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Google Conducts Trial on User-Voted Search Results 110

Posted by Zonk
from the wisdom-of-the-what-now dept.
Grim Reaping writes "A feature in testing at Google Labs allows users to not only prioritize their favorite results, but also move, ignore, and add search results to personalized records of their preferences. The experiment features a simple 'thumbs up' and 'thumbs down' option for each search result; users can also suggest a URL that might be more relevant to their query. 'Other Google users will not be affected by the individual tweaking: instead it will be stored along with the users' own personal information for the next time they search for this word or phrase, so users are required to log in to avail of it.'" The company is also clear on the experiment's page: this feature may never see full release on the site.
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Google Conducts Trial on User-Voted Search Results

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  • MOD LINK UP (Score:3, Funny)

    by noidentity (188756) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @03:30PM (#21522389)
    Obligatory.
  • ...but eventually you just know that they'll start to prioritize search results with it.

    At which point it will become the world's #1 target for gaming, primarily via mass vote-up botnets.
  • Implications (Score:5, Insightful)

    by explosivejared (1186049) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (deraj.nagah)> on Thursday November 29, 2007 @03:32PM (#21522409)
    This will work wonders for their advertising model. You are essentially telling them what you to see advertised right off the bat. I couldn't see why this is a bad idea. I know they say "it may never be fully released," but everything with google is always a beta. Another win-win provided from google. It just goes to show business people everywhere that actually providing a service (ie not harming your customers or trying to milk them) is an extremely effective model for business.
    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by neoform (551705)
      It's a bad idea since there will certainly be massive abuse. Companies will pop up whose sole purpose it is to vote up their clients links.

      Imagine getting completely bogus results that you weren't looking for all because someone paid enough money to pump up the non-paid links?
      • Unless they're planning on hacking everyone's account, that's not going to work. It only adjusts personal preferences.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by richlv (778496)
          that might seem like a good idea, but i rarely log in to search for something (that is, i almost never log in).
          but i quite often encounter obsolete pages being in the first spots with actual search targets pushed even to second and further pages - in these i cases i really would like to provide information on which page has the actual information - but this would do little for me as next time i would now what to look for.
          i'd like to give a quick feedback to help other users, but i also understand that such
          • by Nazlfrag (1035012)
            Well, they know which link you clicked or didn't, that should provide adequate feedback to determine if the top results aren't being useful, though I suppose many will click the first link blindly skewing the figures somewhat. So just by using their site naturally you are providing feedback (assuming they examine that data).
      • Did you miss the part where they say it's for your *personal* results, not global?
  • Too many searches I make (and Google isn;t the worst about this, in fact they are the least bad) had none of the search terms anywhere on the page that comes up in the search results. Someone (google?) needs a system like this. Hope it works and is implimented!
  • The experiment features a simple 'thumbs up' and 'thumbs down' option for each search result; users can also suggest a URL that might be more relevant to their query. 'Other Google users will not be affected by the individual tweaking: instead it will be stored along with the users' own personal information for the next time they search for this word or phrase, so users are required to log in to avail of it.'"

    That's pretty much what StumbleVIdeo already does and has been doing for years

    • by SnoopJeDi (859765)
      Facebook also recently introduced a thumbs-up/down system in your personalized newsfeed.
      • by richlv (778496)
        talking about newsfeeds... freshmeat releases feed is quite cool, but what i _really_ would like to have - an ability to mark specific projects to never be included in my feed. this might also be a generic feed reader capability - to hide certain events by applying regexes to their subjects.
        i wonder how feasible both of these are :)
        • Try taking a look at Yahoo Pipes [yahoo.com], there you can make a "pipe", which filters entries in a RSS feed using f.i. regexes.
          • by richlv (778496)
            thanks for the link, looks quite neat. i'm a bit concerned that it is web based, i'd be more comfortable with a local software - but if i won't find any, i guess i'll try those pipes :)
    • by calebt3 (1098475)
      /. should implement something similar for the Firehose. ;-)
  • by Sciros (986030) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @03:41PM (#21522567) Journal
    Bob: "Hey Phil you mind telling why Google gives me porn and Youtube videos as the top 10 results for *anything* I type on your computer?"
    Phil: "Heh heh, it is quite bothersome using other peoples' computers , is it not?"
    • Seems like it reminds you of a 2-panel manga.

      Or did you use the fabled [invisible][/invisible] tags for the other two panels? :)
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Sciros (986030)
        Well there's a 4-panel manga called Lucky Star (also an anime now) that has a very similar bit in it (a joke to do with romaji-to-kanji transformation by word processors on JP comps -- specifically homonyms where the best-guess transformation is "learned" by the software from frequency of use). The first two panels in this case would have been 2 successive attempts at a Google search with the results being all porn/Youtube videos. Then my dialogue would have been in panels 3 and 4.
  • ...hot or not?
  • What I really want is a personalized filter for all my Google searches. Maybe there is already a way to do this, but I want -site:expertsexchange.com as an argument to every search I do. I don't have an account with them, so I hate it when they appear in search results. And more importantly, I'm only interested in armature sex changes, so I simply never want to see search results from that site.
    • Amen to that. That site is really annoying because I keep clicking on their damn links before I realize it's that site once again. it would be great if I could automatically remove it from all results right off the bat.

      And I'm of course assuming you mean experts-exchange, right? Otherwise, never mind. Well, wait, I still don't want to see the other one either.
    • by maxume (22995)
      Last I noticed, if you view source at expertsexchange, it the page contains an unscrambled version of the answer that gets hidden by css or some such.

      I didn't even know armatures had genders, but if nothing else, the internet has proven that there is a fetish for everything.
    • It lets you permanently remove search results you don't want to see.
    • If you scroll down all the way to the end of the page on experts-exchange.com (past all the stuff that *looks* like a footer) you can view all the answers. It's helped me a few times.
  • if SEO's are allowed to thumb up down their competitors' websites, we're in trouble. Now a feature i'd love to see, is a "This is spam" button for search results. But then again, who's modding the mods?

    And perhaps this is the very reason why it may never see the public light.
    • by Proteus (1926)

      if SEO's are allowed to thumb up down their competitors' websites, we're in trouble.
      Oh, come on. RTF summary at least. The thumbs up/thumbs down will only affect your own personal search results, and will not be used to affect the results of others. It said that, explicitly, right in the summary!
    • by eyrieowl (881195)
      I would love the search engines to come up with a better way to filter spam. I totally agree on the "this is spam" button. There's probably multiple ways they could accomplish it, everything from only giving you 'mod points' for a limited time period, randomly, to requiring you to have an authenticated install of a google app on your machine to be allowed to mod. Of course nothing is foolproof, but I think you could make it very effectively difficult to corrupt the results with bots. Maybe you could sim
  • by SwordsmanLuke (1083699) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @03:47PM (#21522651)
    So, you can adjust your personal search results, which are then saved for your use next time... How is this useful? If the search results aren't what I want the first time, I'm not likely to dig through them looking for better links - I'm going to try a different search phrase.

    On top of that, once I find what I'm looking for, I'm either going to bookmark it or forget about it. I'm not going to search on the same keyword/phrase every time I want to visit a website.

    I realize this is just a trial, but seriously, can anyone explain to me how this a good idea?
    • That's what I though at first too, but then I realized that I have a bookmarks toolbar at the top of my browser which I NEVER touch and that I very often find pages over and over by googling them every time I need them. Maybe you have the time to carefully organize your bookmarks, but mine are old, unorganized, and useless because google is so effective that it doesn't make sense to bother with them. I'm guessing I'm not the only one.
    • who said anything about the same keyword? imagine that it actually learns about your general preferences and applies that to any other keyword searches.
      • who said anything about the same keyword?
        From TFA: "[The users' adjustments] will be stored along with the users' own personal information for the next time they search for this word or phrase" (Emphasis mine, for the record.)

        If it did actually learn about your preferences, that would be awesome, but such a feature would require an incredibly powerful AI to infer your preferences for future unrelated searches from your changes made.
        • It wouldn't be nearly as difficult as you think. If I search for "text editor" and don't click anything, but 10 seconds later search for "mac text editor" and push the arrow on TextMate, then doing a search for "web ide" might give higher priority to the ones that run on a mac. That would hardly require a fancy AI. It's a piece of cake next to many of the algorithm's google is already using.

          I realize they're not doing this now, but it's the next step if customizing your results goes big. Google is already

      • by ArsonSmith (13997)
        This is something I used to joke about when google was first emerging as the best browser. I would say "Google is so good if you wanted to buy a new Chevrolet you could type car into the search and it would give you a list of Chevrolets. If you wanted to buy a new Ford you could type car into the search and it would give you a list of Fords." This may very well produce that level of "knowning you" (hah i love scare quotes)
    • by Java Pimp (98454)
      Well, I've always wanted a way to filter out results from experts-exchange.com. They always show up when I search for something technical. The site might be useful except it costs $$$ to actually get to the answer. My employer certainly isn't going to buy me a subscription so the site is instead a c*ck tease and a waste of time. I would love a way to get them removed from my search results!
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Hunter-Killer (144296)
        The workaround to get at the info on ExEx is to use Google's cached version of the link, and then browse just the cached text.

        Is it wrong to do this? I'd assume ExEx thinks so, as their business model depends on it. However, their links would not appear as often on Google unless they indexed the answer too. It's wrong to offer search engines information, but users less or different stuff (which is why they're hated). Having the info accessible by other means is a price they find willing to accept in order t
      • by number6 (38954)
        Funny, my first thought was "Great, at last I can filter out experts-exchange". Rather than basing this on keywords, they should allow you to give a personalised page rank modifier to a site. They could then use the information that 90% of people mark a site up or down and factor that into their base calculations. Obviously open to abuse by site owners, though in theory real users would mark it down as soon as it started being returned near the top of search results.
    • by martinlp (904606)
      "On top of that, once I find what I'm looking for, I'm either going to bookmark it or forget about it. I'm not going to search on the same keyword/phrase every time I want to visit a website."
      thats what I and I suspect many others do...unless? I need to get outside today..
    • I realize this is just a trial, but seriously, can anyone explain to me how this a good idea?
      The more you use it, the better it learns what you mean when you type "black rubber strapping" and gives the results appropriate weighting just for you.
       
  • Personal results? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by calebt3 (1098475) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @03:54PM (#21522749)

    Other Google users will not be affected by the individual tweaking: instead it will be stored along with the users' own personal information for the next time they search for this word or phrase, so users are required to log in to avail of it
    Wouldn't this defeat the purpose of voting one site a better result than another? Why bother ranking sites when bookmarking the results would achieve the same result (as well as be independent of a login). Actually, a plugin that bookmarks the top ~15 search results automatically might be a useful FF plugin...
    Back on topic: Why not allow a "standard search" or "community-moderated search" toggle switch? The only downside to a community-modded search that I can see in goatse being voted up by hoards of trolls.
    • The way this would work is quite simple: Google classifies all sites. So when you tell it that you like or dislike one site, Google adjusts the weight of the classes to which the site belongs in your profile. When you search, Google uses your personal class weights as one parameter of the ranking algorithm. For example, if you search for "mercedes" and "thumb down" price comparison sites, and then search for "canon", Google won't show you price comparison sites on the first page, even if they are not the sa
    • >> Why bother ranking sites when bookmarking the results would achieve the same result (as well as be independent of a login).

      We're not talking about the same result you get by bookmarking here, but about splitting the results into different sub-domains and having the search system automatically prioritize the sub-domain you search most often.

      For example, if you are always searching for cars and always choose links to fuel-consumption statistics, it would make sense for you to have the statistics resu
    • Why bother ranking sites when bookmarking the results would achieve the same result (as well as be independent of a login).

      What's not clear from the link is whether the promotion is used when you search for the same exact set of keywords, or whether it affects the any searches using any of the terms in the search that matched the particular page. Of course, either does a different thing than a bookmark, though they are something similar to the many web-based bookmark systems. What's particularly odd is t

  • I'd like to see... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shotgunefx (239460) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @04:03PM (#21522879) Journal
    the ability to tell Google "NO" when it suggests alternative phrases. You would think that would be valuable feedback.
  • Hooray (Score:3, Insightful)

    by soxos (614545) on Thursday November 29, 2007 @04:05PM (#21522915) Homepage Journal
    No more experts-exchange.com results!!
    • by centinall (868713)
      This was the first thing that popped into my head too!!! Glad to see that I'm not the only one to be annoyed by experts-exchange.com.

      However, an even better idea is to have a little trash can next to the link allowing you to delete EE completely of the internet. But this will do for now ;-)
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Nimey (114278)
        If you click on the cached copy, you can usually see the answers on that site.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by fbartho (840012)
          In addition, the responses are just rot13 in the html source overlayed with a blur jpg. Someone should make a firefox extension or greasemonkey script that decrypts it. Btw isn't it against the rules to feed the googlebot something other than what a user finds?
    • I don't know if you have noticed, but if you get one of those results, and would like to read the actual answers instead of the "register for the answer" masking... just use the google cache link for the page. That is why google lists the result, it sees the answer text and everything. This has always worked for me.
      • by soxos (614545)
        I think that was a time dependent thing. I tried it yesterday (while searching for how to do drop left join on the first row in an unrelated table... don't ask), the cache had a login page. Course I could be wrong. They're damn answers are rarely any good at all.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TheSpoom (715771) *
      You know you can just scroll down to see the answer, right? It's usually about halfway down the page, they just don't want you to know it's there.
    • C'mon, they're not that bad. Just look at Google's cached copy (or block all experts-exhange cookies) so it's not all gibberish and there's often some decent information to be found.
  • like ignore experts-exchange.com/*? Should I continue praying?
  • I can't find this feature on Google's Experimental page. Did they remove it already? Did they get slashdotted?
  • All major search engines use click-throughs as one of the features in their rankers. I.e. if for a certain set of query terms people mostly click on fifth link in the results, this link will soon move up to be the first or second link. Of course, since this is not the only feature in the ranker, there's no "hard" guarantee of that happening, but on average relevant links get boosted pretty heavily that way.
  • by 4D6963 (933028)

    Yay! That means it's gonna be even easier to make things like that "miserable failure" meme happen! Now excuse me while I write a script that automatically "mods up" my sites and "mods down" sites I don't like using various anonymous proxies!

    • Yay! That means it's gonna be even easier to make things like that "miserable failure" meme happen!


      Only if you are trying to influence other people who search while they are logged into your Google Account.

  • by adolf (21054)
    Now, everyone can finally thumbs-down experts-exchange.com into oblivion.

  • This is obviously a precursor to Google's plan to replace the entire jury system.... with Google Trial! (they'd call it gtrial but that's already trademarked in the Netherlands).

    O.J. Simpson? GUILTY! [googlefight.com]

    Mumia? INNOCENT BY A HAIR! [googlefight.com]

    Slobodan Milosevic, a war criminal? YES INDEED. [googlefight.com]

    And so is President Bush [googlefight.com].
  • There is already a company that does user-rated/controlled search, it's called Mahalo. It's nothing new
  • This is basically just incorporating StumbleUpon in their web searches. I wonder if StumbleUpon (an eBay company) has a patent on this technology? If nothing else, this will make the the already frigid relationship between Google and eBay a little more testy.
  • Because if they can pull it off, and it grows beyond just an experimental state, they get Yahoo and/or DMOZ quality monitoring of the results in their main searches. Here's why: I don't use Google nearly as much as I used to because folks have figured out how to mess with the results. So where I used to get 100, 200, or 500 results, I am now getting hundreds of thousands, and there is little guarantee that the quality links will be at the top of the list any more.

    So let's assume that millions of eyeballs

  • A lot of people seem to be complaining about this being useless because it only affects your own future search results, and for terms you've already searched. Who says it'll always be that way, though? Wouldn't it make more sense that this is a test to see how many people would take advantage of such a feature, and whether they agree with each other (or can be classified into people who are looking for footwear vs. people having trouble with lilo), and whether they do a good job of rewarding really useful
  • What I'd like to vote on is the fact that a link I followed has either changed its content, or has simply disappeared. I am getting enough of these to make searching a much less than a pleasurable experience. Google can then remove the link from their database. In this way we can all help Google to help us.

    OOOPS!! So sorry I forgot - some people think helping a Giga-Corp. to help us is morally wrong.
      well. Stuffit!! Which Google employeee should I send the idea to?

He keeps differentiating, flying off on a tangent.

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