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

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Presentation on theme: "Personalisation of search: take back control Karen Blakeman, RBA Information Services 5 th June 2012 Pre-conference workshop, 11th Southern African Online."— Presentation transcript:

1 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 This presentation is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 LicenseCreative Commons Attribution 3.0 License

2 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 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk2

3 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 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk3

4 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 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk4

5 Then along came /10/2014www.rba.co.uk5 11 November 1998 From the Internet Archive

6 How was Google different? 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk6 Links (citations) a major part of sorting search results arn-seo/collateral- damage.php

7 Google /10/2014www.rba.co.uk7 Revenues $37,905 millions Net Income $9,737 millions ncial/tables.html 2011 – 96% of revenues are from advertising Google has a problem....

8 Google's problem "How People Spend Their Time Online – Stephen's Lighthouse" spend-their-time-online/ spend-their-time-online/ 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk8

9 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 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk9

10 The Filter Bubble: What The Internet Is Hiding From You Eli Pariser Publisher: Viking (23 Jun 2011) ISBN-10: X ISBN-13: /10/2014www.rba.co.uk10

11 Trends in search No longer straightforward text searching of web pages and documents Localisation Personalisation Social Mobile 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk11

12 How far does personalisation go? Google can seriously damage your news damage-your-news/ damage-your-news/ Is Google really filtering my news? google-really-filtering-my-news.html google-really-filtering-my-news.html 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk12

13 How far does personalisation go? A n Awfully Big Blog Adventure: The answer to your question... depends on who you are (Anne Rooney) question-depends-on-who.html question-depends-on-who.html 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk13 Borromeo vs Borromeo

14 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk14 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)

15 Google loses the plot? Search on goats 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk15

16 Dear Google, stop messing with my search stop-messing-with-my-search/ stop-messing-with-my-search/ 22/10/

17 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 together it’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 messing-with-my-search/#comments 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk17

18 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] 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk18

19 Google's new Privacy Policy 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk19 "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 google.html google.html "we're more excited than ever to build a seamless social experience, all across Google"

20 What does Google know about you? 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk20 Look in your Google account dashboard How Google is targeting your ads

21 Impact of Google's policy and personal information management changes on YouTube 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk21 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?

22 Google Enables Cross-Platform Local Search (As Carrot To Relinquish Your Privacy) ogle-enables-cross-platform- local-search-as-carrot-for-web- history ogle-enables-cross-platform- local-search-as-carrot-for-web- history Introducing a new local search experience across your devices - Inside Search uk/2012/03/introducing-new- local-search-experience.html uk/2012/03/introducing-new- local-search-experience.html 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk22

23 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk23

24 Google's new(ish) social network Google Plus (Google+) Google Now Forcing All New Users To Create Google+ Enabled Accounts google-enabled-accounts-3912 Search Plus Your World (SPYW) referred to as Search+ now available in Google.com 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! is-google/ ) is-google/ 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk24

25 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk25 SPYW currently being tested on Google.com 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

26 Google Knowledge Graph Introducing the Knowledge Graph ge.html It isn't a graph! At present only on Google.com Only shows if you are logged in to a Google+ enabled account 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk26

27 Google Knowledge Graph 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk27

28 Google Knowledge Graph 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk28 No Knowledge Graph

29 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk29 Bing - Adapting Search to You /09/14/adapting-search-to-you.aspx /09/14/adapting-search-to-you.aspx Bing to use Facebook, Twitter more in fight against Google | ZDNet : more-in-fight-against-google/8631 more-in-fight-against-google/8631 Bing Relaunches, Features New Social Sidebar with-search-meets-social with-search-meets-social "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"

30 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk30 Bing Relaunches, Features New Social Sidebar : tries-again-with-search-meets-social tries-again-with-search-meets-social

31 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk31

32 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk32 No social side bar for me (not in the US) but social network 'stuff' appears in main results

33 So.cl : 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk33 Microsoft Launches Socl Social Network: A Look Inside quick-look quick-look-12499

34 What I see on my screen is not what you'll see on yours! 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk34

35 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 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk35

36 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 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk36

37 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 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk37

38 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk38

39 Google search settings 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk39

40 Google web history 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk40

41 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 1/11/18/google-verbatim-for-exact- match-search/ 1/11/18/google-verbatim-for-exact- match-search/ 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk41

42 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk42 Signed out Verbatim Chrome incognito

43 Try a search tool with less or no personalisation DuckDuckGo – does not track, does not personalise Yandex.com – International version of the Russian search engine Blekko Million Short – omits the top million most "popular" sites from results 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk43

44 Use more than Google anyway The Disruptive Searcher (Sanity checking Google -checking-google/) -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.” 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk44

45 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 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk45

46 Bing Link to minimalist advanced search options now vanished Advanced Search Operators Main ones –site: –filetype: –intitle: 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk46

47 DuckDuckGo DuckDuckGo – silly name but a neat little search tool : name-but-a-neat-little-search-tool/ 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 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk47

48 Yandex 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk48

49 Yandex – advanced search 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk49 OR Search operators id= id=

50 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” to-search-across-thousands.html to-search-across-thousands.html 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk50

51 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) 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk51

52 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 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk52

53 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk53

54 Using Google features to best advantage 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk54

55 Location Country versions of Google to prioritise local content –for example google.co.za, google.fr, google.de –usually two letter ISO code for the country Change location in left hand menu on results page 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk55

56 Google.com and SPYW 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk56

57 SPYW – hide personal results 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk57

58 Personal results only 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk58

59 Verbatim 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk59

60 Google results page side bar 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk60 '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.

61 Google side bars 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk61 ImagesVideos NewsBooksBlogs

62 Start using advanced search commands and Google gives up on personalisation although you may have to use Verbatim 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk62

63 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 site:ac.uk 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk63

64 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 – Norway oil production forecasts filetype:xls OR filetype:xlsx 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk64

65 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 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk65

66 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 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk66

67 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 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk67

68 LinkedIn.com 22 October 2014Karen Blakeman

69 LinkedIn.com 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk69

70 More on searching LinkedIn Boolean Black Belt-Sourcing/Recruiting Mary Ellen Bates Ten Top Tips for Searching LinkedIn PDF 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk70

71 Bing social 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk71

72 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk72

73 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk73

74 Topsy.com 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk74

75 Topsy.com 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk75

76 Icerocket.com 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk76

77 Socialmention.com 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk77

78 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 22/10/2014www.rba.co.uk78


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