Friday, 5 December 2008

Search Result Layouts

With the release of Yahoo's search monkey, and Google's Search Wiki, its been pretty exciting to see big companies (beyond who set off with some novel aspects like adding a thumbnail per result) experimenting heavily with their layouts. I didn't even notice for ages something different that Live Search does - if a Wikipedia entry is a result, then it puts the whole first paragraph of the entry as the text snippit, regardless of how long it is (it seems). This appears to have occured because the first paragraph of a Wikipedia entry is perhaps the best overview of that topic you're gonna get. This is contrary to the policy, promoted academically by White et al in SIGIR02, that putting the sentences that includes your keywords in the result is currently the best policy.

Search Monkey is interesting, too, because it allows you, as a user, to control how your web search results come up. If you want a special view of imdb results, or wikipedia results, you just include the available extra template. It will be interesting to see if representations stablise any time soon to produce a new standard after the now familiar: name, snippit, link combo.

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