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Google Says: Check Under Our Hood (Personalized Search, et al)

By - March 29, 2004

google_kaltix_resultsGoogle’s got a refined look, and it’s rolling out a Labs approach to personalized search. The approach is distinct, it requires a lot of input from the user. It’s the result, I believe, of an integration with the Kaltix technology Google bought last year. The company, in a press release, calls their personalized search “revolutionary.” We’ll see. The Labs implementation walks you through a step by step process which uses categories to refine and personalize your search, and uses a search for “Stanford” in the health category as the example. I changed it to “Berkeley” and got a message that “Personalized results not available for this query.” But I’m not *from* Stanford…

Google also released the ability to receive search results via email (called Google Web Alerts, a lot like Google News Alerts), and made a host of tweaks to its interface, most notably on the home page (the “tabs” are now links, check out the “more” link, and also the search box seems bigger, and there’s a line imploring you to “get more from Google” ); in Froogle, which now has it’s own spot on the home page and gets a redesign (new tagline, but it’s still in beta); and in news (incorporates thumbnails).

My first take: This is Google saying “Hey, folks, there’s a lot more to us than meets the eye. Come take a look, and get into a relationship with us.” More when I get back from morning rounds.

BTW, the Google Directory lost its place on the home page….

(full release in extended entry)

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

GOOGLE INTRODUCES PERSONALIZED SEARCH SERVICES; SITE
ENHANCEMENTS EMPHASIZE EFFICIENCY

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – March 29, 2004 – Google Inc. today released three
new innovative features that demonstrate the company’s ongoing
commitment to improving the search experience for users. The new offerings
include a revolutionary search engine that uses user preferences to match
search results to their interests, a service that delivers search results
via
email, and an enhanced interface for Google web sites worldwide.

Google Personalized Web Search and Google Web Alerts, both debuting on
Google Labs, enable searchers to specify what interests them and to receive
customized results based on those interests. Changes to the Google interface

improve the speed and accessibility of Google’s search offerings, further
demonstrating the company’s focus on providing the best search experience
for users.

“Today, Google takes the first step in providing personal search results
based on users’ preferences,” said Larry Page, co-founder and president,
Products. “We can deliver search results tailored to your interests or
promptly email you new information on any topic. In addition, Google has a
cleaner new interface and easy access to the comprehensive Froogle product
search.”

Google’s personalized search services
Google Personalized Web Search and Google Web Alerts deliver customized
search results based on preferences that users specify.

Google Personalized Web Search uses personal preferences to deliver custom
search results based on interests selected by users. Users can control the
degree of personalization in their results using a slider, and see the
results
change dynamically as the degree of personalization changes. For example,
music enthusiasts will see different relevant sites for a search on [bass]
than
people who indicate an interest in the outdoors. More information about both

services can be found at http://labs.google.com.

Google Web Alerts are automatic updates for web users who want to stay
current with topics that interest them. After specifying keywords they want
to track, users can receive daily or weekly email with links to new web page

results, plus top stories from Google News that are related to each query.
For
example, Google Web Alerts can be used to follow the progress of a favorite
sports team or a business competitor, all without having to perform searches

repeatedly.

Google interface enhancements
The Google homepages and search results pages worldwide have been
modified to include links across the top of the search box, which directly
connect users to other Google services including Froogle. These links
provide
a faster, simpler search experience. Also, with Froogle now available via
the
Google homepage, shoppers can directly search the web for products to buy.

Google search results pages also feature a cleaner look to better connect
users to relevant information, additional Google search services and
targeted
advertising. As always, Google’s sponsored links are clearly marked, so
users
can easily distinguish between advertisements and search results, which
Google strives to make as objective and unbiased as possible.

Three additional search enhancements announced today include:

. New Froogle home page and search results page – Froogle’s
simpler new design closely resembles the Google homepage and search
results page. The new Froogle homepage also features links to recent
popular product searches, such as [iPod cases] or [airzooka] instead of
categories. These links enable users to see the variety of products that can

be found via Froogle, from the most obscure to the most popular. Try a
search on Froogle at http://froogle.google.com.

. A new number range (numrange) advanced search command
enables users to specify that results contain numbers in a range they set.
Users can conduct a numrange search by specifying two numbers, separated
by two periods, with no spaces. For example, a user looking for information
about DVD players between $250 and $350 or technical information on high
capacity batteries, can conduct a search for [DVD player $250..$300] or
[50..1000 wh/kg battery].

. Images now featured in Google News search results – Google News
now displays thumbnail images of photos that relate to news stories. By
including these photos, users receive more detail about any given event.
Accessible from the Google homepage and at http://news.google.com,
Google News provides users with multiple viewpoints on numerous stories
from more than 4,500 English-language news sources worldwide.

About Google Inc.
Google’s innovative search technologies connect millions of people around
the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D.
students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in
all major global markets. Google’s targeted advertising program, which is
the largest and fastest growing in the industry, provides businesses of all
sizes with measurable results, while enhancing the overall web experience
for users. Google is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout

North America, Europe, and Asia. For more information, visit
www.google.com.

# # #

Google is a trademark of Google Inc. All other company and product names
may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they are
associated.

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8 thoughts on “Google Says: Check Under Our Hood (Personalized Search, et al)

  1. Greg Linden says:

    If you’re curious what a personalized version of Google News might look like, take a look at Findory News. Findory learns from the news you read, searches thousands of sources, and finds articles that match your interests.

  2. Vic Samuels says:

    I’ve been using Google Alert for almost a year now, and I can’t see what Google’s Web Alerts add. I wonder if Google even know that Google Alert exists?

  3. Rune Skaug says:

    Vic: Probably. When doing a Google search for “Google Web Alerts”, their site is the first to pop up. As a significant number of Google searches (in general) are “ego searches”, my guess is they’ve tried it.

  4. Vic:yes, Google must know about Google Alert, as they’ve given them access to beyond the 1000 daily queries offered by the Google API.

    The big question, is a) why did it take sooo long for Google to come up with this, and b) why not RSS/Atom yet? why? it isn’t as if they own a company that produces over a million Atom feeds, or anything like that…

  5. Gary says:

    A problem with both Google Alert and Google Web Alert is that they only look for new pages in the first 100 (Google Alert) or the first 20 results
    (Google Web Alerts). What happens if a new page appears at number 120 or number 25. Will the page ever appear in the first 20 results? Maybe not. If it does, it might take weeks/months to get there.

  6. Good point Gary! In a few weeks Google Alert will be launching a premium service, which will allow tracking up to the top 500 results per search. I’ve been testing this internally for several months now, and I can tell you as a user that it’s an extremely powerful tool for research or business intelligence.

  7. Dilip Samuel says:

    If you people could dig a little into the past, you’ll know that after the implementation of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee was determined to bring out the Semantic Web projected more powerful than what Google now is. I’m very certain that Google is inching towards that goal and is in process of making the web more relevant.