Microsoft Research just published a paper revealing a new type of web search ranking: BrowseRank: Letting Web Users Vote for Page Importance. This was a paper for the SIGIR (Special Interest Group on Information Retrieval) conference, which took place in Singapore this week.

In a nutshell, this is an attention-based way of ranking pages: the more a page is visited and the longer time people interact with it, the higher it gets ranks. The researchers claim the results outperform Google’s PageRank.

What’s next? I’d imagine an influence-based ranking alogorithm would be the next thing to come along. That is, you’d have to somehow measure that the information on a page actually changed the reader’s opinion or influenced his or her actions somehow. Go figure out how to do that…

About Jim Kalbach

Head of Customer Experience at MURAL


  1. Pingback: BlogLESS : BrowseRank

  2. I’d guess that before the mysterious influence-based algorithm, there’s a long way to go from this paper to a smart attention-based algorithm. Thanks for the heads-up, James. Food for thought.

  3. Chris

    Very interesting, although this has been tried before. DirectHit had a search engine built entirely on clickstream data (Acquired by in 2000). They got the data from ISPs in those days. The end-result is really not that much better than Page-Rank.

    Me.dium on the other hand ( processing user’s clickstream data in real-time to create a different lens based on what’s going on now. e.g. do a search for John Edwards on Google or Live, and you get and wiki/johnedwards. Do the same search on Me.dium and you learn that today people care about his love child, pictures of his mistress, etc.

    The difference is real-time (what people are browsing now) vs. historical (what they browsed in the past). Social vs. Old School. Check it out.

  4. James Kalbach

    Yes, this isn’t really that new. Apparently, Faroo has been doing this type of ranking as well:

  5. Pingback: Microsoft lança BrowseRank, novo algoritmo de busca « ATer criacao de sites (11) 2527-3032 /

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