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Microsoft Patent Hints At Search Results Tailored To User's Mood, Intelligence

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the looks-deep-within-your-soul dept.

Microsoft 146

theodp writes "A newly surfaced Microsoft patent application, reports GeekWire, describes a 'user-following engine' that analyzes your posts on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites to deduce your mood, interests, and even your smarts. The system would then automatically adjust the search experience and results to better match those characteristics, explains Microsoft, such as changing the background color of the search interface to suit your mood, or bringing back only those search results that won't strain your feeble brain. From the patent application: 'In addition to skewing the search results to the user's inferred interests, the user-following engine may further tailor the search results to a user's comprehension level. For example, an intelligent processing module may be directed to discerning the sophistication and education level of the posts of a user. Based on that inference, the customization engine may vary the sophistication level of the customized search result.'"

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all they need to do is eliminate ad pages (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39759007)

That's what I want, whether constructed pages of junk or Wikipedia mirrors, hat is what I do not wish to see.

I don't think MS's patent would work on me (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#39760195)

I do not go to facebook nor I tweet

And if they want to "judge" my "mood", that is, if they can somehow insert a cookie that follows me throughout my web-surfing journey - they have to read the messages I post on /,

Re:I don't think MS's patent would work on me (2)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 2 years ago | (#39760265)

They will go lowest common denominator and serve you up results appropriate to Zippy the Pinhead.... Yow!

Re:all they need to do is eliminate ad pages (2)

Garridan (597129) | more than 2 years ago | (#39760363)

Use duckduckgo. It doesn't tailor searches, doesn't track its users. It's "smart", too. When it can find potentially relevant info, it puts it right up at the top and suggests better searches based on that info. I've been using it for a week, and keep finding awesome features.

Re:all they need to do is eliminate ad pages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39760451)

DDG is powered by Bing.

Re:all they need to do is eliminate ad pages (1)

andrew3 (2250992) | more than 2 years ago | (#39760641)

Yes, but only on the backend. No tracking cookies are served to the user and it's on a separate domain, so what it's powered by isn't relevant.

But isn't this Microsoft all over? (4, Insightful)

troff (529250) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759033)

You do what you need to do, people. Don't exercise your tiny little grey cells. You don't need to learn anything new. You don't need to stretch yourselves or make yourselves better. Just leave it all in our hands. That's better. Go back to sleep now.

Re:But isn't this Microsoft all over? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39759051)

Don't exercise your tiny little grey cells. You don't need to learn anything new. You don't need to stretch yourselves or make yourselves better. Just leave it all in our hands.

Huh. I think you mean Apple. It just works!

Re:But isn't this Microsoft all over? (3, Funny)

troff (529250) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759295)

You're also right. Ever since I started supporting people with iPads, I accepted the truth of that.

Re:But isn't this Microsoft all over? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39759305)

If it just works, why do they need you to support them?

Re:But isn't this Microsoft all over? (1)

troff (529250) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759447)

a) Because these people don't really get how to use these devices.
b) I think you're conflating grandparent's use of "It just works" meaning "don't think or customise, just use what we give you", with the idea of these Apple products really, genuinely "just working".

Re:But isn't this Microsoft all over? (2)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759783)

b) I think you're conflating grandparent's use of "It just works" meaning "don't think or customise, just use what we give you", with the idea of these Apple products really, genuinely "just working".

I think you are confusing the tool with the product. You folks sound like the diesel mechanic who hates all the truck drivers because they are stupid in your mind. The computer is a tool, you are there to keep it running.

Re:But isn't this Microsoft all over? (3, Interesting)

troff (529250) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759819)

You sound like the person who doesn't understand that we diesel mechanics keep meeting so many truck drivers who can't comprehend what the truck is and is not capable of doing.

They buy into the iTruck hype and keep assuming that the damn thing will keep driving itself down the I-95 while they have a quick kip behind the wheel. And then blame us when they end up in a ditch.

Hence, me bringing up the point of the meanings being conflated. It, contrary to popular (indeed, encouraged) belief, doesn't just work. Hence, the diesel mechanics tend to think less of the truck drivers who haven't bothered to ever look under their hoods; and berate us for making the mere suggestion that they might consider doing so.

Re:But isn't this Microsoft all over? (3, Insightful)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39760191)

It, contrary to popular (indeed, encouraged) belief, doesn't just work.

Respectfully, nothing "just works".

You may, or may not, choose to hate those who give you work. You may, or may not choose to believe that people who do not know something that you do, are somehow inferior.

But to bring this back to the Apple versus PC, Chevy versus Ford pissing contest, It takes a special kind of foolishness to state that Apple users are idiots who don't know a thing about their computers. I supported Apples, Windows, and even a bit of Linux, and I've found it very advantageous career and pay wise to look at the customer as a resource, not some sort of idiot ranked by OS. How's superiority over the customer work out for you?

Re:But isn't this Microsoft all over? (2)

troff (529250) | more than 2 years ago | (#39760255)

Respectfully, nothing "just works".

Funnily enough, I do believe that's the point on which we were previously relying.

You seem to be bringing a lot of personal snark into this. Not to mention, this was never originally pointed at any of the users (as you're quite clearly saying with your "inferiority" comments).

This was about Microsoft's plan to circumscribe search results depending on the user's "mood" and "intelligence"; what this implies in a future when people are already burying their heads in the sand, as it is.

And - I'll reiterate, seeing as you seem to have missed this the first time - this is about people who keep using these tools and
choose to not learn more about the tools they're using. Would you like me to say that I feel superior over people who refuse to learn things; when I don't refuse to learn things outside of my own scope? Would that satisfy your need to feel superior?

Furthermore, you comment about stating "Apple users are idiots who don't know a thing about their computers"; I would rather say that "people using Apple or Windows and don't know anything and refuse repeatedly to learn about their tools are idiots".

... much like people who can't seem to read comments with a sufficient level of comprehension, but with plenty of personal issues brought in to cloud said comprehension.

Re:But isn't this Microsoft all over? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39760217)

Because working easily without flaws is for stupid people, anyone with any intelligence prefers systems that don't work well and therefore require thought.

Re:But isn't this Microsoft all over? (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759601)

Huh? Microsoft users are expected to learn all sorts of things, from keyboard shortcuts, to proprietary interfaces, to quirky workflows - you name it, Microsoft provides no help, you're just expected to learn it yourself. Apple's the one with the "why jerk my neck around like a goon when Tyrranno-vision decides what I should look at?" thinking, where everything is decided beforehand and there are no confusing choices to be made.

Heck, this could actually be positive, as if Microsoft patents it, other companies can't use this odious method.

Re:But isn't this Microsoft all over? (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759935)

Oh come on DNS-andBind, Metro is so user friendly with so many hints and useful design paradigms to make it simple to use.

I am sure people are going to take one look at it and be in ohh and ahhh for its glory and be dumping their dependable Windows 7 machines for this new workflow that works so well with multi monitors and running several apps at a time and be so much more simple than an IPAD.

Re:But isn't this Microsoft all over? (5, Insightful)

Genda (560240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759637)

More than that, don't look for any possible truths outside of your opinions and existing personal prejudices. If you can't face facts, then design a system that gladly tells you the lies you want to hear. Promotes your ignorance and panders to your stupidity. This isn't convenience, its self perpetuating brain damage.

Re:But isn't this Microsoft all over? (3, Interesting)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#39760547)

Get real, in this case the headline should read M$ patents delusion. Have you ever heard of speech recognition http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speech_recognition [wikipedia.org] , after all these years and all the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on it it still sucks. To get anywhere near accurate you have to train the person and software, the person has to remain sober and always speak in the manner they have been trained by the software to maintain. Open speech recognition is still many years off.

This patent claim is about taking what you've typed in and based upon passed wildly intrusive privacy invasion, guess what your actually searching for.

I have helped people search, in fact doing it for them and they often struggle to provide a clear verbal description of what they are really after, even after personally knowing them and listening to them for a few minutes. Only once the search is being done and results come up can you compare the results to what they are telling you to finally really understand what they are after.

M$ is simply filing a patent on something they are incapable of doing just in case someone can do it. A quick review of the patent indicates that it wildly infringes upon privacy laws. Reading it seems, this patent seems to be more about throwing out a patent net for each of the described functions rather than the whole patent. A whole bunch of submarine patents.

Re:But isn't this Microsoft all over? (1)

ignavus (213578) | more than 2 years ago | (#39760601)

More than that, don't look for any possible truths outside of your opinions and existing personal prejudices. If you can't face facts, then design a system that gladly tells you the lies you want to hear. Promotes your ignorance and panders to your stupidity. This isn't convenience, its self perpetuating brain damage.

Sounds like Fox News - and anything else that Murdoch does.

Oh, look: prior art.

Re:But isn't this Microsoft all over? (1)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 2 years ago | (#39760101)

I keep getting ads for guns, ammo, tannerite and paracetamol! WHY? OH WHY?

http://www.tannerite.com/ [tannerite.com]
http://www.examiner.com/article/boa-drops-firearm-company-mcmillan-company-to-halt-accepting-boa-cards [examiner.com]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ammunition_box [wikipedia.org]

Duck Duck Go gave those links when I entered my mood.

Just what we don't need. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39759039)

One more software patent. Ugh.

Number one reason I dislike Microsoft... (4, Interesting)

jchoyt (729301) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759053)

...they treat us all like morons. Their business practices have been predatory in the past and unecessarily nasty - and that comes in a close number two reason. But I can't stand using their products because they are always "helping". And now they're gonna screw with SEARCH RESULTS? Their OS is bad...Office is worse. THIS is insulting.

Re:Number one reason I dislike Microsoft... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39759175)

All the big names treat their customers like morons. Apple makes computers and phone tailored to fit the needs of imbeciles. Google customizes searches so you don't need to do any footwork to find what you are looking for. Microsoft does the same. Its how to sell a lot of products nowadays, people want all their thinking done for them.

Re:Number one reason I dislike Microsoft... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39760679)

Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.
      - H.L. Mencken

Re:Number one reason I dislike Microsoft... (4, Interesting)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759197)

The funniest part about this is where they deduce your intelligence. Really microsoft, the finest minds on earth have yet to come up with a satisfactory definition of the term, yet your goons are going to magicalgorithm the concept into your search results?

Re:Number one reason I dislike Microsoft... (1, Troll)

davester666 (731373) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759353)

It's self-selection at work. You're not the brightest light on the bulb with bing as your default search engine...

Re:Number one reason I dislike Microsoft... (2)

thereitis (2355426) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759769)

Why even deduce the intelligence of the person? First of all, this requires knowledge of the person searching, so more tracking of people and what they do or say. Second, they're most certainly going to be wrong in a large percentage of cases and will probably offend the person searching.

Give people a way to tune the results themselves.. maybe I want an overview of a topic to see what it's about, and another day I want to delve deeper.

Way to turn something simple into something that requires more tracking and profiling because, I guess, that's the trendy thing to do these days.

Re:Number one reason I dislike Microsoft... (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759941)

I disliked MS a lot when I created this account hence my name 11 years ago.

However, I will say recently MS has got a lot better (with the exception of metro). MS tried go the route with BoB, clippy, and the whole garbage of MS products like MS Dogs (actual product) in CompUSA back in the 1990s.

Windows 7 has saved search results, can organize many Windows at once, and do things for productive people that is not deducing your intelligence at all. It seems though they are returning that route with Metro sadly.

Re:Number one reason I dislike Microsoft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39759975)

yes they have. Intelligence is regularly tested and compared between people, and just because the results aren't politically correct doesn't mean they're not, well, correct.

The captcha is 'frauds'.

Re:Number one reason I dislike Microsoft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39759993)

All I keep coming up with is porn stars wearing glasses.

Re:Number one reason I dislike Microsoft... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39759233)

Couldn't agree more, "The system would then automatically adjust the search experience and results"; I don't want them to adjust search results based on my mood, I want the most relevant information relating to my query....no matter what kind of mood i'm in

Re:Number one reason I dislike Microsoft... (1)

webnut77 (1326189) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759547)

Speaking of moods: What if I'm in a foul mood and want to cheer myself up? If they try to match my mood, will they not be reenforcing it?

Also, the audacity of guessing my intelligence. "You're too dumb to get all the search results. Here's want you can understand."

Re:Number one reason I dislike Microsoft... (1)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759271)

...they treat us all like morons.

Well, their idea now is to only treat some of us like morons. So it's an improvement.

Re:Number one reason I dislike Microsoft... (2)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759397)

What I'm hoping for is a search site that limits results to technical content even if the term has some other meaning in popular culture, and more to the point, blocks all the pop culture crap that hurts my oversized brain. Once they find ways to block all the highly complex content from the non-techies, it shouldn't be all that hard to invert the limits....

Re:Number one reason I dislike Microsoft... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39759521)

Is there literally ANYTHING that Slashdot won't use to try criticize MS for?

I stopped taking this site seriously once I grew up and realized that any post involving MS in any way is completely and utterly ridiculous and not grounded in reality.

Re:Number one reason I dislike Microsoft... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39759567)

I'm waiting for the clippy that is tailored to someone who reads lol catz. "You can clikz teh helpz." "Teh green squiggiees mean haz bad gramma"

Re:Number one reason I dislike Microsoft... (3, Informative)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759803)

I'm waiting for the clippy that is tailored to someone who reads lol catz.

Funny!, you should get a name in here so that you don't float around with such a low score.

Re:Number one reason I dislike Microsoft... (1)

kcwhitta (232438) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759641)

And Google is *not* trying to "help" their customer? Google screws with search results all the time: it used to be much more geek-friendly than it is today. It thinks it knows what I want to search better than I do: thinking I make typos when I don't, and it includes search terms I don't want to include. Many of the geek customizations for advanced users that used to work are no longer available.

Re:Number one reason I dislike Microsoft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39759693)

...they treat us all like morons. Their business practices have been predatory in the past and unecessarily nasty - and that comes in a close number two reason. But I can't stand using their products because they are always "helping". And now they're gonna screw with SEARCH RESULTS? Their OS is bad...Office is worse. THIS is insulting.

The search engine has detected that you are a very bitter and depressed individual. Instead of serving your the list of Microsoft hate pages you requested our mood matching algorithm decided you might appreciate the following selection enjoyable web sites. We hope that this will help you recover from your depression:

http://www.theonion.com/
http://www.xkcd.com/
http://dilbert.com/

And if all else fails:
http://penthouseletters.com/

Re:Number one reason I dislike Microsoft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39759757)

Yup. The company revolves around 20-something males with math/cs degrees. Yeah. They're the brain trust of the planet.

Re:Number one reason I dislike Microsoft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39759963)

This could actually be beneficial to me, for instance returning the majority of searches from scientific sources like journals where my mom would get TMZ results.

I'd rather have... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39759071)

a mood ring and pressure-sensitive keys on mouse and keyboard that can detect just how frustrated and/or infuriated I am because my search returned nonsense that some algorhythm thinks I might be looking for, rather then what would fit the terms I was searching for.

You know you're a redneck.. (3, Funny)

Cyphase (907627) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759077)

You know Microsoft thinks your dumb if you search for "secret service prostitutes colombia" and the first result is "Escorts discretas colombianos a precios asequibles".

Re:You know you're a redneck.. (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39759131)

You're not your.

Re:You know you're a redneck.. (4, Funny)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759473)

And you know Slashdot thinks you're dumb because you just used the wrong "your".

Re:You know you're a redneck.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39759731)

And you know Slashdot thinks you're dumb because you just used the wrong "your".

No. Slashdot thinks you're dumb because an Anonymous Coward pointed this out more than an hour before your post.

Re:You know you're a redneck.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39760561)

"your" does not even sound like "you're" and therefore "your" is right just not correctly placed in context, as in it doesn't belong there. "your" can't be wrong, check the dictionary on its spelling, I can assure you it's quite right.

This is backwards, and is the work of idiots. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39759087)

Listen up, Microserfs :

What anyone wants is to quickly and easily find
results.

The idea that search results will be better suited to a person
you do not even know because you insert some algorithm into
the mix is just absurd. Sorry, but real life is not something which
can be solved like some puzzle.

Further, your little game will probably fuck up the chance that
serendipity ( in the form of an illogical search return ) might
cause happy results.

Re:This is backwards, and is the work of idiots. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39759243)

Very true.

Perhaps google could return to its original algorithm. The search results seem much better back them. Oh, and please exclude boardreader, fixya, and ehow please.

Google already doing this? (2, Interesting)

Frans Faase (648933) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759091)

I understand that the results returned by Google are already customized to the user.

Re:Google already doing this? (1)

ralphdaugherty (225648) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759459)

hmmm... what we need is a search engine that does no evil.

Re:Google already doing this? (0)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759929)

Prior art!

Why bother with analyzing intelligence (0)

WiiVault (1039946) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759105)

if you are dealing with folks who choose Bing? (Jokes the guy who uses Bing powered DuckDuckGo)

Welcome to Clippy 2.0 (2)

ArcadeNut (85398) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759179)

How about you just return the results that match what I typed in?

Search for Dummies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39759181)

From the company that brought us computing for dummies, internet for dummies, speling for dummies, email for dummies and so on for dummies.

Re:Search for Dummies (1)

LordThyGod (1465887) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759199)

How helpful have they been to you?

Re:Search for Dummies (1)

webnut77 (1326189) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759705)

speling for dummies

+1 for the pun. Everyone knows speeling has two e's in it.

Nicki Minaj is screwed..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39759195)

the user-following engine may further tailor the search results to a user's comprehension level

Default Internet Intelligence Setting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39759219)

Microsoft should set it at a default IQ of 50 to 69. i.e. "moron".

Re:Default Internet Intelligence Setting (1)

TWX (665546) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759931)

I can see it now...

"Dammit! Every search gives me results featuring Ke$ha!"

This is pretty simple (2)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759249)

I really wish these search companies would go back to their roots and provide bare metal search results.
Stop geo/mood/intelligence filtering the results for me.

Especially the geographic results. If I want results for my location, I'll include it in the search.

Re:This is pretty simple (1)

Golden_Rider (137548) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759341)

I really wish these search companies would go back to their roots and provide bare metal search results.
Stop geo/mood/intelligence filtering the results for me.

Especially the geographic results. If I want results for my location, I'll include it in the search.

Oh yes. This is something which really makes me mad sometimes, when a website/search engine/whatever makes ASSUMPTIONS based on my location (IP address). Listen, just because I am sitting in Germany, that does not automatically mean I *want* everything to be presented in a crappy German translation (I can understand your normal website with MORE content very well, ty very much), or that I want to see only stuff your German distributor has available. Maybe I want to look up stuff for some US product I bought on ebay. And maybe I do not want to see only the search result for my current location, maybe I want to look something up for my holiday next week. Assumptions are bad.

If you're intelligent... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39759253)

If you're intelligent, you don't use Microsoft products in the first place.

Re:If you're intelligent... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39759403)

If you're intelligent, you don't use Microsoft products in the first place.

My Mensa membership card begs to differ with you on that. Those of us that are actually intelligent know that if you are intelligent you use the right tool for the job. You don't base your choice on irrational hatred or fanboyism. Sometimes (often times) Microsoft's products are the right choice. Other times Apple's products meet your needs better. And sometimes an open source alternative is the better choice. But the intelligent choose based on their needs, desires, reviews, etc. and select the tool that best meets their criteria.

Re:If you're intelligent... (2)

troff (529250) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759759)

Okay, fair enough. So, what features of the Microsoft products is it that meets your needs better?

Could be useful (4, Funny)

Spacejock (727523) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759265)

So if a writer types 'How does someone publish there book?', Microsoft will send them to a spelling and grammar site instead of HarperCollins?

Re:Could be useful (1)

ignavus (213578) | more than 2 years ago | (#39760605)

So if a writer types 'How does someone publish there book?', Microsoft will send them to a spelling and grammar site instead of HarperCollins?

No. Send them to Clippy! "I see you are trying to write 'their'. Would you like help with that?"

So does it default to... (3, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759325)

"Can't find him on FaceBook. He must be stupid".

-or-

"Can't find him on FaceBook. He must be smart".

Alta Vista did this 15 years ago... (4, Funny)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759333)

Alta Vista did this back in the nineties. Virtually any result I found was exactly what I was in the mood for! Thanks to Google, now I have to type specific words in to get porn. Innovation, pbtbtbt.

Re:Alta Vista did this 15 years ago... (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759453)

Well played, sir. If you'll pardon me, I need a towel and another drink.

This technology will really come in handy... (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759337)

...for targeting malware.

Great. (2)

PessimysticRaven (1864010) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759475)

So, does that mean when I look at my Facebook Friends List, I'll start getting popups for Proazc, Paxil and Xanax?

Oh my! (3, Funny)

lahvak (69490) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759477)

"Honestly, professor, I searched for all these things that you told us to search for, but none of these links you are showing us ever came up!"

Enough... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39759501)

with the software patents! We need patent reform. This is more an idea than a true invention.

Trapped by personal history? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39759505)

I worry that customizing *search*, or customizing computer-based mediation/filtering of objective reality (as will be possible through video glasses and earphones) -- especially if made somewhat automatic by corporate-defined models of how people behave -- will eventually cause people to be trapped by their own personal history of thoughts and beliefs.

It's like people being attracted to Fox News or the Rush Limbaugh radio show because of whatever thoughts and beliefs they have at the time, and then forever finding comfort there because of a lack of competing/challenging input (partly because the opportunity for alternative input is crowded out by the activity of viewing/listening to their initial media channel of choice).

We are all familiar with "helpful" automation making choices that go against our personal wishes (or, at best, are simply unhelpful). But search (and, soon, mediated reality for the masses) creates the scary possibility of people becoming very isolated and trapped by their own history of personal actions and implied "preferences".

I've sometimes done web searches for things in which I had only incidental interest -- topics which might even offend me, but which I would like to learn about for the purposes of being informed -- and the search service has inferred that I am actually generally interested in those topics. Needless to say, the chance for automated systems drawing the wrong conclusions is very high.

I've seen blogs and discussion forums with communities with wacky beliefs, and it's sad that the insanity doesn't get any constructive criticism because of "moderators" (ironic term here) deleting any challenging/opposing comments. In the same way, unwittingly or intentionally, a person might become immersed in their own world of information.

I actually like the idea of modifying reality! I'd love to surround myself with challenging and encouraging avatars with virtual reality glasses and earphones, because I think having personal coaches and cheerleaders around me all the time (virtually) would be a supernatural boost. I don't know how to reconcile my attraction for that idea with my general concern about people experiencing detrimental self-delusion, except to say that I think that *automatic* guesses about "preferences" seems bad.

Although people can benefit from their memories (e.g., education and work experience) and past actions (e.g., earning money, buying and accumulating things), I worry about mechanisms that TRAP people in to their own legacy of memories and actions. Things like credit scores, criminal records, Internet records, etc, can make it difficult for people to change direction and grow, and have a new phase in their lives. Given the increasing role of Internet search and mediated reality in the lives of ordinary people, a new, and profoundly influential, mental trap is being built around them. I'm not judging it, but for some people their avatar in the World of Warcraft MMORPG is as much an influence on their lives as real-world people; and, in the same way, I think web search and mediated reality will eventually become the dominant influences in the lives of many people. I think the widespread absorption of people with their smartphones (after the earlier phenomenon of "Crackberry" devices) is somewhat telling.

Search results should be objective, not subjective (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39759507)

I think Google and Microsoft have it all wrong with bubbling users. I strongly believe that it's the job of the user to enter the proper queries so that he or she will receive the proper result. I don't want the engine to guess what I like or how I feel. Furthermore, search results are not about a popularity contest, I want relevant search results, not popular results. On that front, I feel like Google have given up, I find it increasingly hard to search for things that are the opposite of what's popular. (Not that it's any better on other search engine as I never took the time to compare)

For example, I don't eat enough sodium in my diet. (Healthy home cook diet almost all the time) Searching for information about sodium deficiencies will always return hit after hit of information for people that want to reduce the sodium in their nutrition. You would think that a search engine could understand a simple thing such as the search of an opposite? And no, a search engine doesn't have the right to know who I am so I can get the proper queries. It should "understand" what I'm asking.

Re:Search results should be objective, not subject (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759949)

Exactly!

While they're at it they can patent a car with no steering wheel. Instead it senses your mood and intelligence and drives youwhere it guesses you want to go.

Clippy, is that you? (1, Troll)

hantms (2527172) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759533)

Clippy's back...

"Hi, it looks like you're an idiot. Let me omit all search results that aren't TV or XBox related."

Re:Clippy, is that you? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759619)

> Let me omit all search results that aren't TV or XBox related.

Typical Clippy bungling. No sports scores.

uhhh (1)

ticktickboom (1054594) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759541)

you have to post to facebook to be SMART?

Re:uhhh (2)

Longjmp (632577) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759657)

They didn't say how they measure intelligence.
So maybe they add 150 to your default IQ if you don't post on facebook ;-)

I.Q. Too low (3, Funny)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759679)

YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!

Inferred interest? (4, Insightful)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759795)

In addition to skewing the search results to the user's inferred interests, the user-following engine may further tailor the search results to a user's comprehension level.

<Samuel L. Jackson Voice>
Dear Condescending Microsoft Motherfuckers. My motherfucking search interests are directly expressed by my motherfucking search query - that's why I fucking entered it. In addition, there are times I want to actually *learn* something, which necessitates results above my current motherfucking comprehension level.
</Samuel L. Jackson Voice>

Why can't search engines simply answer the questions as I ask and let *me* worry about asking better questions?

Re:Inferred interest? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39759833)

Bing: "So you're interested in intercourse; more specifically, intercourse with mothers?"

Re:Inferred interest? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39760297)

Dear Mr. Jackson,

We, here at Microsoft, strive to bring our customers (the ones who use our software for commercial purposes) the best consumers we can direct to their web sites. If you are not getting the results you seek, or you would like to be directed to more informative resources, we'd like to respectfully suggest that you purchase one of the various Bing! upgrade packages. We are currently offering various levels of support with a wide variety of options.

Level i = cardboard cutout masks
  i) Dopey, Doc, Sneezy
  ii) Daffy, Donald, Huey
  iii) Bugs, Yosemite, Wile E.

Level II = a set of rubber masks
    i) Moe, Larry, Curly
    ii) Harpo, Groucho, Zeppo
    iii) George, Thomas, Ben

Level III = sets of hats
    i) a tam, a beret, a fez
    ii) a baseball cap, a hardhat, a hoody
    iii) a bowler, a top hat, a fedora

Level IV = digital avatar plug-ins (IE v12.12.357 only)
    i) Freud, Jung, Maslow
    ii) Einstein, Oppenheimer, Feynman
    iii) Piaget, Gutenberg, Shields or Yarnell

Open Source Alternatives
Crowdsourced Avatars from any of the various security cameras monitoring various neighborhoods around the globe.

Remember: If you don't like what we offer you, you should still consider yourself lucky that you are alive and in possession of your wits and freedom.

Any further lip and we'll just add the MAC addresses for any of the various devices we allow you to use to connect through our network partners to our list of suspected terrorists and then you'll be forced to see if you can figure out how to use Linux.

mod 3owkn (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39759839)

Dynamic Guesstimating (1)

guttentag (313541) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759905)

Ever have one of those conversations where you're asking your wife/girlfriend (yeah, I know, this is slashdot) where she'd like to go for dinner, and she tells you what she thinks you want to hear. And you say OK because you think that's where she wants to go. You're both so busy trying to figure out what the other person wants that your ability to interact effectively breaks down completely... And you either end up still arguing about it on the couch an hour later or at some restaurant neither of you likes.

This is the same thing! Microsoft is trying to patent relationship dysfunction!

You might as well use a tablet with a keyboard with keys that change under your fingers depending on what the device thinks you're going to type next. You'll never get what you want because the key you're looking for is constantly moving around... Running away from your fingers or hiding under them. There's a reason the QWERTY layout is standard, despite its flaws - everyone knows where to expect the keys!!!

The only group that would claim this is a good idea would be the advertisers: "Oh, you searched for Peanut Butter? You must be looking for JIFF." "Oh, you searched for tasty and filling? You must be looking for JIFF." Oh, you searched for JPG/GIF? You must be looking for JIFF!"

Vaporware (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759919)

It would be nice if Slashdot could tell us about actual products, not vague vaporware information inferred from patent fillings.

After all these years. . . (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759927)

. . .Microsoft has finally caught up with Emacs [wikipedia.org] .
*sniff* They said Redmond could never do it *cough* but they were WRONG!

Future Microsoft UI (1)

Grayhand (2610049) | more than 2 years ago | (#39759953)

After reviewing the information a new approach was decided for future computer interfaces. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lexigram [wikipedia.org]

Facebook, Twitter? (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#39760061)

To deduce your smarts? A moment while I clean my keyboard.

Next thing you know, they'll stoop to Bing users.

Citizen (1)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 2 years ago | (#39760145)

"Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to test a prototype software program designed to trap filthy Communists and Mutants inside a simulation of the life of a Red-level warehouse worker that Friend Computer has laboriously constructed. Unfortunately, the manual is marked Blue and cannot be accessed by a Red-level citizen such as yourself. Attempting to access the manual without clearance is Treason and punishable by termination. Friend Computer wishes you godspeed."

Search Engine Intelligence Test (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39760289)

Q: Do you use Bing?

If the answer is 'yes,' the user's intelligence can be guessed very accurately.

Mood Ring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39760315)

I thought mood rings went out in the '60s

"user following engine...."? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39760413)

At least it doesn't say say anything about /. posts. Still...maybe it's best to just be AC.

Terrible idea (1)

doston (2372830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39760507)

Why bother with net neutrality when search results can simply be skewed to a person's perceived intelligence or interests, based on some proprietary and probably secret algorithm? This is the perfect way to get around any net neutrality legislation. Beyond that, the idea thumbs its nose at the best feature of the internet: Expanding your mind. If the results are so tailored to what one already thinks, how intelligent the person supposedly is (like that can really be measured anyway) and one's current interests, how does that expand the mind? Seems like keeping everybody their on personal status quo. To my mind, and I don't mean this flippantly, people are generally a tad dull brained...they tend to seek out ideas and opinions that they already believe. I always liked to think that the internet sort of helped people break out of that and find new ideas, new ways of thinking. This idea would seem to automate "Reinforcement Theory" which is already a proclivity for most.

Re:Terrible idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39760621)

Its all about making money, milking data from every single place, building advertising profiles, sucking the life out of any enriching experience you might accidentally have online, about reducing results with more content and less ads and increasing results with more ads and less content.

Next up from Microsoft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39760659)

E-mail Filter Tailored to User's Dick Size:

Expect a paperclip saying: "You really need to look at those business recommendations from unknown people"

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