Monday, January 28, 2008

Searching Between the Lines

So despite pretending to be busy, I still seem to have time to reflect on life, love, work, and all the rest. I guess a part of me is always going to be stuck in my own head doing that...

So today I finally got Semantic Search. Not that I didn't understand its usefulness before, but today I actually had a value add experience on Amazon (technically their behavioral search, but they use behaviors to build a semantic model). Went looking for a particular soundtrack and sure enough I found an even better CD by the same artists thanks to some serious product synergy between the usual amazon store and it's music store. Sure I could have dug around eventually, and I did afterwards, but the first recommendation was precisely what I wanted.

Maybe music and movies are a particular easy thing to model, but so far search has only been textual extraction and some clever natural language tricks. Maybe I'm just a dreamer who one day hopes to live the sci-fi dream of just talking to a computer to extract information. However, given the nature of a lot of web innovation, it would appear that it will be more like "Computer, find me an entertaining YouTube video." (Absolutely awesome iPhone/party application no?)

Meta search may have been a joke in the past, but the fact is niche search (if it ever gets to he level of music taste matching) is going to flourish with semantic web stuff and nobody likes having to check more than the One search engine (antiphrasis?) for their information. Suddenly we're back to NLP, only this time not about information retrieval, but disambiguation and query classification.

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