Relevance has always been the main goal of search for most of us searchers, although sometimes completeness can be even more important, e.g., when we want to determine relevance ourselves and volume is not an issue. Relevance is relative, and there is no way to write code that can anticipate relevance in a general way. (Of course quality is relative too!) Fortunately, search can be extremely useful even without the mind reading option – in fact, mind-reading wouldn’t be enough to anticipate relevance enough anyway.
Much of the discussion about search quality these days revolves around the front-end of relevance, i.e., determining, as much as possible, searchers’ intent. And we do have increasing amounts of information (such as surfing behavior) that allows us to make better guesses about intentions.
We can also make information richer so that search engines can make more accurate determinations about relevance. For example XML site maps provide context in the form of structural information; providing additional metadata to search engines provides even more context.
Despite the imprecise, and constantly changing meaning and use of language, we have been able to asymptotically improve our ability to determine both intent and relevance, and incrementally improve search quality.
I say “we”, but I am neither a developer nor an expert on search technology. We are fortunate to have someone who is arguably the most influential expert and developer today speaking about search quality in two weeks at our San Francisco conference. Udi Manber, VP Engineering, Search Quality, Google is going to open the conference with a presentation on Search Quality and Continuous Innovation. While Udi won’t be giving away any secrets, his presentation will provide valuable and fascinating insight into the way Google thinks about improving search quality. For a taste of Udi’s clear and straightforward style, and what he’ll be talking about read his recent blog post: Introduction to Google Search Quality
Swedish Polopoly and Spanish Protec, announced a technology agreement aimed at closely integrating the Polopoly Web Content Management technology with Protec’s editorial cross media platform. For Protec customers it will be easy to integrate the Milenium technology to Polopoly. Editors and journalists will be able to publish content in Milenium and from there distribute the same information through different digital channels. A journalist updating a text in Milenium will automatically have his or her text updated also in Polopoly and vice versa. Polopoly enables personalized services, such as local weather and search services, quick polls and user ratings of articles. Polopoly also offers an advanced community module, where user-generated content can be managed in co-ordination with other content. Polopoly’s features for Live Layout Management offers possibilities to create and edit web pages on the fly. Polopoly is entirely based on open standards to ensure platform independence and to simplify legacy systems integration. Protec offers with Milenium Cross Media an object oriented editorial production system built on media neutral software architecture and a multimedia CMS. Multiple use of content is enabled through connectivity features to centralized or within distributed newsroom configurations. Polopoly and Protec will be integrated using Polopoly’s integration framework. http://www.polopoly.com http://www.protecmedia.com
Mary Laplante will be moderating a webinar at noon eastern time today, Web Experience Management: Essentials for Engaging Customers and Winning Loyalty. The sponsor is Fatwire, and the speakers will be Yogesh Gupta, President and CEO of FatWire; Sovan Shatpathy, Manager of Web Infrastructure at Linksys; and Erik Kulvinskas, Web Coordinator for the Colorado Department of Transportation. We are seeing a lot of activity in Web Experience Management, and Mary offers the following definition:
Web experience management is a business practice that formalizes an organization’s approach to relating to its audiences through web-based channels. WEM is based on the premise that engagement that delivers high value to all participants does not happen by accident, but rather, by design. Only when experience is deliberately managed does it become repeatable, predictable, and capable of being improved and optimized. WEM, as a business practice, is enabled by a range of technologies, including web content management, personalization, dynamic content delivery, analytics and optimization, and emerging tools for social computing. As such, WEM calls for integrated marketing and IT processes.
Registration for the webinar is still open.