Saturday, April 08, 2006

Google and Clustered Search results

In an intreview with Spiegel when asked about narrowing search results by clustered topics Marissa Mayer stated that: "Do you want to know what I really think of this? It’s interesting, but not really useful.”

"She adds that the majority of users don’t really want to narrow their search, they want an instant answer, and that for those users Google gives the fastest results." via GoogleBlogoscoped

I think clustered topics are more than interesting, clustering search results is definely useful. For Google this might not be useful beacuse they need to give away real estate in their screen where they are getting revenues. Users do not want to get just "faster resuts" but useful results and insights from the results.
I am not sure if Marissa Mayer saw some of the clustered results implementation that are available in reseach environments. Here is an example of a search for "laser nanotechnology materials" in Google Scholar and Engineering Village. Using the Engineering Village's clusters, I can find some "answer" like most prolific author, affiliation etc whereas Google Scholar just dumps the results.


Christina said...

I think there are some important questions here. Like what does "most users" mean? Does Google actually provide an answer? How does Google know what an answer looks like? Does the user know what the answer will look like? In some cases, yes. I really think faceted narrowing is much, much better than clustering, but even clustering is better than a list of relevant pages. Sometimes, though, a customer will just need a fact from a handbook (viscosity, or melting point, or raman spectra) or an appropriate equation -- and these are not well done by compendex, either, because the nature of the information indexed (cutting edge conf articles and polished journal papers, etc). In fact, for most people needing this information- search is not best, it's lookup in a known book (CRC hdbk of Chem & Phys, for example). IMHO

Anonymous said...

SearchBlox has added Clustering of Search Results to its search engine and they have a Free download which lets you do clustering.

they have a nice implementation at