After Hours

Google and the quest for personalization


It's a question that's as old as Computer Science itself. Can we construct the perfect intelligent machine? While the perfect intelligent machine should more than just ace the Turing Test, this article at Technology Review on a Q/A session with Peter Norvig, Google's Director of Research, seems to suggest that our online search companion involves lot more Artificial Intelligence (AI) than meets the eye. Also, a pending patent suggests that Google may be targeting the TV audience very fiercely in the future.

The conclusion cannot be too far-fetched. Google has been investing resources heavily into Machine learning, natural language processing, and pattern recognition. Combine all this with the largest database of content and the result is monumental. In fact, Google's CEO, Eric Schmidt, has opined that the search gaint aims to target users so accurately that one day it may even suggest to you what job to take up (Financial Times).

Talking about targeting users, Ars Technica reports that a pending Google patent may take targeted advertising over TV to another dimension. Basically, the system will respond to users viewing pattern (by recording the sound emanating from the television) to pull up related Web pages on the fly. For example, you could be watching an episode of "Friends," and the system could push through pages referring to the outlets that sell the clothes worn by the cast or communities that discuss the characters.

More than personalization is the risk to user privacy. But provided that the increased personalized experience has its inherent insecurities, what is your take on this? Here's the poll:

3 comments
techshrek
techshrek

You should take a look at www.linguisticagents.com. It?s a start-up company that has developed a natural language understanding technology that will be used in many applications in addition to search.

alex
alex

Privacy concerns are becoming a major social and legal issue these days and search engines play an important role in the whole equation. Meta-search engine Ixquick.com's simple solution: "If the data is not stored, users privacy can't be breached?. We are the first search engine to stop recording any privacy details of our users. Some background information: -Ixquick is a meta search engine, developed in 1998 in NY. -It offers a simultaneous search in up to 12 of the best search engines. -Ixquick will not share IP addresses with these individual search engines while searching. -Ixquick will delete the IP addresses of the users within 48 hrs. Read more on how Ixquick protects Privacy on: http://ixquick.com/eng/protect_privacy.html Conclusion: www.ixquick.com offers its users a high quality web search without storing any privacy data... Alex van Eesteren www.ixquick.com

pr.arun
pr.arun

Alex, its great that ixquick does not save cookies. However, Hakia, and many more semantics based engines already rely on linguistic models alone to determine relevancy. In fact their search models are opposed to tracking user behaviour for relevancy and don't save any cookies without the explicit permission of the User. ixquick's modus operandi is very interesting though.

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