Personalisation of search: take back control


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Pre-conference workshop given at 11th Southern African Online Information Meeting, Sandton Convention Centre, 5th June 2012. Presented by Karen Blakeman

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  • 11/06/12 (c) Karen Blakeman 2012
  • Advanced Internet Search Strategies 11 June 2012 (c) Karen Blakeman 2010
  • 11/06/12 (c) Karen Blakeman 2012
  • Personalisation of search: take back control

    1. 1. Personalisation of search: take back control Karen Blakeman, RBA Information Services 5th June 2012Pre-conference workshop, 11th Southern African Online Information Meeting, Sandton Convention Centre Slides are available at Twitter: @karenblakeman This presentation is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
    2. 2. General plan for the sessionGetting to know one another and feedback on search issuesSlides are a basic framework for the session (download from now if you wish). Ill create anaddendum of key, additional information after the session.Ask questions as we go along, or write on the notelets and wellhave Q&A slots throughout the sessionSummary of "stuff" weve learned and what to take back homeand to work11/06/12 2
    3. 3. How it all startedBefore 1992 priced electronic databases indexed by humans.Many still exist for example LexisNexis, STN, Dialog1992 – the Internet can be accessed by anyone but 2-3 yearsbefore significant information started appearing on the webIncrease in amount of data and information led to thedevelopment of tools that indexed and searched the content ofweb pagesLycos, Excite, AltaVista, Hotbot11/06/12 3
    4. 4. How the web search tools worked (and stilldo in part) "Crawl" the internet looking for new and updated pages by following links Copies of pages and documents added to a database that is publicly searchable Results sorted according to: – how often the words you looked for appear in the page – where they appear (words in the title and first few sentences given higher ranking) – and other criteria not disclosed by the search engines They do not cover: – password protected sites – databases or sites where you have to fill in a form to find the information11/06/12 4
    5. 5. Then along came..... 11 November 1998 From the Internet Archive www.archive.org11/06/12 5
    6. 6. How was Google different? Links (citations) a major part of sorting search results 6
    7. 7. Google 2011 Revenues $37,905 millions Net Income $9,737 millions 2011 – 96% of revenues are from advertising Google has a problem.... 11/06/12 7
    8. 8. Googles problem "How People Spend Their Time Online – Stephens Lighthouse" 8
    9. 9. Search engines and social networks need to keep you on their"properties" – captive audienceAlways trying to deliver new services to stop you wandering offto other sitesTo keep you on-site need to deliver content as relevant aspossible to YOU – need to know more about you – need to know what sort of information you are interested in – need you signed in to your account – need to know who your contacts are on-site and elsewhere – need to know about your activity elsewherePersonalise results11/06/12 9
    10. 10. The Filter Bubble: What The Internet Is Hiding From You Eli Pariser Publisher: Viking (23 Jun 2011) ISBN-10: 067092038X ISBN-13: 978-067092038911/06/12 10
    11. 11. Trends in searchNo longer straightforward text searching of web pages anddocuments Localisation Personalisation Social Mobile11/06/12 11
    12. 12. How far does personalisation go? Google can seriously damage your news Is Google really filtering my news? 12
    13. 13. How far does personalisation go?An Awfully Big Blog Adventure: The answer to your question...depends on who you are (Anne Rooney) Borromeo vs Borromeo11/06/12 13
    14. 14. Word cloud of top 20 results for a Google search on Prague (web history and social networks switched off, cookies cleared) Word cloud of top 20 results for a Google search on Prague (signed in to Google+ account, social networks and web history enabled)11/06/12 14
    15. 15. Google loses the plot? Search on goats11/06/12 15
    16. 16. Dear Google, stop messing with my search 16
    17. 17. Google introduces the “soft AND” “When you do a multi-term query on Google (even with quoted terms), the algorithm sometimes backs-off from hard ANDing all of the terms’s clear that people will often write long queries (with anywhere from 5 to 10 terms) for which there are no results. Google will then selectively remove the terms that are the lowest frequency to give you some results (rather than none)....Soft AND is a way to reduce the overall frustration and give the searcher something to examine (and with luck, a chance to reformulate their query).” Dan Russell 17
    18. 18. Google No more + to force an exact match No more automatic ANDing of your terms No more highlighting your search terms in its cached copy of a page No more clearing search history unless you are logged in to a Google account [alternatively delete all search cookies from your browser]11/06/12 18
    19. 19. Googles new Privacy Policy "Our new Privacy Policy makes clear that, if you’re signed in, we may combine information you’ve provided from one service with information from other services. In short, we’ll treat you as a single user across all our products, which will mean a simpler, more intuitive Google experience." "were more excited than ever to build a seamless social experience, all across Google" Toward a simpler, more beautiful Google 19
    20. 20. What does Google know about you?Look in your Google account dashboard Google is targeting your ads 20
    21. 21. Impact of Googles policy and personalinformation management changes on YouTube Targeted advertising?! I wonder how Google will customise my web search based on my YouTube viewing? Gives me videos based on my web search history, linked to my location (Reading) plus a long list of videos mentioned by people in my11/06/12 Google+ circles. 21
    22. 22. Google Enables Cross- Platform Local Search (As Carrot To Relinquish Your Privacy) Introducing a new local search experience across your devices - Inside Search 22
    23. 23. 11/06/12 23
    24. 24. Googles new(ish) social network Google Plus (Google+) Now Forcing All New Users To Create Google+ EnabledAccounts Plus Your World (SPYW) referred to as Search+ now availablein and is the default. Gives priority to content from peoplein your Google+ network if you are signed in to your account.(And the next Google killer is….Google! )11/06/12 24
    25. 25. SPYW currently being tested on Google.comTop results (blacked out for privacyreasons) were from one of my Google+circles and from people who restrictedaccess to the postings.Take care when providing information tousers or incorporating data as part of areport 11/06/12 25
    26. 26. Google Knowledge Graph Introducing the Knowledge Graph It isnt a graph! At present only on Only shows if you are logged in to a Google+ enabled account11/06/12 26
    27. 27. Google Knowledge Graph11/06/12 27
    28. 28. Google Knowledge Graph No Knowledge Graph11/06/12 28
    29. 29. Bing - Adapting Search to You to use Facebook, Twitter more in fight against Google | ZDNet : Relaunches, Features New Social Sidebar "It’s not just Facebook and Twitter that get to play in the social sidebar, however. Social suggestions might also come from LinkedIn, Quora, Foursquare, Blogger and - wait for it - Google Plus"11/06/12 29
    30. 30. Bing Relaunches, Features New Social Sidebar : 30
    31. 31. 11/06/12 31
    32. 32. No social side bar for me (not in the US) but social network stuffappears in main results 11/06/12 32
    33. 33. : Microsoft Launches Socl Social Network: A Look Inside 33
    34. 34. What I see on my screen is not what youll see on yours!11/06/12 34
    35. 35. How do search engines personalise results? Depends on: – your location – past searches – which sites you have looked at in the past – your +1s – your likes – your shares – sites blocked by you (Google) – which social networks you are signed in to – who is in your social networks11/06/12 35
    36. 36. To allow personalisation or not?Not necessarily a bad thingUse a second browser with search history enabled and logged into accounts for a different point of viewIt does bias resultsWhat I see on my screen is not what youll see on yoursBe aware of potential privacy issues regarding friends andcontacts in social networks when providing results to your users11/06/12 36
    37. 37. Want to switch it off?Disable and remove web/search history - but in Google, no option to erase signed out historiesActively manage search cookies, automatically delete cookies aftercomputer log out or switch off - How to delete cookies - out of all search engine and social media accounts whensearchingUse Chrome Incognito (Chrome owned by Google!)In Google use Verbatim in the left hand menu on results pageUse advanced search commands if relevantUse a search engine that doesnt track or personalise11/06/12 37
    38. 38. 11/06/12 38
    39. 39. Google search settings11/06/12 39
    40. 40. Google web history11/06/12 40
    41. 41. VerbatimForces Google to run an exactmatch search. Run your search firstand then select Verbatim from theleft hand menu on your results pageCannot be combined with timeoptions in the side barGoogle: Verbatim for exact matchsearch 11/06/12 41
    42. 42. Signed out Chrome incognito Verbatim 11/06/12 42
    43. 43. Try a search tool with less or no personalisationDuckDuckGo – does not track, does not personalise – International version of the Russian search engine Short – omits the top million most "popular" sites from results 43
    44. 44. Use more than Google anyway The Disruptive Searcher (Sanity checking Google ) “if I hadn’t searched across more than Google for data on a small, new company that I was asked to research recently, I would have missed out on some very significant information that Google just wasn’t showing me.”11/06/12 44
    45. 45. Bing Does personalise search and include social network content in results Most of the interesting developments and features are only available in the US version Results tend to be more consumer/retail focused unless using advanced search features Coverage not identical to Google’s - sometimes yields important unique content, especially in research and business Sometimes more up to date than Google11/06/12 45
    46. 46. Bing Link to minimalist advanced search options now vanished Advanced Search Operators Main ones – site: – filetype: – intitle:11/06/12 46
    47. 47. DuckDuckGo – silly name but a neat little search tool : tracking, no “filter bubble”Commands site: inbody: intitle: filetype: sort:date to sort by date (uses results from Blekko) region:cc (e.g. za) to boost a countrySyntax and keyboard shortcuts at 47
    48. 48. Yandex• 48
    49. 49. Yandex – advanced search OR Search operators 49
    50. 50. Blekko for sorting by date (/date), searching for images (/images)and videos (/videos)Use public slashtags to search a group of web sites covering aparticular topic or type of site e.g. /library or create your own tosearch your specified list of sites (similar to Google Custom SearchEngines) wind turbine electricity generation /karenblakeman/renewable“Musings about librarianship: Using Blekko to search acrossthousands of library sites” 50
    51. 51. BlekkoCannot do filetype, inurl, intitle searchesDrop down menu next to page in results list for – site search (or use /site) – similar pages (or use /similar) – inbound links to the page (or use /links)11/06/12 51
    52. 52. Million Short "Imagine a search engine that simply removed the top 1 million most popular web sites from its index. What would you discover?" Can use filetype: site: intitle "..." Can add individual sites back in11/06/12 52
    53. 53. 11/06/12 53
    54. 54. Using Google features to best advantage11/06/12 54
    55. 55. LocationCountry versions of Google to prioritise local content – for example,, – usually two letter ISO code for the countryChange location in left hand menu on results page11/06/12 55
    56. 56. and SPYW11/06/12 56
    57. 57. SPYW – hide personal results11/06/12 57
    58. 58. Personal results only11/06/12 58
    59. 59. Verbatim11/06/12 59
    60. 60. Google results page side bar Everything does not search everything Videos is not YouTube Social is not just Google+. Look in your dashboard to see who Google has decided to include. Not clear how discussions are identified No Twitter option anymore and Twitter coverage is sporadic.11/06/12 60
    61. 61. Google side barsImages Videos News Books Blogs 11/06/12 61
    62. 62. Start using advanced search commands and Google gives up on personalisation although you may have to use Verbatim11/06/12 62
    63. 63. Looking for a particular type of information for example statistics, researchreport, expert presentation?Use the filetype: commandFor statistics world oil consumption filetype:xls world oil consumption filetype:xlsx world oil consumption filetype:xlsx OR filetype:xlsFor government, research, industry reports oil consumption forecasts filetype:pdfFor conference presentations or trying to locate an expert renewable energy UK filetype:ppt renewable energy UK filetype:pptx renewable energy UK filetype:ppt site:ac.uk11/06/12 63
    64. 64. Numerical range searchAnything to do with numbersUse advanced search screen or1st number followed by two full stops followed by 2nd number followed by unit of measurement (if applicable) – Norway oil production forecasts 2012..2020 – Norway oil production forecasts 2012..2020 filetype:xls OR filetype:xlsx11/06/12 64
    65. 65. Advanced commands continued inurl: for example inurl:"carbon capture" targets intitle: for example intitle:"carbon capture" targets asterisk (*) to search for terms separated by 1-5 words (may have to use quotation marks) solar * panels "solar * panels" Picks up solar PV panels, solar photovoltaic panels, solar water heating panels11/06/12 65
    66. 66. SynonymsGoogle often looks for variations of your terms but you cannotrely on it always happeningUse the tilde ~ before a term to look for what Google considersare synonyms – ~energy will pick up oil, fuel, gas, electricityNo information/documentation on how synonyms are createdVery general, consumer oriented rather than scientificCan be used with Verbatim11/06/12 66
    67. 67. When you really DO want to search social media the mainsearch engines dont make it easy! Social media is an essentialpart of many types of research.Search within the network itself – means you must have anaccountUse specialist search tools – come and go – not comprehensive – need to use more than one – a few examples are shown in the following slides. For more information on social media search tools see Phil Bradleys presentations 67
    68. 68. LinkedIn.com11 June 2012 Karen Blakeman 68
    69. 69. LinkedIn.com11/06/12 69
    70. 70. More on searching LinkedInBoolean Black Belt-Sourcing/Recruiting Ellen Bates Ten Top Tips for Searching LinkedIn PDF 70
    71. 71. Bing social 71
    72. 72. 72
    73. 73. 73
    74. 74. Topsy.com11/06/12 74
    75. 75. Topsy.com11/06/12 75
    76. 76. Icerocket.com11/06/12 76
    77. 77. Socialmention.com11/06/12 77
    78. 78. Keeping up to dateInside Search Google Blog Scholar Blog Engine Land Engine Watch Black Belt-Sourcing/Recruiting Blakeman’s Blog Bradleys weblog 78