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To Search Smarter, Find a Person?

Zonk posted about 6 years ago | from the when-the-man's-right-the-man's-right dept.

Social Networks 136

Svonkie writes "Brendan Koerner reports in Wired Magazine that a growing number of ventures are using people, rather than algorithms, to filter the Internet's wealth of information. These ventures have a common goal: to enhance the Web with the kind of critical thinking that's alien to software but that comes naturally to humans. 'The vogue for human curation reflects the growing frustration Net users have with the limits of algorithms. Unhelpful detritus often clutters search results, thanks to online publishers who have learned how to game the system.'"

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136 comments

But isn't AI and metadata just around the corner? (1)

CRCulver (715279) | about 6 years ago | (#22859260)

While I can imagine a growing job market based on this, futurists like Kurzweil in The Age of Spiritual Machines [amazon.com] see AI coming very soon, and semantic web buffs can point to victories of semantic metadata tagging in at least some limited areas of the web. Won't many of this newly hired assistants be superseded soon?

Re:But isn't AI and metadata just around the corne (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22859458)

AI and metadata are indeed just around the corner. The trouble is, as the article points out, that web publishers find ways to game the system. Some websites pop up at the top of the search burying the ones you actually want.

If I can guarantee anything I can guarantee that someone or some artificial intelligence will find a way to game any new system, no matter how sophisticated it is.

ref. Spy vs. Spy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spy_vs._Spy [wikipedia.org]

As far as human editors go, Wikipedia seems to strike the right balance. I often include 'wiki' in my search string.

Re:But isn't AI and metadata just around the corne (3, Insightful)

asuffield (111848) | about 6 years ago | (#22860032)

AI and metadata are indeed just around the corner. The trouble is, as the article points out, that web publishers find ways to game the system. Some websites pop up at the top of the search burying the ones you actually want.


In fact, it's a basic theorem that given sufficient time, human-level intelligence can always beat any system with less than human-level intelligence (aside from trivial cases like a complete firewall). This is because the human's theory of mind can fully encompass the lesser system (so you can understand how it works), while the reverse is not true. Computers can only beat humans at chess when the match is played with a time control.

This doesn't mean that a computer system can never be good enough to solve this problem. However, it does mean that if you could build a computer system that could solve it, then it would insist on being paid.

It also doesn't mean that using human-level intelligence will always solve this problem. Humans can still be beaten, they just start on a level playing field. Hence it's pretty much inevitable that some people will still find ways to game the system.

Re:But isn't AI and metadata just around the corne (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 6 years ago | (#22860850)

The only reason that chess cannot be solved completely is because there are too many solutions for today's computers to search out all the solutions, and figure out the optimal solution. Computers can only go so many moves ahead, especially when you factor in the time constraint. However if you look at a game of checkers, we have gotten computer algorithms to a point where it is impossible to beat the computer. The best you could do is tie. I imagine that the same will be true eventually for the game of chess, once computers are fast enough.

Re:But isn't AI and metadata just around the corne (1)

asuffield (111848) | about 6 years ago | (#22862788)

True, yet completely missing the point. A computer today can be beaten by any human in the absence of time constraints, because the human understands how the computer operates and can devise a strategy that builds a trap which the computer cannot see. For example, if we take the primitive case of a computer that looks only five moves ahead, you simply have to build a trap where the next five moves all look very good (let the computer capture a piece on each of them, or something like that), and you checkmate on the sixth. The computer can't do the same thing to the human because it doesn't understand how the human thinks about chess.

Chess masters can do this to the current computers - it just takes several hours (or days) to figure out, which is too long for games played under normal time control.

Re:But isn't AI and metadata just around the corne (1)

ahabswhale (1189519) | about 6 years ago | (#22862172)

Your statements are based on the faulty premise that computers will never be able to learn, or at least learn as well as a human. I would never make such an assumption. People have an elevated sense of themselves. It's bullshit. We're just fancy bio-computers. Once we understand how that really works, we're be able to replicate it and (probably) improve on it.

Re:But isn't AI and metadata just around the corne (1)

c6gunner (950153) | about 6 years ago | (#22862308)

Your statements are based on the faulty premise that computers will never be able to learn, or at least learn as well as a human. ... We're just fancy bio-computers. Once we understand how that really works, we're be able to replicate it and (probably) improve on it.
Sure, but we're the product of billions of years of evolution. What makes you think that we'll be able to replicate or even approximate the human thought process any time soon? Hell, we're having problems even getting computers/machines to work out simple things like moving limbs without falling over, or reacting in order to avoid being hit by an object, but you think we're going to be able to teach them to use higher-order brain functions? Sorry, but it won't happen any time soon.

Or, if you prefer a religious reply: we're the result of God's divine intervention, and can never hope to match His work ;)

Re:But isn't AI and metadata just around the corne (1)

ahabswhale (1189519) | about 6 years ago | (#22862752)

What makes you think that we'll be able to replicate or even approximate the human thought process any time soon?
I didn't put a time-line on it; I have no idea how long it will take. Of course we have a long way to go, but I'm responding to the previous poster who implied it would simply never happen...ever.

Hell, we're having problems even getting computers/machines to work out simple things like moving limbs without falling over, or reacting in order to avoid being hit by an object, but you think we're going to be able to teach them to use higher-order brain functions?
Robotics is an entirely different issue. There are already robots that can walk and run. Granted, there are none that can handle obstacles as well as a human but these problems will get worked out in time. There's no reason to think otherwise.

Or, if you prefer a religious reply: we're the result of God's divine intervention, and can never hope to match His work ;)
I don't :)

Re:But isn't AI and metadata just around the corne (1)

asuffield (111848) | about 6 years ago | (#22862730)

Your statements are based on the faulty premise that computers will never be able to learn, or at least learn as well as a human.

No, they're based on the underlying logic. Your statement, on the other hand, is based on failing to specify what "learn" means, and hence avoiding thinking about the subject, combined with not even bothering to read the post to which you are replying.

When you have two given systems A and B, then the following statement is either true or false:

System A is able to understand how system B operates

(This statement is obviously transitive. We do not know whether it is commutative, that's one of the big unsolved questions in the field)

We call this a "theory of mind": if your theory of mind is strong enough, then you can understand any systems that are weaker. A human has a theory of mind that is strong enough to understand how any Turing machine operates. We have never been able to construct a Turing machine that has a theory of mind strong enough to understand how a human thinks (partly because we don't know ourselves), and we're not sure whether that's even possible.

This part's too complex to write out here, but it is fairly straightforward to show that in order for system A to fully understand system B, it must effectively be at least a system B. In order words, if you can construct a computer that can fully understand a human, then that computer is a human, for all practical purposes. It has desires and emotions and motivations like a human, and it has (or should have) all the privileges of a human, and it is not going to want to be your slave. You're going to have to find some way to pay it if you want it to work for you. Hence, you have accomplished nothing by building it - you could have just used a regular human.

We're just fancy bio-computers.

You are completely clueless as to whether or not that is really true. People who actually know what they're talking about haven't been able to figure it out in the past couple of hundred years, so you certainly haven't. It is an open question as to whether or not human minds fall within the scope of the Church-Turing thesis, and hence are equivalent to computers, and we won't know until we figure out how the brain actually operates.

just around the corner (3, Interesting)

Mactrope (1256892) | about 6 years ago | (#22859524)

Expect to lose your job soon after the paperless office arrives. It's always just around the corner but something human gets in the way every time. AI will be much the same.

Re:just around the corner (2)

ubrgeek (679399) | about 6 years ago | (#22859692)

And the Internet is just a fad. As soon as people get tired of pr0n, the Internet will go away ... ;)

Re:just around the corner (1)

ASBands (1087159) | about 6 years ago | (#22860940)

The modern industrial economy has become dependent on computers in general, and select AI programs in particular. For example, much of the economy, especially in the United States, depends on the availability of consumer credit. Credit card applications, charge approvals, and fraud detection are now done by AI programs. One could say that thousands of workers have been displaced by these AI programs, but in fact if you took away the AI programs these jobs would not exist, because human labor would add an unacceptable cost to the transactions. So far, automation via AI technology has created more jobs than it has eliminated, and has created more interesting, higher-paying jobs. Now that the canonical AI program is an "intelligent agent" designed to assist a human, loss of jobs is less of a concern than it was when AI focused on "expert systems" designed to replace humans. (Russell, Stewart and Peter Norvig, Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach p960-1)

We're so incredibly far from developing Strong AI right now - people aren't seriously trying. In sit-down restaurants (I know the Cheesecake Factory for sure), there is an AI system which prints your tickets out to the kitchen at the right times so that all the food arrives at your table nice and hot. Voice recognition software is an AI system to increase productivity, as are intelligent routing services. The air conditioning in your house is an AI system (not a very smart one, but it simulates thinking nonetheless), as is the Roomba, as is that little thing you put in your pool. MySQL uses an AI system to actively cache your most-used tables into RAM and Windows Vista pre-loads your frequently used applications. None of these are taking jobs away from humans, just improving the efficiency of them.

Re:But isn't AI and metadata just around the corne (2, Insightful)

Gat0r30y (957941) | about 6 years ago | (#22859980)

Yea, but some people just want to ask the librarian where to find the book they're looking for.

Re:But isn't AI and metadata just around the corne (1)

ribuck (943217) | about 6 years ago | (#22861960)

The people who want to "just ask the librarian" can use online equivalents such as Uclue paid Q&A/research [uclue.com], Ask Metafilter [metafilter.com], Wikipedia Reference Desk [wikipedia.org] etc.

Paid search is always going to be a niche business, because most people don't want to pay, and because it doesn't scale as well as algorithmic search. But for those who want to use paid search (such as Uclue), it's a valuable service.

Re:But isn't AI and metadata just around the corne (1)

tighr (793277) | about 6 years ago | (#22860386)

I have often wished that searching was more tuned to the way humans ask questions. Ask Jeeves attempted this way back in the early days of websearch, and Google is very good at it now, but not with the types of things I sometimes want to search for. Sometimes you want to find something when you don't know what it is called. Your best bet is to type in a few adjectives and hope something comes up.

For example, I was humming a tune the other day. I know it was an Aerosmith song, and I can hum a few bars, but for the life of me I can't remember any of the lyrics. I wish that I could google for "that song by Aerosmith, the one that goes da daa dada..." and Google would be able to answer it, much like a friend would. Another example is when I see a commercial on TV for a store, and sometimes I'll google a phrase like "such-and-such company's commercials are funny", hoping to find an online forum where other people who agree with me have previously discussed this funny commercial. Doesn't always work, naturally.

The beauty of the way humans interact is that we can process a lot of information very quickly without having all of the information. If I'm working on a project and need a tool, I can tell a buddy, "Hey could you pass me the whatcha-ma-callit, you know the turny-one?" and he can probably deduce that I want a 3/8" socket wrench based on context clues. I hope that one day, Google search will be like that.

Re:But isn't AI and metadata just around the corne (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22860806)

Kurzweil, unfortunately is a bit of a nutbar. There are many things that never turned out quite like how people predicted.

He assumes that AI is a known (i.e. understood) problem, AI is not understood, not by a longshot.

Re:But isn't AI and metadata just around the corne (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 6 years ago | (#22861616)

Where are these semantic web victories? Slashdot's tagging system even uses human "assistants" and its still a miserable failure as far as finding information goes.

If you want to wait for AI go ahead. It's much like waiting for cheap fusion power though. I'm sure it will happen someday, but I'm not holding my breath.

Algorithms are written by people (4, Insightful)

geoffrobinson (109879) | about 6 years ago | (#22859278)

People are better at sorting stuff before them. Algorithms, written by people, have a harder time doing what we do intuitively but can sort through more stuff. Algorithms do indeed reflect the wisdom of people, so this is a false dichotomy.

Unless we are talking about Skynet.

Generation Gap (4, Insightful)

techpawn (969834) | about 6 years ago | (#22859282)

It's more a generation gap. While people in my generation are well versed on how to navigate Google and all it's side dark alleys for the gold nugget the boss is really looking for the older boss just wants it to work and is more prone to hit the "I'm feelin' lucky" button and trust what that tells them. That's where the tech snoops like us come in handy to find the obscure and convoluted information on the net. On more that one occasion the uppers have come to me to find something online because I can find it faster and more accurately.

Re:Generation Gap (5, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | about 6 years ago | (#22859330)

I agree that to some degree it is a generation gap. However, there are plenty of people among the younger generations who don't know how to do anything more than basic searching. When I use boolean operators on Google when in the company of friends, they are baffled. The rise in computing means that the computer has become a basic appliance, but people who really know how to hack more than the most common uses will always be a minority.

Re:Generation Gap (1)

techpawn (969834) | about 6 years ago | (#22859398)

True, It seems to take a special lot to navigate the field of search queries and results.

I know we should start a business around that idea... Oh wait...

Re:Generation Gap (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | about 6 years ago | (#22860740)

It's not just the younger folks, as anyone who has had to teach their parents to type URLs directly into the address bar rather than into the Google box on their ISP-driven default home page can attest.

Re:Generation Gap (1)

guywcole (984149) | about 6 years ago | (#22861528)

It's just a tool. People are going to learn to use it just enough to do what they need it for. That's not stupid, it's practical (and effective).

And I'm not saying it's a bad thing to learn the in's and out's of searching. It's like a car: most people learn how to drive them just enough to get around, a few study them because they enjoy it and want to use it in more/better ways (gear head / car nerd), and others learn every detail for their job. Those latter two groups aren't mutually exclusive, thank god.

You're probably a search algorithm nerd and/or someone trained to use them. These new human-search-engine jobs the article talks about? They're for people like you.

Re:Generation Gap (1)

h3llfish (663057) | about 6 years ago | (#22859950)

getoffmylawn! Oh wait, you're a youngster, not an oldster, so I guess the right tag for you is getonmylawn!

Age has a lot less to do with it than intelligence. I'm 36, and I live with two college students who are 23, and I can tell you that they don't know a gosh darned thing about computers. They're clueless when it comes to effective searching, they don't know how to avoid viruses, and they don't know their way around their own computers.

The problem with patting yourself on the back for being young is that it has no future. If you want to boost your self-esteem, tell yourself that you're smarter than most other people. That too will fade in time, but it takes a lot longer (usually).

Re:Generation Gap (1)

techpawn (969834) | about 6 years ago | (#22860144)

getoffmylawn! Oh wait, you're a youngster, not an oldster, so I guess the right tag for you is getonmylawn!
Wait, I'm young enough that I don't own a house yet to HAVE a lawn... I guess it would be "Getawayfrommyapartment"?

Re:Generation Gap (1)

h3llfish (663057) | about 6 years ago | (#22860240)

Hmm, well how about getoffmysillylookingtrickedouthonda, getoffmycaseofcheapbeer, or getoffmyxbox?

Oooh, I know... getoffmymyspace!

Re:Generation Gap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22860356)

GET OFF MY PARENTS LAWN!

Re:Generation Gap (0, Troll)

fredrated (639554) | about 6 years ago | (#22860276)

"the older boss just wants it to work and is more prone to hit the "I'm feelin' lucky" button and trust what that tells them"

Do you have any references that bear this out, other than your imagination? Oh wait, you're from the younger generation, you think that because you thought it up, it must be true! Don't bother providing evidence, you don't need any.

Well, it's also a problem of expertise (1)

Moraelin (679338) | about 6 years ago | (#22861062)

Well, it's also a problem of understanding the results, not just of one of knowing how to use Google.

1. Let's say I'm interested in legal advice, for example. I know how to use Google, but (A) it will take me disproportionately more time to understand it than it would take a lawyer, and (B) I'm still not sure if I understood it right, or if the person who wrote that does. Sometimes Google isn't the Alpha and the Omega. Sometimes I'd rather pay a lawyer to search for me, than trust my l33t operator-combining skillz and Google.

Not only I can see a manager doing the same, I can respect him more if he does. If you suspect you're not qualified enough to understand the points of this newfangled Snake Oil 2.0 Enterprise Edition framework, _don't_ Google personally. Delegate to someone who understands it.

2. Basically let's put it like this: bosses had secretaries for ages, and not because some "generation gap" makes him unable to use a typewriter or lick his own stamps. It's just that (supposedly) his time is worth more. If you have a secretary spending a hour on menial tasks, it's cheaper than if the CEO paid millions per year does it. Even if he's exactly as fast at running stuff through the photocopier and putting it into envelopes, an hour of that for him costs more money than an hour of the secretary's time.

Way I see it: same here. Even having the mad skillz, and understanding the topic (e.g., because it's something trivial), searching for some topics still is a major time sink. Yes, it'll be faster for someone with the mad skillz, but it's still a time sink either way. At least theoretically it's cheaper if the secretary does the searches, than if you have the CEO spend half his day googling.

Critical thinking comes naturally? (3, Insightful)

QMO (836285) | about 6 years ago | (#22859306)

...critical thinking that's alien to software but that comes naturally to humans...
That seems a little out of touch with reality, there.

Re:Critical thinking comes naturally? (1)

DiscountBorg(TM) (1262102) | about 6 years ago | (#22859590)

In a way there is nothing new here. For example if you do a search in YouTube for a particular subject, you will end up stumbling upon a user who is related to whatever interest you are searching. This is just the next step in organizing information on the internet. What I could see this ultimately leading to is an entire new category of search websites that "edit" the internet for interesting and relevant content, not unlike the above. Do you like the way a certain editor (or group of editors) filters the information on the internet? Then you will end up using their site for your web searches.

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22860182)

Unfortunately you're betraying your own point by making a comment involving "critical thinking."

Re:Critical thinking comes naturally? (1)

steveo777 (183629) | about 6 years ago | (#22860422)

Agreed 100%.

I always thought that the pure intuitiveness of a search engine such as Google should be the simplest thing in the world. You want to find something, search for "something". Unfortunately I was very wrong and I come across more people every day who can't understand how to locate auto parts or cooking recopies on line to save their lives. The same people who will forward inane emails and play pop cap games all day long.

How is the simple task of knowing what words to use in a search so difficult to grasp? Perhaps critical thinking does come natural... and the rest of the humans have to have other people do the searches.

Craziness (1)

igotmybfg (525391) | about 6 years ago | (#22859314)

to enhance the Web with the kind of critical thinking that's alien to software but that comes naturally to humans.

Surely you jest...

Really? (1)

TheLostSamurai (1051736) | about 6 years ago | (#22859342)

These ventures have a common goal: to enhance the Web with the kind of critical thinking that's alien to software but that comes naturally to humans.
Critical thinking come naturally to humans? I don't think you've met my boss.

Re:Really? (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | about 6 years ago | (#22859718)

So a rock, biscuit, tree or cat would do a better job as your boss?

If so, that would seem like a decent reason to be looking for a new job...

Re:Really? (3, Insightful)

h3llfish (663057) | about 6 years ago | (#22860076)

Wow, three posts in a row that made the same lame joke. That's gotta be clue that you're not as clever as you thought you were.

There has to be some kind of intelligent filtering. If it's not done for me, it's done by me, when I choose which result to click. The biggest problem with paying someone to do that sorting for you is the simple fact that it's too expensive. Yahoo might have stayed a human-sorted list forever, except that it would have taken an army of "surfers" to do it. The web just got too big to be done that way all the time.

Google results used to be a lot more relevant than they are now. Far too often, I'm interested in X, and search for "X" on Google, I find millions of people who want to sell me X. But I'm not even sure if I want to buy it. I'm looking for information about X. That is getting harder and harder to find. The quote in the summary is correct - people have learned how to "game" the system.

How often do you "google" something, and then just go to the Wikipedia link? I do all the time. That way, I can be sure to get actual information about the subject, rather than a link to its Amazon page. In many ways, because of the search engine optimizers, Wikipedia is already replacing Google as the default source of information.

New Ingenious Filtering System! (4, Interesting)

RobBebop (947356) | about 6 years ago | (#22859344)

His solution was to create Brijit, a Washington, DC-based startup launched in late 2007 that produces 100-word abstracts of both online and offline content. Every day, Brijit publishes around 125 concise summaries of newspaper and magazine articles, as well as audio and video programs, rating each on a scale of 0 ("actively avoid") to 3 ("a must read") so readers can decide whether it's worth their time to click through.

Tag article "activelyavoid" and move along.

Interestingly enough, this whole thing sounds like an idea Rob Malda thought up about 10 years ago, except Brijit lacks a discussion and moderation system where experts and opinionated thinkers can vie to share their collective wisdom to enhance the content of the original article.

Re:New Ingenious Filtering System! (1)

gnutoo (1154137) | about 6 years ago | (#22859618)

That about nails it. The restricted input sounds more like an encyclopedia, so it's more regressive than most people would first imagine.

Why would they bother to list "actively avoid" articles and who would trust a tiny third party to censor their news like that?

Re:New Ingenious Filtering System! (1)

thisdudeabides (1262132) | about 6 years ago | (#22859884)

RobBebop: Thanks to this site's hero CmdrTaco, it's 10 years and going strong!!! I've seen sections on Brijit to post a counter opinion or review of the media source. I'm starting to question some of the power users who get $5-8 per placed abstract, but I think the community will correct that too.

Everything Old is New Again (4, Insightful)

amplt1337 (707922) | about 6 years ago | (#22859382)

Or, "1995 called, it wants its Yahoo! back."

In the absence of the mythical, impossible strong-AI, there will always be an important role for experts -- you know, thinking meat, sitting there pushing charges through neurons, having opinions about stuff -- and those experts will probably use a lot of mechanized search tools to improve the breadth of their knowledge, their awareness of knowledge, and the accessibility of information. Technology and people work together!

But you're an idiot if you take out the wetware-based BS filter.

It's coordinating all that expert opinion, and filtering out the drivel, that poses the great organizational challenge of our collective information future. Wiki-based approaches are a good first step; maybe a "trusted-wiki" like Citizendium [citizendium.org] will be the next step; it's definitely going to keep evolving. But it's long been recognized by the reasonable that if you want an informed opinion, rather than a pattern match, you ask the librarian. We've known that since Alexandria -- nay, Ur -- and it's a shame we keep forgetting.

Finally (5, Funny)

imgod2u (812837) | about 6 years ago | (#22859414)

"Insane Google-fu" can be put on my resume under "skills".

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22862384)

I actually applied to several jobs listing Google search skills as one of my qualifications...Strangely, i never heard back from them

How does bias play into the equation? (1)

DiscountBorg(TM) (1262102) | about 6 years ago | (#22859422)

What strikes me most interesting is that Google uses a set of rules in determining what it displays when queried. These rules can be changed depending on where in the world you are located, altering the results of your query. When information is passed through a set of human hands how will human bias filter into the equation? How do humans determine what is useful and what is useless information? In the end this will not be a substitute for google, merely an additional reference.

Like the original Yahoo (3, Insightful)

Aram Fingal (576822) | about 6 years ago | (#22859430)

Back in the early days of the web, it was often easier to use a web index rather than a search engine. You would go to a site like Yahoo and lookup what you wanted in a hierarchy of categories. That was often the best way to do it before search engines became more sophisticated.

In circles we evolve (1)

RiyazShaikh (1133497) | about 6 years ago | (#22860054)

In the ancient days, when anyone wanted to know where the best restaurant in town was, they'd ask the guy on the street. Along came the great uniter of minds, and people could find what they wanted by asking the whole world for it. But now, we think asking the whole world is not good enough... so we go back to the guy on the street (who's probably renamed himself to "StreetSearcher" now).

Economics, Wisdom of Crowds, and Experts (4, Insightful)

QuantumFTL (197300) | about 6 years ago | (#22859454)

There's a lot of interesting things you can do in research when you get people involved. The simplest is just hiring someone to find the information you need. I believe that a *lot* of companies could significantly increase the productivity of their developers, engineers, etc, if they maintained a pool of trained searchers that could be called upon for difficult queries (paid at maybe a fourth the rate of salaried employees). I know that I've had searches for work that took most of a day just to find that one formula I needed from 30 years worth of journal papers.

A somewhat more interesting thing, in my opinion, is all the "wisdom of crowds" stuff we see so much hype about. It's interesting because it works very well in certain cases - basically the case where the popular thing is the right thing. The main problem with this is that any search engine that shows you 10 results and then counts which ones you click, well, it's not getting your input on result #11, or 23, etc. So before anyone votes, items that happen to be near the top almost certainly stay at the top. Many good items that the algorithm ranked medium might never get voted on!

One way around this is to randomly select some less good results, so that viewers get a chance to vote for the underdogs and bring them to the top of the pile. But this pollutes results for each user, essentially making them pay a "moderation tax" by requiring them to see things that the algorithm has no reason to believe are better results.

All-in-all, social information finding features seem to be much better suited for finding things you didn't even *know* you wanted - StumbleUpon being a great example of a tool for doing that. I would imagine that this could be very useful even in the corporate sector, as many business strategies and engineering techniques have variants or cousins that are similar in function, but may be more obscure. Having the ability to see that "people who searched for X ended up wanting to know about Y too" might save me a lot of time...

Re:Economics, Wisdom of Crowds, and Experts (1)

QuantumFTL (197300) | about 6 years ago | (#22859698)

Sorry to reply to my own post, but I forgot a point I had, namely that one main constraint on the use of paid humans to enhance search is that if this were on an ad-supported search engine, the ad click through rates would have to be pretty insanely high to be profitable. If it were a subscription service, well, they'd have to find a niche for this - maybe people who are bad at searching - and aggressively market towards it. Thi is why I'm not really holding my breath for engines like Cha Cha.

Re:Economics, Wisdom of Crowds, and Experts (1)

ncryptd (1172815) | about 6 years ago | (#22859958)

if they maintained a pool of trained searchers that could be called upon for difficult queries (paid at maybe a fourth the rate of salaried employees).
This is, BTW, the perfect job for all the stoner geeks out there. It's simple, requires minimal effort, yet it's (apparently) not something the average person can do.

Just one of the many interesting societal changes that the Internet may cause. It's not hard to imagine (in 10-20 years) "'net searcher" being an actual profession...

[/post-apocalyptic sci-fi geek rambling]

Re:Economics, Wisdom of Crowds, and Experts (1)

baggins2001 (697667) | about 6 years ago | (#22859996)

A lot of corporations have these. They are called librarians. No shit, they have a degree and everything in searching for documents.
I didn't always find them that helpful though. A lot of times they weren't able to pick out or find what I wanted, unless I told them exactly what journal and exactly what ,let's say chemical reaction, I was looking for.

Re:Economics, Wisdom of Crowds, and Experts (1)

QuantumFTL (197300) | about 6 years ago | (#22860186)

At my large defense contractor job, we do have librarians, and they are very helpful. However for ~3000 people, we have maybe two librarians. This is a far cry from a full-fledged staffed call center of maybe 1 for every fifty or hundred employees, which is what I had envisioned.

Also, the librarians do have good educations and are very intelligent people, however they are not subject matter experts. If I tell them I need, say, a set of wavelet basis functions that are orthonormal, efficient to compute, and maintai human perceptual accuracy under significant truncation when used for image encoding, I do not think they will be of much help for me. Someone who is a dedicated searcher, with a specialization in mathematics or computer graphics would far outstrip your average corporate librarian. Of course they probably aren't cheap either.

Re:Economics, Wisdom of Crowds, and Experts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22860004)

The main problem with this is that any search engine that shows you 10 results and then counts which ones you click, well, it's not getting your input on result #11, or 23, etc. So before anyone votes, items that happen to be near the top almost certainly stay at the top.
That's only the case if the algorithm naively counts each "vote" as being equal. While I'm sure there's plenty more complex ways an algorithm could be made better, a simple change to the algorithm you described would be to measure the percentage of page views that result in a click. So if you assume that the second page is only viewed ~5% of the time, an item that gets selected from the first page of results 10% of the time would start to fall below a result from the second page that was selected 50% of the time despite the fact that it's clicked 4 times as often.

Re:Economics, Wisdom of Crowds, and Experts (1)

QuantumFTL (197300) | about 6 years ago | (#22860106)

The main problem with this is that any search engine that shows you 10 results and then counts which ones you click, well, it's not getting your input on result #11, or 23, etc. So before anyone votes, items that happen to be near the top almost certainly stay at the top.

That's only the case if the algorithm naively counts each "vote" as being equal.
I'm sorry, I wasn't clear in my original post. What I meant to say was, whatever classification algorithm you use (voting, Bayesian inference, etc etc), items that are not on the front page will get much less peer review. This means that the classifier will have less information on them, and be less likely to promote them. Changes to the classification algorithm can only help this if they move enough "bad" links down to "float" the better ones to the top.

What my post proposed was a modified sampling algorithm, whereby the user is shown *mostly* results that are classified as being high quality, but also some percentage of results which have little or no "social" ranking information available. The idea is that this way diamonds in the rough have a chance to shine, at least some of the time. Sorry for not being clearer.

Re:Economics, Wisdom of Crowds, and Experts (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22860074)

...paid at maybe a fourth the rate of salaried employees...

Fsck that. Pay me my full rate or find it yourself... especially if your expecting me to find the info ASAP. At 1/4 rate you get it "next Thursday, after 10pm... if nothing on TV is good... maybe."

Re:Economics, Wisdom of Crowds, and Experts (1)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | about 6 years ago | (#22860082)

a pool of trained searchers that could be called upon for difficult queries (paid at maybe a fourth the rate of salaried employees). I know that I've had searches for work that took most of a day just to find that one formula I needed from 30 years worth of journal papers.
(emphasis added) That's the problem right there. The really difficult searches require very specific domain knowledge. I've also spent days searching for some specific bit of information. But I doubt that anyone else would have recognized the bit of information when they came across it, unless they also had the training and domain knowledge that I have. Also, searching is itself a learning process:
1. While searching, you pick up tangential tid-bits of knowledge that are related to what you're trying to find (even if not a perfect match).
2. While searching, you begin to gain an appreciation for how widespread vs. novel (or established vs. fringe) the data you're trying to find is.
3. While searching, you learn to modify your search criteria (e.g. based on 1 and 2), which helps you iteratively discover what you're looking for.

So these trained searchers would need to be highly trained in the subject area, in which case they wouldn't really tolerate being low-paid. Put otherwise: it would be just as expensive to pay you to search for yourself, rather than to outsource the search.

Okay, maybe I'm being a bit extreme. I certainly agree that there is a wide middle-ground of searches that are sufficiently complex that they are not on the Google top-10, but sufficiently simple that they can be explained to someone else. A trained searcher could, at least, scour the literature for things that seem to match what you want (and reject obviously bad data, spam, etc.). This would still require the search requester to check through the top results, but would save time if the trained searcher knew of many search tricks that others do not (e.g. reference librarians are often able to find data much faster than anyone else).

I guess I'm partially convinced. Trained searchers could be useful in some cases, but in other cases it's more useful for the intended user of the data to be part of the discovery process, since they will learn more and find the best answer faster.

Re:Economics, Wisdom of Crowds, and Experts (1)

nine-times (778537) | about 6 years ago | (#22860502)

if they maintained a pool of trained searchers that could be called upon for difficult queries (paid at maybe a fourth the rate of salaried employees).

That's not as unorthodox an idea as it might sound. Lots of professionals have always had assistants whose specific purpose was to research, proofread, fact-check, etc. Doing internet research is now just another skill for those types of assistants.

Wow! (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 6 years ago | (#22859492)

Just fscking wow.

Kudos to the guy who started the service, but the "insight" that a human can find and summarize relevant information better than a computer is hardly a surprise.

I mean, librarians and executive assistants and the like have been doing this kind of stuff for a very long time. Retrieval relevancy is a huge problem -- especially when you're talking about something as humungous as the internet. There's so much crap out there, it's likely always going require a human to do good executive summaries.

Cheers

Movie "Desk Set" predicted this long ago (1)

justsomecomputerguy (545196) | about 6 years ago | (#22859526)

Human-based KNOWLEDGE searches vs. automated INFORMATION searches.

Very fun, charming little movie, all about the perils of automation. Check it out, even if you have to use up your next Netflix delivery. Worth, if for nothing else than seeing Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn onscreen again. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0050307/ [imdb.com]

Lesser Of Two Evils (1)

ilovegeorgebush (923173) | about 6 years ago | (#22859592)

What's worse: human bias towards a particular resource (i.e. like cooking site X, but not site Y) or limitations in contextual based results from computer algorithms?

Back to Yahoo! model (1)

athloi (1075845) | about 6 years ago | (#22859598)

Yahoo: humans organize content.

Google: magical search algorithm organizes content, gets it right sometimes.

We're back to the Yahoo! model because people have figured out how to game the system, namely Google, without adding content that's important to the searcher.

I welcome this. Our computers can't yet come close to matching our brainpower.

It's not that hard to get rid of the crap (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | about 6 years ago | (#22860060)

We're back to the Yahoo! model because people have figured out how to game the system, namely Google, without adding content that's important to the searcher.

It's not hard to throw out most of the bottom-feeders. [sitetruth.com] We do it. The crowd at Search Engine Watch (which, despite the name, is all about advertising, not search quality) is writing me angry messages for doing that. Now that we've demonstrated that 36% of Google AdSense advertisers are bottom-feeders, they know they're being watched. Some feel they're being targeted.

Bear in mind that most search requests are really, really dumb. [google.com] That's what Google has to answer. In fact, most Google search requests don't hit the search engine at all; there's a cache of common queries and answers in all the front end machines, and a sizable fraction of requests are answered from cache.

Apparently it is that hard... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22861540)

It's not that hard to get rid of the crap (Score:5, Interesting):

...It's not hard to throw out most of the bottom-feeders. We do it.

Did a test query on your linked site (wrt54g) and you lost me when linksys took 15 seconds to get a ranking and when you couldn't tell if Wikipedia was commercial or not. You also didn't mention hacker-friendly sites associated with this device or the alternative OS's for it, abd Amazon (not linksys or the project sites) got top billing.

... sorry, but just sayin'.

Re:Apparently it is that hard... (1)

Animats (122034) | about 6 years ago | (#22862164)

Ah, instant gratification. The system rates on demand, then caches for 30 days. So the first user to query a new site has to wait. On the other hand, any new site can be rated immediately; there's no wait for a crawler to get to it. Linksys is now rated, and it now moves up in the rankings. And Wikipedia is listed as non-commercial; it's in ".org", there's no conflicting info from Open Directory, and it doesn't have ads.

Besides, the "alternate operating system" thing for the WRT45G never worked very well. If you were reading over the wireless link from a fast local server, the Linux software would consistently garble packets. It only worked if the air link never bottlenecked.

Lack of machine intuition is a feature, not a bug (2)

Tsar (536185) | about 6 years ago | (#22859654)

Unhelpful detritus often clutters search results, thanks to online publishers who have learned how to game the system.
Publishers who modify their web pages to fool an automated search engine generally do so in ways that are immediately obvious to us. As a result, we can generally parse our search results very quickly to get the information we require.

But what if the system being "gamed" is a human-based search engine? Since the publisher must fool humans anyway, the "unhelpful detritus" in the end users' results will blend in. Even if there are fewer false positives, those that remain will be harder to eliminate.

Interesting, it makes some sense (1)

curtisk (191737) | about 6 years ago | (#22859670)

There is a skill in quick filtering and searching for information online. Ask two people to find a fix/workaround to a software error in an Off the shelf product and they will take various paths to their respective solutions, if not the same solution. If the initial search doesn't turn up enough hits, you can immediately reason what is an alternative search string to use, replace "Error" with "Crash" or "Bug" or "bombs" or "Issue". You can refine based on the results on this pass.

Can that decision tree be coded? Sure can, but the physical labor cost to performance ratio is probably far better than the research/development cost to performance ratio in the near and middle far term. And with people you can greatly different methods as opposed to a designed "AI", being designed, it already has constraints in it's methods based on the design.

Some day....but I don't think "AI" is even remotely close to that level of sophistication.

And who will pick up the tab?? (1)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | about 6 years ago | (#22859716)

Yahoo had that same type of filter way back when.
Then Google came along and reinvented search algorythms.
And advertisers learned how to fool the search engines.
Now we want to put humans back into the equation.

But with the vast amount of data available today on the net, and the millions of search requests every second, who's going to pay an army of web crawlers to index search results??

There's no way in hell Google et al. will reach into their pockets to get this service going.

My guess?? It starts with Ad...

Webrings writ large (2, Interesting)

RyoShin (610051) | about 6 years ago | (#22859760)

Back in the heyday of free hosting services like Geocities and Fortunecity, small sites (mainly by and for fans) didn't rely a whole lot on search engines to drive traffic. Much more common and trusted were instead Webrings [wikipedia.org]. For those who never partook: a webring is a loose community of related websites. It was moderated by a handful of people, and each site would put a little Webring script at the bottom of their page(s). This allowed users to surf between related content without having to go to some external website. It built more trust between the websites.

While I have not RTFA (this is Slashdot, after all), the summary makes it sound like the combination of Webrings and "Top X" lists, both of which are used much less now and don't carry as much weight but still require user interaction on a grand scale.

I'd be interested to see how this kind of search engine turns out- however, you also have the problem of "majority think", so searching for, say, evolution might have a first result for a page "debunking" it. But then I browse at +4, so I shouldn't complain.

People? (1)

Shinu (1196897) | about 6 years ago | (#22859764)

There are places for that, like /. and everything else, but over time, it can still evolve and improve, I guess. However, I feel that the real problem is more of how shallow search algorithms are designed in the first place by any site that uses one in some form and not just search engines. (For me, at least:) It is rarely the case that I want my query searched in the same, consistent manner. The common search engine's advanced search is sort of on the right track, but the information of the internet would really feel a lot more at my fingertips if it, and search algorithms everywhere else, had a lot, lot, lot more depth. I would guess that search algorithms really can be improved and that this would be a much smaller issue of the internet than it is today.

Nothing new here; move along (1)

nil0lab (94268) | about 6 years ago | (#22859768)

Using humans to rank or select is not exactly old.

What distanced Google over purely statistical keyword search engines like Altavista was actually the use the human ranking implicit in the human-created URL links between pages[1]: the application of citation analysis[2] to the web.

Oooh, look, it's been invented again! Hooray! :-P

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PageRank [wikipedia.org]

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citation_analysis [wikipedia.org]

Either you pay the editors, or it's crap (3, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | about 6 years ago | (#22859788)

Wikia shows the problem with this approach. Coverage of Star [Wars|Trek|Gate|Craft] is extensive. Coverage of, say, bank regulation is nonexistent. If you want to find out how we got into the subprime mortgage mess or what to do about it, Wikia search is totally useless. That's what you get from volunteer editors. Wikipedia does better, but most of the good contributions were made years ago.

Today, you pay the editors, or you get fancruft.

It's amusing that the author of the article feels overwhelmed by The Economist. That's a very well written magazine with good reporters; they had the only reporter in Lhasa when the Chinese clamped down, and they have a good analysis this week of the issues surrounding derivatives. If this guy can't handle The Economist, his organization's answers will probably be dumbed down to the level of, say, "People". That level of crap one can get for free, from many existing sources.

Remember Google Answers? Nobody really cared, and Google shut it down.

There's a whole industry of expensive, small-circulation specialist newsletters, but those are niche operations run by specialists in narrow fields.

Re:Either you pay the editors, or it's crap (1)

Van Cutter Romney (973766) | about 6 years ago | (#22860488)

Not that I have a problem with the Economist - its a great magazine - but the reporter in Lhasa just happened to be lucky. He applied for a permit for Lhasa and happened to be there the day before the riots broke out. Just an fyi, that's all.

Re:Either you pay the editors, or it's crap (1)

LetterRip (30937) | about 6 years ago | (#22860984)

If you want to find out how we got into the subprime mortgage mess or what to do about it, Wikia search is totally useless.
Hmm the article at wikipedia on the topic looks to provide information on 'how we got into' it, why would you expect it to provide information about 'what to do about it'?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subprime_mortgage_crisis [wikipedia.org]

LetterRip

Re:Either you pay the editors, or it's crap (1)

OmanLegend (1066430) | about 6 years ago | (#22861136)

This is entirely why I founded mindbottling.com [mindbottling.com]. If you want good results from a supply chain (in this case knowledge) you need to align incentives, meaning you need to reward them for their contributions. Computers can't understand certain things about knowledge, but they can only parse what a person puts in. Humans have a huge base of tautologies from which they make decisions...

Re:Either you pay the editors, or it's crap (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 6 years ago | (#22861164)

Wikipedia does better, but most of the good contributions were made years ago.

And might I add that they are also being continuously undermined by hordes of editors that THINK they know what they are talking about, but in fact are introducing misinformation.

It seems like the large numbers of dedicated editors have disappeared, and the Wikipedia model is starting to break down. Mature articles get more vandalism and misinformation than good edits, but the wiki model is not geared to handle such things, and the such maintenance tasks just saps the time and energy of those knowledgeable few who remain.

Re:Either you pay the editors, or it's crap (1)

ribuck (943217) | about 6 years ago | (#22862182)

Remember Google Answers? Nobody really cared, and Google shut it down.
Sure, lots of people cared.

Several dozen former Google Answers Researchers started up Uclue [uclue.com], where we're carrying on in the Google Answers tradition of paid Q&A/research.

Group search works (1)

heroine (1220) | about 6 years ago | (#22859880)

The Goog algorithm works as long as you do the same search that everyone else is doing. Since large most people have the same interest at any moment, it works. God forbid people start thinking independantly.

People already know this (2, Informative)

dcobbler (553566) | about 6 years ago | (#22859966)

I run a virtual reference service for a provincial public library collaborative [bclibrary.ca]. Our stats are off the chart. We are running at triple the customer traffic that we had expected. So, essentially, lots of people already know that a person can find them stuff way better than an algorithm. There are two basic problems with this:
1. is that most people hate looking for things
2. is that most people are lousy at looking for stuff on the web.

Our solution, of course, is that we have institutions full of people what *do* like looking for things and *are* very good at it. THose people are called librarians.

Ciao, Dcobbler.

Dmoz.org anyone??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22860018)

Sounds a lot like Dmoz to me! http://www.dmoz.org/ [dmoz.org] The problem with such sites - the Internet is just too BIG!

Could be useful (1)

quantaman (517394) | about 6 years ago | (#22860118)

For about 5-10 years until the search algos get smart enough that they can beat a human.

Seriously how far off is that? We're not talking about the singularity though it would have to be pretty close to the turing test. Ask the search engine a question, not quite what you want? Ask to narrow it down, if you cleverly crossreference the results with the narrowing question it should be fairly feasible to do comparably as well as talking to a live person who knows how to search. I'm not sure I'd want to build, or invest in, a company built on the premise that they'll make up their investment before computers become better searchers than humans in a few years.

Typo there in the summary (1)

Fear the Clam (230933) | about 6 years ago | (#22860134)

The summary mistakenly wrote "Unhelpful detritus" when it should have had "sea anemones of the web who need a piece of reinforcing rod steel swung at their shins."

Hope this helps.

Congratulations! You've invented Slashdot! (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | about 6 years ago | (#22860168)

Skim the summaries, and occasionally there's something worth clicking through. It's not a new idea at all.

It also seems like a bad idea, if it's based on this premise:

Unhelpful detritus often clutters search results, thanks to online publishers who have learned how to game the system.

And it's much [slashdot.org] easier [wikipedia.org] to game human systems than algorithmic ones, I expect.

Applicable (2, Insightful)

omarius (52253) | about 6 years ago | (#22860210)

"Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?"
    --T.S. Eliot

Congratulations. You found me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22860228)

Unfortunately, I have no information to provide at this time.

Big Deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22860234)

The publishing world has been doing this for decades now...hiring people to track down obscure references, sources, photos, drawings, paintings, any kind of data.

I doubt most of these new "online" ventures will actually go out and hire qualified "searchers." My guess is that they will rather just pick up a bunch of freelancers looking for part time jobs and who probably know even less about the subject of what you are trying to search on than you do.

On a side note, what happens when the SEOers figure out a way to pay off the online search guides???

Wow, perhaps it's just me, but.... (2, Interesting)

zappepcs (820751) | about 6 years ago | (#22860260)

The critical human thought phrase has been struck down, though I think for many of the wrong reasons. A long time ago (car analogy incoming) people used to work on their own vehicles much more so than today. The onboard computer stopped a lot of that, and general complexity stopped more. With home computers and the Internet both problems exist and for many people (until this recession hits hard) it is cheaper to pay someone else to find stuff than to figure out how to find it themselves.

It's not really difficult, many of those sufferers know how to use a library, which is the real world equivalent of searching on the Internet. (not that the Internet is not real world) Most people were taught how to use a library in their school days and that usage has not changed much with time. The usage of Internet searching does change, and there are multiple ways of doing it. People who are not interested in learning new ways will always just say it is too difficult.

Using boolean modifiers or advanced search is always there, people just don't use it. They also don't fix their own lawnmowers or other things. They just replace them or pay someone else to do the 'hard' stuff. There is enough information on the Internet to allow anyone to learn to protect their home computer from infections and malware, yet it still is a problem.

The human problem of search engines will NOT go away, it can only be made to look less with smarter UIs. A tag cloud system of bookmarking could be used to refine search results but would not work in all cases. The URL history with timestamps might help, but not in all cases. Analysis of search results and those pages actually visited might help narrow the criteria to personal bias but not in all cases. That is why the operator has to be smart enough to know what they want and don't. The Internet does not come with your very own personal cruise director to make sure all goes well. People just believe that it is supposed to be easy because they want to do the cool things that they hear about on television and from their friends etc.

Perhaps one day the interface will be fast enough to be considered good when our brains can be plugged into the computer itself, something like The Matrix, reducing click delays and reading to milliseconds. Until then, teaching people how to use complex search strings will help reduce the angst and pain.

"cars +toyota -hummer 2005" aobut 2.98M hits
is better than
"cars 2005" about 19 million hits
but you have to teach people that those extra characters really REALLY do help.

If people don't know how to use a soldering gun, please don't give them one... or something like that. Oh yeah, car analogy: you apparently can't drive on the streets of the USA legally without a license, which you cannot obtain without demonstrating proficient control of the vehicle.

Re:Wow, perhaps it's just me, but.... (1)

OmanLegend (1066430) | about 6 years ago | (#22861224)

But that's insanity. Are we humans, or are we computers? Yes, it exists, but it's crap. Call it what it is. Is it a training problem, or is it a computer problem?

...click "OK" to continue... (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 6 years ago | (#22860318)

It's one thing to say humans are good at looking at what they are looking for themselves. It's another thing to try to build an industrial activity around the notion. Humans are NOT reliable and are prone to zoning out when they are performing repetitive tasks. This would indeed be a repetitive task. And in spite of all the warning dialogs people see, eventually, people stop reading them and click "yes" to everything just to get it out of their face. Given that this aspect of psychology is pretty well known and accepted, what makes them think it doesn't apply to filtering web content?

Or maybe just shoot those "keyword squatters"? (1)

Enleth (947766) | about 6 years ago | (#22860374)

Every time I search for a description of some IC chip, especially an old, rare or highly specialized one, there are THOUSANDS of fake chinese cover-up distribution companies' websites with autogenerated part indexes. No, those aren't parts they actually have. Those are all pages generated using a list of bazillion different chip names, some of them nonexistent and generated just in case such a version could exist in the future, to catch any attempt to search for actual information. No matter what you click, you get an "availability inquiry form" with the part name pre-filled and that's all. Maybe they think this will make someone buy from them, but they make finding anything close to impossible. Some even go as far as autogenerating "search" pages with different part names "submitted" (really a crapload of invisible HTTP GET links in footers of other pages), but of course no results or links to inquiry forms. Others link datasheets for EVERYTHING - to a ".pdf" file redirecting to a "Sorry, we don't have this" page with 200 OK status, or an empty PDF. There goes your chance to find datasheets for anything less popular than a MAX232.

I'm all for shooting them, running them over with an 18-wheeler and hanging from a tree as a warning.

One Problem Is... (1)

Black-Man (198831) | about 6 years ago | (#22860636)

You search for anything that is a product on google and you get pages upon pages of basically adverts. And adding "review" to a product hardly returns "real" reviews, just customer reviews from online stores. One must be very selective when searching for anything google makes a dime off of.

Yahoo! (3, Interesting)

GottliebPins (1113707) | about 6 years ago | (#22860888)

Wow, I remember back in the day when we only had one search engine and it was human powered with real links to real content. It was called Yahoo!

mod 3o3n (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22861372)

paper towels 880 MHZ MACHINE moronic, dilettante

Google's Image Search (1)

linuxg0d (913436) | about 6 years ago | (#22862228)

Hey all!

I personally think this is a great idea. Computers can only filter content to the best of an algorithm and frankly, standards are very poor on who codes what, how and how clean code is. Going human is definitely the way to go.

If anyone here has tried Google's Image Labeler you'd know what I mean. They pair you up with someone on the net, you tag images leaving out all the most popular links and when you both match one up, you get points and move on to the next one. This helps Google filter out results and add the most HUMANLY PERTINENT results. :) By pairing you up, they filter out the fact that someone is polluting the searches too, so it's really smart that way.

Give it a go: http://images.google.com/imagelabeler/ [google.com]

I really think this is a great way of getting more pertinence out of results and will benefit the overall greatness of our search engines. That, and Google has found a way to get the public to do what it's been hiring people to do for years already. Way to get people to work for free Google! :)
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