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MSN To Use Your Files To Personalize Search?

Nick Wilson
Expert Author
Published: 2005-03-03

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WebProNews Editor's Note: Microsoft is kicking an idea around about developing a personalized search function on MSN Search using personal content stored on an individual's computers.

Really Personal Search
Microsoft Attempts To Make Search Truly Personal

Apparently, the idea revolves around using MSN Desktop Search to acquire said personal data. This would then be fed to MSN Search and personalized search based on the contents of your computer would be delivered.

What are your thoughts concerning MSN's approach to personalized search? It seems kind of "Orwellian" to me.

Discuss at WebProWorld.

Seattlepi reports on an MS research event that showcased a system to use your desktop files to personalize MSN Search rather than use a user submitted profile, cookies etc ...

Projects on display during a Microsoft Research event yesterday included a method for personalizing Web search results based on the contents of the files on an individual user's computer hard drive.

The project reflects a broader push in the industry to improve the relevance of Web search results by tailoring them to the person doing the searching. But other programs, including Google's personalized search engine, have approached the challenge by having users create profiles to define their preferences.

The prototype developed by the Microsoft researchers comes up with those personal preferences automatically by consulting the index generated by MSN Desktop Search, an existing tool for finding files on a hard drive.

Interesting stuff, bit creepy though eh?

Findory's Greg Linden said:

Building a profile implicitly is nice, but it's not clear to me that my desktop files are a good predictor for personalized web search. Are the files on your desktop correlated with what web search results you find most interesting? I'm not sure they are. A better predictor might be previous searches or the web pages you've viewed, not whatever data you have stored in Word and Excel files.

Though he did say it was a great idea, and it is a neat concept...

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About the Author:
Nick Wilson is the publisher and founder of Threadwatch.org.

Threadwatch is a group blog, or forum if you prefer, focusing on Marketing and Related Technologies - News and discussion for those that make their living on the WWW - Register here to participate.

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