A short post but primarily to keep this blog inside it’s personalization remit (not that there is a remit, just…well…). If you have read any of my previous posts specifically in the ‘personalization’ or ‘media personalizing’ categories you would have realised that as we move from straight search to this area we can expect big moves across the industry. Google, Yahoo, MSN are the major ones on the web and as we know the web when it reaches 3.0 (2.0 user publishing 3.0 the personalized web) will become a useable place to get stuff you want quickly – AND still include surprises – aimed at those annoying, personalization kills serendipity old school types!

Google has just file a patent to take over the world therefore. These patents creep into the US patent office quietly and then 5-10 years later bite with latent ferocity. This one reported by Search Engine Journal highlights something called “Organic Results…”

This new ranking system, which is a spin off of PageRank and the current Google ranking algorithm, could be referred to as Profile Rank. What is the difference between this new ranking system and Google Personalized Search? Personalized Search was beta tested by Google users who have opted in to Google profile building while the new Profile Rank is based upon user profiles built by tracking a users web habits in and outside of Google Search, even if the user has not opted in to be served personalized results or is a registered Google Account member : Wide Spread Personalization to all users.

The key here is the words “outside of Google Search”, so even as you browse and journey across other parts of the web, Google will be watching (of course your happy for that to happen) because – in a world where all your personal media will be delivered via IP, for some that world is already here, those players who offer the most relevant way to get to it will be the winners and the point of entry into potentially any service. Also in a device scarce household Google are starting to move into strange areas such as ‘characteristic access patterns” – identifying you by what you look for, how you use the system…

What about shared machines? If the one computer is shared by various users with different web behavior, how is Google to define Profile Rank in its organic search results? Google has thought this though :
Sometimes, multiple users may share a machine, e.g., in a public library. These users may have different interests and preferences. In one embodiment, a user may explicitly login to the service so the system knows his identity. Alternatively, different users can be automatically recognized based on the items they access or other characteristics of their access patterns. For example, different users may move the mouse in different ways, type differently, and use different applications and features of those applications. Based on a corpus of events on a client and/or server, it is possible to create a model for identifying users, and for then using that identification to select an appropriate “user” profile. In such circumstances, the “user” may actually be a group of people having somewhat similar computer usage patterns, interests and the like.

Good Old Google. Having used the personalized search pages for most of my RSS feeds and obviously straight 20th Century search I am finding far more relevance already , seem to just get the things I need at least within the first 50 search suggestions, or maybe there is just some placebo-search thing going on 😉

Posted by Gary Hayes ©2005