Social Search and Personalization

May 16th

Gord Hotchkiss recently posted about how he thought personalization was Google's trump card in social search. DigitalGhost noticed that Yahoo! hired some of the best sociology professors in the world, including Duncan J. Watts.

Bill Slawski recently highlighted that the original goal of PageRank was to:

...be useful for estimating the amount of attention any document receives on the web since it models human behavior when surfing the web

Google has a personalized home page, recommends gadgets, added many verticals to their organic search results, and biases the search results to your interests. With Google and other engines adding more content types directly to the search results, and adding more ways to search through it, the need for many of the niche communities diminishes. The social communities built on strong brands or bias will want central editors. Communities built on other weaker commonalities will wither.

Many of the smaller social search plays will get buried under their own weight. At this point, their page count will increase faster than their authority does, and as their outbound traffic drops so will their interest and authority. In other words, I think most of the social search plays are at best a fad.

Published: May 16, 2007

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Comments

mblair
May 17, 2007 - 12:02pm

Aaron, your predictions sound strikingly in line with John Reese's that you blogged about last month. The rich will get richer. I think over the last month you've been identifying an additional factor that Reese didn't exactly cover: technological innovation is going to favor Google and Yahoo, enabling them to aggregate niche content in ways that will become as entrenched as the traditional search market already is.

Personally, I believe that Google is gradually deploying a wide range of scattered services and applications that they will then unify with an overarching social network. By rolling out the services first, they stay off the radar and they know that when they do roll out a social network that ties it all together, they need to make sure they do it right as flopping that would be a major blow.

I think that if they do roll out something that ties it all together socially it will give them new metrics and datasets that are unique and self-sustaining.

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