Friday, April 23, 2004

We're Moving Actually, We're Expanding.

I may update this weblog from time to time, but most likely I will be talking about Eureskter on a new personal blog I am starting using typepad. Reading through this blog, you'll see that I didn't entirely focus on eurekster. However, I did keep it focussed to the topics of search, personalization and general web geekery. I've found that this was a bit constraining, as I've gotten more into blogging. So, I've started my personal weblog, pc4media. I've created a category for eurekster on it.

I still think Eurekster is a great site, a great company, and me moving my blog has nothing to do with them. They are the first to introduce a personalized search engine that is worth talking about, and they are still the only one that allows social searching - or searching guided by other like minded people. This decision was about me and my blogging needs and desires.

Sidenote: If you want to know why I switched to typepad from blogspot, read this.

Monday, April 12, 2004

EureskterBlog Search Rank

The eureksterblog is one of the top 20 search terms on eurekster. Makes Sense. About Time.

Mozilla/Firefox Extension for Eurekster Toolbar

Here it is.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Spreading Memes
Participate in The Memespread Project

What is it? Here's what he says:
What is the Memespread Project? I am conducting an experiment about the spread of memes and information flow on the Internet. By analyzing where a link has been injected into the blogspace and then watching the ensuing hits to that site, the temporal and spatial spread of this piece of information can be measured.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Everyone's an Editor

Check out Nick Denton's new creation, Kinja, the weblog guide.
Create your own public "digests" of the sites you like. Its like a public newsreader. This is pretty damn smart. I can't believe its the first of its kind. Anyone else know of anything like it? Oh, The world of RSS is exciting.
Ed Sims explains what Outride's Approach to Search Personalization Was

Ed Sims is a VC who seeded Outride, the spin-out from Xerox-Parc that was gobbled up by google. He explains what Outride did. I guess their approach was to learn from user and workgroup's behavior similar to eurekster's approach. He also mentions that the comparison I wrote yesterday of google personalized vs eurekster was "nice". Score one for the EureksterBlog. ding. Thanks Ed!

A Random Search Group

I think search groups will help eurekster spread more virally than the private network component of Eurekster. The motivation for inviting someone to join a search group, is less about ego or building a network that can be leveraged later, but more about working together for a common cause. In other words, it is a bit more altruistic to invite someone to join a group, than to join your personal network.

So, I was hoping to see people start to blog about what search groups they've started and encourage people to join them. I figured people like John Battelle would push his "search search" group or Judith Meskill would mention the "social software" group. Neither of which has happened. So, I didn't expect this one to be the first one I'd find, but it is actually cooler that it is a non-techie search group. I won't be joining, but maybe you're interested. So, without further ado...Here's the blog invitation
to join the public SearchGroup for 17th, 18th and 19th Century UK Provincial token coinage collectors and enthusiasts. Yeah. That's a mouthful.

The Search Groups that I now belong to are:

Blogging for Business - Businesses that are using weblog tools for business purposes: to manage information and/or commun...
email marketing marketing products through permission based email. Email acquisition and email retention software...
EureksterBlog - For the fans of Eurekster. Everyone who thinks Eurekster is the best thing since sliced bread.
Event Promotion - anyone interested in spreading the word about (promoting) events. (eg nightlife, concerts, trade ...
Experiential Marketing - A focus on creating fresh connections between brands and consumers out in the world where things ...
Google - Topics covering anything related to Google. SEO, Adwords, Adsense, promotion, news, etc...
I love WhizSpark - Anyone who loves (or doesn't love) whizspark.com
Microsoft.NET - anyone who programs, has interest in, etc about Microsoft's .NET programming platform(ASP.NET, VB...
nightlife - anything to do with nightclubs, bars, music and having a good time at night.
PC Forum 2004 - Focus on events and people at PC Forum 2004
search search - searches by people who are into search
SEO - Search Engine Optimization
Skiing in North America - For those interested in skiing in North America
snowboarding - for snowboarders only
Soccer/ Futbol - The best sport in the world.
Social Software - Social software concerns itself with the augmentation of human social and / or collaborative abil...
SQL Server - Microsoft SQL Server (t-sql, stored procedures, database design, cursors, etc)
starting a business - websites, information and resources for anyone starting a business.
Technology Journalism - Technology Journalism
Web Design (General) - If you build web sites, want to build them, or are just interested in web design this is the grou...
Weblogging as a Business - For bloggers trying to generate income from their writing/weblogging.
WhizSpark Team - For The WhizSpark Employees and Priveleged Outsiders.

I've removed the names of the moderators, just because I thought it was the right thing to do. Log in to eurekster and you can see them.
The two most popular ones that I moderate are "social software" with 53 members and Blogging for Business with 20 members.
There isn't a whole lot of search activity in them, though, unfortunately.

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Paul Allen (the lesser) Asks Some Good Questions About Search Personalization

He quests:
The most significant Google news, however, is not the current design change. It is this quote in a Reuters press release:

"Today, Google takes the first step in providing personal search results based on users' preferences," Google co-founder and President Larry Page said in a statement.

This is a major shift in Google's public view on personalized search results and comes as a direct result of competitive threats from Yahoo and MSN, both of whom have expressed interest in personalizing search results. I'm sure Google will soon want to store our zipcodes for their local and news search (the way topix.net does already). I wonder how many other attributes they will want to keep on their users.

Will Google store our past queries or keep track of the sites we actually click through to? Will every Google searcher get different search results, and if so, how much will they differ? What impact will this have on the search engine optimization industry?

I think the search engine wars are just barely heating up. This is going to be fascinating to watch over the next couple of years.

This morning I discovered Eurekster.com (Alexa ranking about 13,085) which personalizes search results based on your social network. Pretty interesting combination. Perhaps Google will do the same thing with Orkyt.

Respond in his comments.
According to Reveries, Kevin Maney says Google Stinks

According to the article,Eric Schmidt is talking the personalization talk. Too bad Google Personalized isn't cutting that mustard. The piece by Tim Manners talks about Eurekster as an alternative to non-personalized services.

The piece also quote Eric Schmidt And Kevin Maney saying:

It's not that Google doesn't understand the problem. Kevin notes that Google ceo Eric Schmidt, speaking last week at a conference called PC Forum spoke of a product that would offer both unlimited access to every scrap of information anywhere, and know enough about the searcher to know exactly what to find. Says Mr. Schmidt: "Then, when I'm writing a paper, it would know what I'm writing about and say, 'Hey, you forgot this.'" Wouldn't that be something? It sure would, and as Kevin articulates it:" Eventually, search will be like a direct connection between your brain and all the world's information. It will grasp so much about you and your immediate circumstance that it will often know exactly what you need, perhaps before you do."

Search Engines have a long road to hoe before they reach that nirvana. It should be an interesting journey, though.

Hey Tim: Show me the Permalink. Its not easy to figure it out on your cool [news] site.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Marketing Wonk on Google Getting Personal
I happen to agree with their take on privacy and personalization:
But if everyone could get over this annoying privacy paranoia, it would be great to see how much better the results would with a long-term profile based not just on keywords searched, but also links clicked. Or, even better, what people clicked on... and then didn't hit the back button.

Wired article on the Search Frontier
Article on new search developments covers the usual, including Eurekster.
Eurekster vs Personalized Google

I've been checking out the personalized google and am a bit confused about it. It may be that I just need to get used to it, but I am initially unimpressed.

My first complaint is that there is no login associated with personalization. Therefore, I need to personalize every computer I work on.

Second, I have no idea how it works. Every personalized website in the past has asked me for information or observed my usage patterns and it has been very clear how it personalizes the experience. For instance, my yahoo asks me
to choose which content and where to place it. I can personalize my presentation of content and which content I want to see. Amazon uses my past behaviour and recommends new products. Not knowing how personalization works just seems like an oxymoron to me.

But thats what google does. They ask me for my interests (based on a selection of pre-defined categories) and then somehow mysteriously change the order of the normal result set for a given keyword. This approach seems pretty lame to me. If you are personalizing something for me, I want to know how its being done. Its like going to the pharmacy, telling them I enjoy racing cars and they recommend a certain type of aspirin. I ask why and they say, "Just trust us. If you don't like it, you can slide down to the next fulfillment booth, we'll both pretend this conversation never occurred, and we'll give you what we usually give everyone else. "

Next, the predefined category approach is weak. Why do I need to tell them what categories to refine my searches by? I run 100s of searches a day. It should be pretty obvious what I am interested in. And the categories themselves are limited. Do you really expect people to fit their interests into nicely defined categories? This is another example of how this service is oxymoronic: Search became popular because it was better than directories. Directories don't work because you can't fit webpages into nicely definied categories, unless there are as many categories as webpages. Don't you realize people's interests are just as difficult to categorize?

Since search personalization (atleast for consumer-facing engines) is brand new, I guess that I should be a bit more forgiving. And it is good to know that Google is working on some kind of personalization. However, I think eurekster has somethings that google should adopt. And to be fair, google has some strengths that eurekster doesn't have and may never be able to get, without being absorbed by one of the big players.

In bullet(ish) form, here are some suggestions:

- Usability: Instead of requiring me to choose categories, learn what I like from my past queries.
- Allow me to refine my search based on different categories every time. (eg. If i am searching for "red hat", let me choose to refine it by my "Linux" personalization category or my "fashion" category or my "JD Salinger" category.
- Transparency: I am not asking you to reveal your algorithm, but atleast tell me what the hell that slide is doing. Or tell me what keywords you used to refine my query. (If that is what you are doing.)
- Customization: Logins aren't inherently evil. You can implement one. Don't make me customize every computer or lose all my customization if I delete my cookies.
- Historical Search Activity. Learn from Eurekster::Learn from my past searches. Eurekster allows me to refine my searches based on my history within specific user created categories. For example, If I was interested in car racing, i could create a private 'car racing' group and it would automatically keep track of which results I found useful for a given query in the past. Remembering what I clicked onin order to refine my search results is a valid technique. Use it too. It is the middle of the road between a bookmark service and a search engine. Bridge the gap. Don't make me go to you for searches and to one of 15 other places for things I previously found interesting.
- Collaborative Searching. Create Search Groups. Eurekster is enabling groups to personalize search. So, we have the benefit of peers helping to sort out the best results for a given query based on search and visitation of the site. Not only are they viral, but 10 minds are better than one. There are 45 members on the social software search group I started on Eurekster. 45 minds are much better than one.

All that said, I think google's approach is interesting. Overall, a fusion of eurekster/personalized google would be a better service. Specifically, google's ability to refine search results without any prior search activity history (which eurekster requires) is key. They could improve it by improving the usability, transparency and customizability and by adding historical search activity memory and result refinement and collaborative searching.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Noam Choamsky

I know this has nothing to do with Eurekster or even search engines, but it is awesome. Noam Chomsky is blogging. I had the honor of shaking his hand last year. He is an amazing man. His blog is appropriately called Turning the Tide.
Eurekster Buzz

Its been awhile since I reported on the buzz around eurekster. It is definitely still growing. Overture keyword suggestion tool shows that 353 searches were performed on their network for the term, eurekster in the month of February.

The Waypath Buzz Meter:

Alexa Ranking

Alexa Ranking.

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