Don Park has some search ideas, and he wants to put em in the public domain before he goes up to MSFT for some advisory board meetings on search. His first, the Search Hat, is neat, and groups into the personalization category. I’m not sure it’s a feature for the masses, but the ability to “go modal” while searching – “I’m searching as a reporter, not as a shopper,” for example – would be very cool for advanced users. (We could use “Tivo Hats” and “Amazon Hats” while we’re at it….)
For example, if I search for ‘Eclipse’ while wearing the ‘Software Developer’ hat, I should get Eclipse IDE related links before links related to the astrophysical phenenomon. If even I was interested in the later, results I get back should be different depending on whether I am wearing a Physicist’s hat or a Photographer’s hat.
Information on which links are relevant to which hats can be culled by keeping track of which hats searchers are wearing when they do the searches. Same information can be used to recommend hats a searcher might be interested in wearing. Hats can also be shared amonger searchers explicitly.
Like Dr. Seuss’s magic hats, there are hats within hats so seachers can browse for the right hat that suits them by diving into hats or grabbing one of the hats returned as part of each search result. Over time, a user’s hat collection will be refined and adjusted to meet the user’s search needs.