartz:  Hey, I know a lot of people are reading this, common, ask questions!
11:22
[Comment From streko]
be jealous of my searchwiki skillllzzzz http://www.google.com/search?q=buy+viagra&hl=en&hs=Qaf&swm=2
11:22
Keri Morgret:  Bryan: explicit information trumps implicit information.
11:22
[Comment From Dave Dugdale]
Barry, how many people are reading this live feed?
11:22
Barry Schwartz:  @Dave about 15 right now...
11:23
Keri Morgret:  Sugarrae is talking about results that happen even if you're not logged in. Bryan talks about they are using IP address for geolocation for some results.
11:24
Barry Schwartz:  Bryan said there are personalized results bugs and they are trying to fix it... so some things might not make sense right now...
11:24
Keri Morgret:  Bryan: sometimes the ranking changes are so minor isn't not even worth putting there. Do we need to tell users that we switched #9 and #10?
11:24
[Comment From streko]
"some results" - b.s. it s a LOT of results.
11:25
Keri Morgret:  "it hasn't been altered enough in a way we feel it is necessary to call attention to it"
11:25
Barry Schwartz:  here is a video of searchwiki in action
11:25[Video file]YouTube: t8Pl1H0dIXE Play
11:25
[Comment From Pedro Sttau]
Barry: Can you ask if the interaction between the Wiki + Personalized search will be similar to the way it was on http://www.searchmash.com/ (in terms of the interface and everything else)
11:26
Barry Schwartz:  @pedro, submitted question
11:27
Keri Morgret:  q: is there any way for us to spam search wiki results? Danny asks if he's looking for instructions. Person mentions that it's implemented in javascript and wonders about hacking problems.
11:28
Barry Schwartz:  Corey said he is worried about that too
11:28
Keri Morgret:  Search wiki is the largest ajax application added to their search results page.
11:28
Barry Schwartz:  So there was a lot of scrutity on releasing this to the public
11:28
Keri Morgret:  Corey doesn't think it would be interesting to go through the details of what they thought about.
11:29
Keri Morgret:  personally, I think a lot of people here WOULD find that interesting.
11:29
Keri Morgret:  Corey asks for us to let him know if we find holes.
11:29
Barry Schwartz:  Currently, Google is unaware of any holes in this service
11:29
[Comment From Pedro Sttau]
Thanks a lot Barry. Kery, I personally would find if VERY interesting.
11:30
Keri Morgret:  Corey doesn't want to talk too much about all of the techniques they use. He says it might be an interesting conversation to have after the session km: when there aren't a bunch of livebloggers in the room
11:30
[Comment From Dave Dugdale]
Wow, this live interface is pretty cool. I almost feel like I am there. But it would be nice to see more pictures of the session.
11:30
Barry Schwartz:  The pictures are the same, but ill upload more
11:31
[Comment From streko]
@Barry you have one goal tonight - get Corey Drunk.
11:32
Barry Schwartz:  @Steko, Matt wont allow it.
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Comments:

Pedro Sttau

02/11/2009 07:47 pm

Fantastic Coverage guys.

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