Chris Sherman is moderating this session, the room isn't crazy full but its substantial for the first ever one of these. Chris says Social Search is Internet wayfinding tools informed by human judgement. Informed can mean many things - including egregiously uniformed. No good industry standard definition yet. Chris explains that we have always had some sort of social search. If you look at Tim Berners-Lee page, you will see a form of it. Also the Yahoo directory. Meta tags were created in 1996 to help content owners influence search engines (mass failure). Algorithmic search is fundamentally social by human biases. Also search engines observe human behavior - click paths, popular urls, and use this to modify algorithms. New personalization efforts are also used to refine search for everyone. So why is there so much buzz about social search these days. Chris said algorithmic search, in his opinion, has plateaued. Humans are still better at some things than computers. A major factor, - many if not most of the players in social search are leveraging the work of volunteers. Types of social search; shared bookmarks & web pages = del.icio.us, shadows, myweb, furl, diigo. Tag engines (blog & rss); technorati, bloglines. Collaborative directories; ODP, prefound, zimbio, and wikipedia. Personalized verticals; eurekster, rollyo. Collaborative harvesters; digg, netscape, reddit (popurls.com). Social Q&A sites; Google Answers, Yahoo Answers, AnswerBag. What are the issues with social search? Scale & Scope will be an issue. People simply cannot keep up with the explosive growth of the Web, so it is hard to scale. Tagging issues; ambiguity of language, lack of controlled vocabulary, human laziness, and we are not the brightest all the time; and finally we have spammers who take advantage of it. What will ultimately work with social search? A combo of both algorithms and people mediated search, you will see "trust networks, " you will see an increased level of personalization and user control over results filtering and social search will probably work best for non text content (photos, music, videos, etc.).
Great intro Chris,
Next up is Grant Ryan from Eurekster is up first. Personal publishing is king (books = web sites, newspaper = blogs, radio = podcasts, TV = YouTube, encyclopedia = wikipedia, and then the search engine). All media get fragmented over time. More and more people are defining what is relevant to them. Swiciki owners have control over (siwki?); where results come from, single source or many, how are they filtered, how are they modified and how can make changes, how they look, how users are drawn in and how they make money from their search result (swicki). He shows an example of one swicki, a personalized search engine created by you. He shows off a sleeping search engine and shows the tag cloud (buzz cloud) on the right. He then shows how you can monetize. You can use visual ads, you can have text ads, you can have affiliates, you can have free, you can have banners, etc. He describes how he built a solution to automatically gather the list of the most referred sites you search engines send people to and then send an email to them for them to place ads on your search engines. Swickinomics; property rights are key to motivate people in the long term for any economic system, anyone can create a valuable asset building on their knowledge expertise and existing property, existing communities and brand scan extend into web search to create valuable services and revenue, everyone in the world can help organize the internet and earn an income at the same time.
Tim Mayer from Yahoo! is up now. He announced Search Builder, a Eurekster like product. He throws up some blah slides on why Yahoo is into social search. Basically because it is core to search and they hired a pretty big name for social search - see the SEW blog from last week. He then shows the historical perspective of social search, much like Chris Sherman did earlier. Yahoo! believes in tagging and the next breakthrough in search. Tags and Answers. He then throws up the Yahoo mission line; find, use share and expand all human knowledge. Yahoo!'s social search strategies; obtain critical mass of high quality user generated content, and leverage knowledge and metadata... He puts up the pyramid, early adopters (delicious, myweb), web sites and human knowledge... He first shows off MyWeb; Yahoo!'s extensive bookmarking application (it looks much better then it did on day one). He then puts up a search result by Yahoo and Google, the query is "cool lamps." With normal web search, you really wont know what "cool" lamps are. But with MyWeb, you can see who said what lamps are cool, since a person tagged them. He then shows Yahoo! Answers, ask answer and discover. He shows the vertical integration of Yahoo! Answers in Yahoo! Search Results via Yahoo! Shortcut.
Nils Pohlmann from Windows Live Search, Microsoft. He defines social search as enabling a social network to refine and create additional search results. Windows Live Spaces big new feature is social networking. Why are we doing this now? Community content used to be chat and forums and newsgroups. Now there are much richer ways to create content. He demos a few services; Windows Live QnA in private beta which is similar to Yahoo! Answers, Windows Live QnA is different because you can see networks, its more social, he says. QnA has tags, Windows Live suggests tags for you. By clicking on a contributor, you can view the person's reputation, QnA score. To find out more about the contributor, you can click on through to that person's Windows Live Space. Friends are pulled from MSN Messenger. He then shows Windows Live Messenger, on that you can see a little "gleam" to let people know they have new content. He then shows off Windows Live Local, the cool maps, and it has "collections." You can share your maps with your space, friends. He then shows Windows Live Expo and shows in the search results that there are indicators for your contacts, or in your "group," you will be more likely to trust them. http://ideas.live.com is how to try out betas.
I am sorry if this coverage is a bit hard to read, I just feel so tired... This is real time typing, no grammar checking, etc.