An opening panel at the jam-packed Search Engine Strategies Conference now going on in San Jose tackled the hot Social Search market.
Moderator Chris Sherman did not pull any punches. From the get go, the Executive Editor, Search Engine Watch, warned about massive “noise” emanating from the social search landscape.
Sherman first presented an “idealistic” definition of Social Search applications:
Internet way finding tools informed by social judgement.
Sherman immediately qualified such a social search formula, however, by signaling that “informed” judgments are hard to come by. Sherman said that many “uninformed” individuals are contributing to social search.
Additional barriers to “informed” social search results identified by Sherman:
Language ambiguity Non-standardized classifications
Given the difficulty in gathering consistent, “informed” contributions Sherman believes social search will be most effective in non-text applications, such as photo search or video search.
The Social Search panel included presentations by Yahoo Global Web Search, Microsoft Windows Live Search and a start-up, Eurekster.
The panelists, not surprisingly, focused on the “empowerment” enabled by social search applications.
YAHOO: Tim Mayer, Director Global Web Search
“Better search through people.”
“Find, use, share and expand all human knowledge.”
MICROSOFT: Nils Pohlmann, Manager, Windows Live Search
“Enabling a social network to refine or create additional search results.”
EUREKSTER: Grant Ryan, Co-Founder & Chief Scientist