Morning Keynote: Andrew Tomkins

Mar 20, 2008 - 10:58 am 1 by

Thursday morning SES New York keynote address by Andrew Tomkins, Chief Scientist, Yahoo! Search

Mike Grehan has called him the smartest man in search today!

Where does Yahoo see search going? Will be the subject of much discussion today.

Eg of a search ... looking to book a vacation to Tuscany.

Start searching .... need hotel, car, flight, etc. Go on trip. Enjoyed it immensely. Now I want to find that amazing coffee I drank in Tuscany. Try to find it online. Ah ... need a special coffee maker. Find it online, buy it. As you can see ... the process can go on for quite a long time.

Trends in Task Complexity: Dawn of search: a. navigation of queries b. pockets of information

Long Running User Goals: Search as a hub: - start here - return for resource discovery and define task boundaries - traverse the web broadly to complete task - web services integrated into search Summary, search will more about hard core productivity.

Content Growth: - published content 3-4 GB created per day - professional web content ~ 2 GB created per day - user generated content 8-10 GB created per day - private text content ~ 3 TB (300x more) created per day - upper bound on types content ~700 TB (200x more again) created per day Only a small fraction of content is being indexed, and even that is growing exponentially.

Growth of Metadata (amount of metadata produced per day): - anchor Text - 100 MB - tags 40 MB - pageviews 180 GB - reviews ~ 10 MB

Content ownership: - content consumption is fragementing - nobody owns more than 10% of www page views - no single place will own all the content - best of breed processing will operate on the web - value transitions to ecosystem

Content Consumption is Fragmenting Across Users: Yahoo peformed a study showing different age groups' search patterns are often defined by stage of life (eg. teenagers search for cars).

The Search Interface: Challenging for search engines, because content is becoming more rich and complex. Content is being published by many more publishers than ever before.

What Does This Mean for Search? - few changes through 2005 - entering preiod of massive change to handle more complex content - rich media, aggregation, simple task analysis - moving beyond the stateless query/response paradigm (understanding tasks) - personalization theory

Rich Media and Search Assistance: Understanding what people want when looking at rich media ... probabalistic search results.

The dataweb needs a killer app!

What has Yahoo announced? Search as the killer app - publishers and search engines collaborate!

Search Results of the future: The amalgamation of lots of content (inclusing reviews, pictures, etc.) called abstracts. Numerous deep links, possibly statistics, rich content, reviews, general information from different publishers (eg. Yelp) in addition to specific companies. Expect the look and feel of search results to change substantially.

Comprehensive Support much more coordination with web publishers (eg. yelp) to show more than one opinion and source of data. Some such formats: - microformats - hcard -more as they get adopted - RDFa and eRDF markup - Open Search - Atom/RSS Feeds

Yahoo announcing support for a different vocabulary to help publishers communicate their information to search engines.

What Does This Mean for Publishers?: - Yahoo! open search platform does not modify ranking - richer abstracts may provide more information to users and draw higher quality/quantity of clicks - we want rich abstracts (results) that give users a better experience - we don't want misleading abstracts This is likely to be based to a large extent on trust.

Different classes of abstracts: Yahoo looking to put together a gallery of abstract formats, that you as a user can select among to see. None of these are proprietary, but are out there for all to get on board with.

The Whole Story - summary: - user needs becoming more complex - content growing, changing, diversifying, fragmenting - search responding by increases in sophistication - value migrating to ecosystem - unlock the value by enabling interoperability - expose semantics

Jeff Quipp is President of Search Engine People Inc. a Toronto SEO, SEM, SMM firm.


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