long way round

Is Social Search The Future?

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Aardvark, the social search engine, recently published a paper titled "Anatomy of a Large Scale Social Search Engine." The title is an ode to Sergey Brin and Larry Page's paper explaining how Google search works, which was aptly called "Anatomy of a Large Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine." And similar to the Google paper, which was published back in 1998, Aardvark submitted the paper to the same WWW conference and was accepted. 

Some of the paper's outlines are showcased in Aardvark's blog, which highlights the difference between the "library" paradigm to search, which is Google searching through already generated webpages, and the "village" paradigm to search, which relies on answers generated at the moment of query. The "village" paradigm, as employed by Aardvark and according to its paper, allows users to use natural language instead of keywords, content is generated on-demand, and the system is fueled by the goodwill of the users (the most social aspect of it all in my opinion).

Further, the success of Aardvark largely relies on the users that actually deliver the answers to queries and thereby provide content. For Google, the point is to have excellent search capabilities through indexing and crawling the web, but for Aardvark, it relies on its network of users and their knowledge, as well as their "enthusiasm" to share their knowledge when someone else is requesting it. In short, it heavily relies upon social relationships for data. It is a human search engine.

My main point of this writing is to say that social search seems to be where the future is headed. Now more than ever, people rely on Facebook (what do my friends think about the movie Avatar?), Twitter (what is going on in Haiti?), and Yelp (is French Laundry that good?) to get their information. If I want to know whether Shanghai Dumpling King is indeed a restaurant worth going to, I'll Yelp it rather than Google it. If I want to see if other Bay Area residents are riding Fixed Gear bikes, I'll use Aardvark rather than a traditional search engine. There's many more illustrations of a move towards social search beyond the few I've mentioned here.

So is social search the future? it seems more likely every day. 

Posted via email from long way round.

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Written by shindz

February 4, 2010 at 7:31 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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