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…
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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.
Very interesting, although this has been tried before. DirectHit had a search engine built entirely on clickstream data (Acquired by Ask.com 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 (http://me.dium.com/search)is 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 johnedwards.com 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. http://me.dium.com/search.
Yes, this isn’t really that new. Apparently, Faroo has been doing this type of ranking as well: http://www.faroo.com/
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