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Discussion with Dr. Prabhakar Raghavan

The Hindu Business Line has posted an discussion on search, user intent, micro-economics of search and user generated meta data with Dr. Prabhakar Raghavan, Head of Research at Yahoo.

On Searcher Intent: At Yahoo! type ‘Papa John’s’. It’s a pizza chain in the US. It’s also a publicly traded company. The top result is the home page of the company. That is to be expected. Along with this, I give two more links. I see that it could be an investor interested in the stock. So I give a link to Yahoo! Financials for related information about the company. On the other hand, you could be hungry. So, I give you phone numbers and addresses of outlets nearest your home. I am now trying to resolve possible goals.

So, we sequence your query, divine your intent and get you there as quickly as possible. It serves you and hence us well. So you think we are prescient and you come back again and again.

On Google vs. Yahoo: Google talks about universal search. Microsoft and we are thinking about it. We do not want to give users 10 matching documents but actually craft an experience that fulfils a need.

Airports have three-letter codes. For example, MAA stands for Chennai while SFO stands for San Francisco. If you type these two along with a date, Google gives you matching documents that could be nonsense. At the top, it also fills out a travel form with these two cities with a couple of dates with links to Expedia and the like. Anyone typing that in is almost certain to buy air tickets. So, why not give it to them, instead of some documents?

Full Article

Search, Internet Search, Web Search, Search Engine, SEO, Meta data, Dr. Prabhakar Raghavan, Yahoo, Interview

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