Personalisation of search: take back control

Category: Others/ Misc

Presentation Description

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


Presentation Transcript

Personalisation of search: take back control Karen Blakeman, RBA Information Services 5th June 2012 Pre-conference workshop, 11th Southern African Online Information Meeting, Sandton Convention Centre:

Personalisation of search: take back control Karen Blakeman, RBA Information Services 5 th June 2012 Pre-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

General plan for the session:

General plan for the session Getting to know one another and feedback on search issues Slides are a basic framework for the session (download from now if you wish). I'll create an addendum of key, additional information after the session. Ask questions as we go along, or write on the notelets and we'll have Q&A slots throughout the session Summary of "stuff" we've learned and what to take back home and to work 05/06/2012 2

How it all started:

How it all started Before 1992 priced electronic databases indexed by humans. Many still exist for example LexisNexis, STN, Dialog 1992 – the Internet can be accessed by anyone but 2-3 years before significant information started appearing on the web Increase in amount of data and information led to the development of tools that indexed and searched the content of web pages Lycos, Excite, AltaVista, Hotbot 05/06/2012 3

How the web search tools worked (and still do in part):

How the web search tools worked (and still do 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 information 05/06/2012 4

Then along came.....:

Then along came..... 05/06/2012 5 11 November 1998 From the Internet Archive

How was Google different?:

How was Google different? 05/06/2012 6 Links (citations) a major part of sorting search results

Google 2011:

Google 2011 05/06/2012 7 Revenues $37,905 millions Net Income $9,737 millions 2011 – 96% of revenues are from advertising Google has a problem....

Google's problem "How People Spend Their Time Online – Stephen's Lighthouse" :

Google's problem "How People Spend Their Time Online – Stephen's Lighthouse" 05/06/2012 8

PowerPoint Presentation:

Search engines and social networks need to keep you on their "properties" – captive audience Always trying to deliver new services to stop you wandering off to other sites To keep you on-site need to deliver content as relevant as possible 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 elsewhere Personalise results 05/06/2012 9

PowerPoint Presentation:

The Filter Bubble: What The Internet Is Hiding From You Eli Pariser Publisher: Viking (23 Jun 2011) ISBN-10: 067092038X ISBN-13 : 978-0670920389 05/06/2012 10

Trends in search:

Trends in search No longer straightforward text searching of web pages and documents Localisation Personalisation Social Mobile 05/06/2012 11

How far does personalisation go?:

How far does personalisation go? Google can seriously damage your news Is Google really filtering my news? 05/06/2012 12

How far does personalisation go?:

How far does personalisation go? A n Awfully Big Blog Adventure: The answer to your question... depends on who you are (Anne Rooney) 05/06/2012 13 Borromeo vs Borromeo

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05/06/2012 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)

Google loses the plot? Search on goats :

Google loses the plot? Search on goats 05/06/2012 15

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Dear Google, stop messing with my search 05/06/2012 16

Google introduces the “soft AND”:

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 05/06/2012 17

Google :

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] 05/06/2012 18

Google's new Privacy Policy:

Google's new Privacy Policy 05/06/2012 19 " 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. " Toward a simpler, more beautiful Google "we're more excited than ever to build a seamless social experience, all across Google"

What does Google know about you?:

What does Google know about you? 05/06/2012 20 Look in your Google account dashboard How Google is targeting your ads

Impact of Google's policy and personal information management changes on YouTube:

Impact of Google's policy and personal information management changes on YouTube 05/06/2012 21 Gives me videos based on my web search history, linked to my location (Reading) plus a long list of videos mentioned by people in my Google+ circles. Targeted advertising?! I wonder how Google will customise my web search based on my YouTube viewing?

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Google Enables Cross-Platform Local Search (As Carrot To Relinquish Your Privacy) Introducing a new local search experience across your devices - Inside Search 05/06/2012 22

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05/06/2012 23

PowerPoint Presentation:

Google's new( ish ) social network Google Plus (Google+) Google Now Forcing All New Users To Create Google+ Enabled Accounts Search Plus Your World (SPYW) referred to as Search+ now available in and is the default. Gives priority to content from people in your Google+ network if you are signed in to your account. (And the next Google killer is….Google! ) 05/06/2012 24

PowerPoint Presentation:

05/06/2012 25 SPYW currently being tested on Top results (blacked out for privacy reasons) were from one of my Google+ circles and from people who restricted access to the postings. Take care when providing information to users or incorporating data as part of a report

Google Knowledge Graph:

Google Knowledge Graph Introducing the Knowledge Graph It isn't a graph! At present only on Only shows if you are logged in to a Google+ enabled account 05/06/2012 26

Google Knowledge Graph:

Google Knowledge Graph 05/06/2012 27

Google Knowledge Graph:

Google Knowledge Graph 05/06/2012 28 No Knowledge Graph

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05/06/2012 29 Bing - Adapting Search to You Bing to use Facebook, Twitter more in fight against Google | ZDNet : Bing 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"

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05/06/2012 30 Bing Relaunches, Features New Social Sidebar :

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05/06/2012 31

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05/06/2012 32 No social side bar for me (not in the US) but social network 'stuff' appears in main results : : 05/06/2012 33 Microsoft Launches Socl Social Network: A Look Inside

What I see on my screen is not what you'll see on yours!:

What I see on my screen is not what you'll see on yours! 05/06/2012 34

How do search engines personalise results?:

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 networks 05/06/2012 35

To allow personalisation or not?:

To allow personalisation or not? Not necessarily a bad thing Use a second browser with search history enabled and logged in to accounts for a different point of view It does bias results What I see on my screen is not what you'll see on yours Be aware of potential privacy issues regarding friends and contacts in social networks when providing results to your users 05/06/2012 36

Want to switch it off?:

Want to switch it off? Disable and remove web/search history - but in Google, no option to erase 'signed out' histories Actively manage search cookies, automatically delete cookies after computer log out or switch off - How to delete cookies - Log out of all search engine and social media accounts when searching Use Chrome Incognito (Chrome owned by Google!) In Google use Verbatim in the left hand menu on results page Use advanced search commands if relevant Use a search engine that doesn't track or personalise 05/06/2012 37

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05/06/2012 38

Google search settings:

Google search settings 05/06/2012 39

Google web history:

Google web history 05/06/2012 40


Verbatim Forces Google to run an exact match search. Run your search first and then select Verbatim from the left hand menu on your results page Cannot be combined with time options in the side bar Google: Verbatim for exact match search 05/06/2012 41

PowerPoint Presentation:

05/06/2012 42 Signed out Verbatim Chrome incognito

Try a search tool with less or no personalisation:

Try a search tool with less or no personalisation DuckDuckGo – does not track, does not personalise – International version of the Russian search engine Blekko Million Short – omits the top million most "popular" sites from results 05/06/2012 43

Use more than Google anyway:

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.” 05/06/2012 44


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 Google 05/06/2012 45


Bing Link to minimalist advanced search options now vanished Advanced Search Operators Main ones site: filetype: intitle: 05/06/2012 46


DuckDuckGo DuckDuckGo – silly name but a neat little search tool : No 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 country Syntax and keyboard shortcuts at 05/06/2012 47


Yandex 05/06/2012 48

Yandex – advanced search:

Yandex – advanced search 05/06/2012 49 OR Search operators


Blekko slashtags for sorting by date (/date), searching for images (/images) and videos (/videos) Use public slashtags to search a group of web sites covering a particular topic or type of site e.g. /library or create your own to search your specified list of sites (similar to Google Custom Search Engines) wind turbine electricity generation /karenblakeman/renewable “Musings about librarianship: Using Blekko to search across thousands of library sites” 05/06/2012 50


Blekko Cannot do filetype, inurl, intitle searches Drop 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) 05/06/2012 51

Million Short:

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 in 05/06/2012 52

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05/06/2012 53

Using Google features to best advantage:

Using Google features to best advantage 05/06/2012 54


Location Country versions of Google to prioritise local content for example,, usually two letter ISO code for the country Change location in left hand menu on results page 05/06/2012 55 and SPYW: and SPYW 05/06/2012 56

SPYW – hide personal results :

SPYW – hide personal results 05/06/2012 57

Personal results only:

Personal results only 05/06/2012 58


Verbatim 05/06/2012 59

Google results page side bar:

Google results page side bar 05/06/2012 60 'Everything' does not search everything Videos is not YouTube Not clear how discussions are identified 'Social' is not just Google+. Look in your dashboard to see who Google has decided to include. No Twitter option anymore and Twitter coverage is sporadic.

Google side bars:

Google side bars 05/06/2012 61 Images Videos News Books Blogs

PowerPoint Presentation:

Start using advanced search commands and Google gives up on personalisation although you may have to use Verbatim 05/06/2012 62

PowerPoint Presentation:

Looking for a particular type of information for example statistics, research report, expert presentation? Use the filetype : command For statistics world oil consumption filetype:xls world oil consumption filetype:xlsx world oil consumption filetype:xlsx OR filetype:xls For government, research, industry reports oil consumption forecasts filetype:pdf For conference presentations or trying to locate an expert renewable energy UK filetype:ppt renewable energy UK filetype:pptx renewable energy UK filetype:ppt 05/06/2012 63

Numerical range search:

Numerical range search Anything to do with numbers Use advanced search screen or 1 st number followed by two full stops followed by 2 nd number followed by unit of measurement (if applicable) Norway oil production forecasts 2012..2020 Norway oil production forecasts 2012..2020 filetype:xls OR filetype:xlsx 05/06/2012 64

Advanced commands continued :

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 panels 05/06/2012 65


Synonyms Google often looks for variations of your terms but you cannot rely on it always happening Use the tilde ~ before a term to look for what Google considers are synonyms ~energy will pick up oil, fuel, gas, electricity No information/documentation on how synonyms are created Very general, consumer oriented rather than scientific Can be used with Verbatim 05/06/2012 66

PowerPoint Presentation:

When you really DO want to search social media the main search engines don't make it easy! Social media is an essential part of many types of research. Search within the network itself – means you must have an account Use 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 Bradley's presentations 05/06/2012 67 05 June 2012 Karen Blakeman 68 05/06/2012 69

More on searching LinkedIn:

More on searching LinkedIn Boolean Black Belt-Sourcing/Recruiting Mary Ellen Bates Ten Top Tips for Searching LinkedIn PDF 05/06/2012 70

Bing social :

Bing social 05/06/2012 71 : 05/06/2012 72 : 05/06/2012 73 05/06/2012 74 05/06/2012 75 05/06/2012 76 05/06/2012 77

Keeping up to date:

Keeping up to date Inside Search Official Google Blog Google Scholar Blog Search Engine Land Search Engine Watch Boolean Black Belt-Sourcing/Recruiting Karen Blakeman’s Blog Phil Bradley's weblog 05/06/2012 78

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