Posts Tagged ‘Comscore’

Search Engine Yandex Gets More Personal, And More Semantic, Too

Image courtesy of Pixomar / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Search engine Yandex this week added personalization capabilities for Eastern European users’ search results. It analyses their online behavior including their search history, clicks on search results, and language preferences for its suggestions.

Kaliningrad is the name of the latest edition of Yandex’ personalized search engine. It uses that information to make suggestions and rank search results individually tailored for each user, showing book lovers that do a search on Harry Potter links related to the books, while those who prefer movies get film-oriented link fare.

Semantic markup didn’t play a role in the development of the technology, Yandex technical product manager and developer advocate Alexander Shubin says. But it can be applied for future enhancements, he notes. The new personalization reportedly leverages Yandex’ machine-learning-based query and search results algorithms “Spectrum” and “MatrixNet” to train the results to users’ requirements.

That said, Yandex has been diving deeper into semantic web waters. Beyond taking advantage of sites using schema.org markup to improve the display of search results, Shubin provides this update: “We enhanced our markup validator to understand all the markup (Open Graph, schema.org, RDFa, microformats). It is universal now (as Google’s or Bing’s instruments).”

Read more

Semantic Tech Checks In As The Holiday Shopping Begins

 

Photo credit: FlickR/crd!

 

With Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and Small Business Saturday behind us, and Cyber-Monday right in front of us, it is clear the holiday season is in full force. Apparently, retailers – both online and real-world – are doing pretty well as a group when it comes to sales racked up.

Reports have it that e-commerce topped the $1 billion mark for Black Friday in the U.S. for the first time this year, with Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Target and Apple taking honors as the most visited online stores, according to ComScore. Consumers spent $11.2 billion at stores across the U.S. on Black Friday, said ShopperTrak, down from last year but probably impacted by more people heading out to more stores for deals that began on Thursday night. The National Retail Federation put total spending over the four-day weekend at a record $59.1 billion, up 13 percent from $52.4 billion last year.

Not surprisingly, semantic technology wants in on the shopping action. Social intelligence vendor NetBase, for instance, just launched a new online tool that analyzes the web for mentions of the 10 top retailers to show the mood of shoppers flocking to those sources. The Mood Meter, which media outlets and others can embed in their sites, ranks the 10 brands based on sentiment unearthed with the help of its natural language processing technology.  Read more

Will Facebook Search Improvements Turn The Tables, Disrupt Relationships?

Late last week Bloomberg Businessweek reported that Facebook is working on an improved search engine with 20 developers under the direction of former Google engineer Lars Rasmussen, who joined the social network giant in 2010. According to the article’s unnamed sources, the goal “is to help users better sift through the volume of content that members create on the site, such as status updates, and the articles, videos, and other information across the Web that people ‘like’ using Facebook’s omnipresent thumbs-up button.”

As the news starts to make its way around the Web, the focus is on how this can intensify the competition between Facebook and Google, even if Facebook doesn’t directly go after the big web search enchilada. (Most seem to agree that it isn’t, at least not yet.) Better searching inside its own four walls, with its ability to use its host of knowledge about friends’ social graph data – their Likes and more – to more accurately personalize results, might encourage users to stay where they are rather than head out to search engine land, at least for some things. And at the same time let Facebook hone its advertising to profit from improved search results, too.

It would be an interesting turn of events, to have the leading search engine face the dilemma that online publishers long have been trying to deal with – keeping visitors engaged and exploring on their own sites rather than departing for Google in search of related information. As The Semantic Web Blog reported this week in a story about premium publishers deploying more semantic technology to try to solve that issue, most premium publishers lose 30 to 50 percent of their traffic to search engines.

Read more

Google Puts New Privacy Policy Into Effect, And Stage Is Set For More Personalized Products Even As Google Plus Pickup Is Slow

ComScore this week issued a report that wasn’t particularly flattering to Google Plus. It noted that users spent just 3.3 minutes on the social network in January compared to 7.5 hours for Facebook. Much discussion revolved around the fact that Google last month touted that the service had grown to 90 million users from 40 million in October.

Google Plus, as The Semantic Web Blog reported here, informs the personalized results that are delivered through Search Plus Your World, such as the Google+ photos and posts users have shared or that have been shared with them through the social network.

One question raised by the ComScore report is what impact the slow takeup might have, if any, on Search Plus Your World. Shortly after Google Plus’ debut, The Semantic Web Blog published a post by Christine Connors, principal at TriviumRLG LLC, discussing why, as she has put it, the service is “one of the subtlest and most user-friendly ontology development systems we’ve ever seen.” Of the ComScore data , she says, “that’s an ‘average’ number. Which means that millions of folks who’ve signed up haven’t used it, and far fewer millions spend hours on it every month. What that says to me is that for some people Search Plus Your World would be almost useless, and for those who use G+ regularly SPYW has a decent and always improving personalized algorithm and index behind it.  Take out the privacy concerns and the people using G+ will have an increasingly positive sense of satisfaction with Google for Search and more.  Problem is, taking out the privacy concerns is very troublesome.”

Speaking of privacy: Today, of course, is the date that Google’s privacy policy changes.

Read more

Brand Advertisers: Admantx Semantics Provide A Way To Tap Into Emotions and Motivations

Photo courtesy: Flickr/sskennel

Expert System has spun out a new company that’s leveraging its semantic IP in the service of improving online advertising. Named Admantx (ads + semantics), the startup has Expert’s CEO J. Brooke Aker as its new CMO, its idea being to take contextual advertising to the next level, beyond the keywords, to improve content-ad matches, and to do it with a bit of Madmen flair. There are implications for product advertising, but the real beneficiaries, Admantx thinks, will be the brand advertisers.

“We can deeply analyze content on the page to form entities, names, places, concepts, ideas, all the traditional markup,” Aker says. “But here is the interesting extension – we’ve worked very hard to extend semantic understanding into the realm of emotions, behavior (as in, what kind of behavior does the content elicit in the reader) and motivation.” Appealing to emotions and motivations always has been the way advertising has worked in other mediums, he says, and it needs to have a bigger role in online advertising, as well – bringing Don Draper into the 21st century, so to speak.

Read more