Part II – I Seek You, and your meta-data, too…
The story until now:
Part I was a quick review into understanding Traditional Search Engines and their methods and relating them to human conversation – since the Web 2.0 is all about ‘conversations in the marketplace’. On to the second part.- - - - - -
What does making sense out of data mean?
In Search Engine terms, it would refer to contextualizing the huge chunk of uncontextual data that is the World Wide Web into information and eventually knowledge. To me, as a human, it simply means tagging certain keywords to any given chunk of data (e.g. a lecture, a passage, a book, a chapter, a conversation) in order to be able to recall it at any time – especially, when one of these keywords is mentioned.
For instance, the conversation in the previous post was about a traveller, (an out-of-towner) looking for directions to a tobbacconist. As I keep reminding myself, Web 2.0 is not a product, it is a process. The process has a lot of conversational threads that keep getting picked and dropped as newer and more interesting threads or new participants appear in their place.
So what would a contemporary Search engine have to consider in Web 2.0?
‘Weight’ing for Information.
From being a static display of items-for-sale behind elegant window panes, the Internet slowly transformed into a bazaar of sorts, with hawkers all around the place plying their wares. The markets grew to accomodate the new and the old. With the advent of Web 2.0, contextualization of information became the norm and not an option.
It all began with a nifty bookmarking site called del.icio.us that allowed you to access your favorite sites across the web. Technorati extended the concept to Blogs and induced bloggers to ‘tag’ their posts with their choice of keywords/tags.
With the Web evolving like a democracy, the obvious question of authority in the Web-democracy arose. Which voice among the loud babble was to be trusted? As the web evolved, so did the concept of it’s franchise. Only, in this virtual reality, links were deemed votes and tags were your campaign ads. Let’s take a quick look at the foru weights that influence your vote.
Tags – Powerful Keywords
Each tag is a keyword that associates a particular context, a topic, with a given chunk of data.
Time – The ‘other’ Long Tail
All topics & data have a peak presence time. The freshness of a particular keyword is of prime importance in its influence.
Consider this simple example: When Iraq was attacked, almost all of the Search Engines across the world were buzzing with Search queries consisting of corresponding keywords, viz., “Iraq” “attack”. The “hotness” of the Search cooled down as the days progressed, as the world got other topics to discuss about.
Trust & Authority
Even in flat hierarchies like the Internet there are obvious postitions of Trust and Authority. People who blog well, and blog often gain a large following, and effectively, the crucial element of Trust.
A news on a Microsoft blog would obviously be rated higher in all terms than a news quoting a “trusted Source at Microsoft”. The only exceptions to this rule are:
- The news is a really good bit of juicy gossip – like a rant or a ‘leaked’ secret
- The blogger has high levels of Trust & Authority
There’s a common thread that binds all of these.. Do you see it yet?
(To be concluded)
I profusely apologise for disappearing from the Blogging scene, all of a sudden. I was forced into a short hiatus by unforeseen circumstances. We updated our website platform to a new version, recently. although the beta is pretty stable, we are still working on a better UI. As a result, I had to spend some sleepless nights and a few Blog-less weeks. ;)
Once again, my sincere apologies for the same…
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