Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Live from GOOG's Searchology Event For Media...

Posted by Tom Foremski - May 16, 2007

Notes from Search]ology:

I'm at Google's Search]ology event for media, at the Googleplex, for presentations showing that search is still very important to the company. Last week Google announced its new tag line: Search, Ads and Apps and so it wants to make sure it is not drifting away from search.

Search is not spoken about much, "We are a victim of our own success," said Elliott Schrage, Head of Global Communications. We are promised a peak at new search technologies.

So far, the two morning sessions have been numbingly boring, Search 101 for kindergardners. We got to know about pagerank and the importance of links...(!)

Craig Silverstein, Technology Director, and Google employee #1 talked about early Google history, how it was set up in a dorm room, etc, nothing new.

Ben Gomes, software engineer and Kerry Rodden, senior user experience researcher talked about how the first two results on a search are very important and have to be highly relevant(what happened to finding the one most relevant result?).

Then they talked about importance of links, etc. And how a spell checker improves search results.

Udi Manber, VP Engineering, on the Next Step in Evolution of Search: Some basic examples of "not what you say but what you mean." Queries figure out chances of results matching the query (is it Bayesian?).

Mr Manber is now juggling oranges and apples to demonstrate how GOOG has to compare like with like...(!) And compare against different types of media, it is a difficult problem...

Marissa Mayer, VP Search Products & User Experience:
Five minutes about how wonderful and smart Craig Silverstein is.... She tells us that search should be easy, intuitive, simple.

We have two steps that make search even simpler...

We are announcing universal search instead of seperate search engines. (Technorati has already been offering this kind of capability...)

Here is a demo, I'm a huge fan of Steve Jobs...

Next demo: Nosferatu. Here you can watch the entire movie on Google Video...

Next deom: I have a dream. See the video of Dr. King... (Seems not about universal search but about video next to search...)

More and more video examples from YouTube...

New Scoring Function!!! (Just mentioned briefly but this means PageRank is changed because of Universal Search!) We have a new algorithm, and it is based on personalisation.
(This is bad news for SEO'ers trying to get their clients on the first page of results because now, with Universal Search, the page results are crowded out by video, news, blogs, and other results!)

Next announcement: Google Experimental, allows signups and automatically keeps users logged in on future visits...

Now a Q&A panel and Sergey Brin is up on the panel along with the others...

I ask about personalisation data and ethical issues in countries such as China...

Ms Mayer says users can look at their entire search history and see what information Google has about users. And yes, ethical issues are considered. Mr Manber says personalisation data is personal in the aggregate not individually...(!)

It is now over, time for lunch. Overall, a very content-lite experience.

....
Add Info:


WHAT: Live webcast of Google's upcoming invitation-only Searchology™ press conference to be held at its Mountain View, Calif. headquarters.

WHEN: Wednesday, May 16th, 9:30am – 12:30pm PDT

WHERE: http://google.client.shareholder.com/visitors/event/build2/mediapresentation.cfm?MediaID=25550&Player=1

WHY: Google to highlight the latest news on search innovations. Featured speakers will include Marissa Mayer, VP of Search Products & User Experience; Udi Manber, VP of Engineering; and Craig Silverstein, Technology Director.

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