The Search Engine of the future...Human?!

The New York Times has this article on what search companies are doing in order to make their products more user friendly. They are using humans in order to fill a void that the engines have difficulty with. Hmmm, we now know where some of the Librarians have gone.\"To cope, many search engines have concluded that simply indexing more pages is not the answer. Instead, they have decided to rely on the one resource that was once considered a cop-out: human judgment. Search engines have become more like cyborgs, part human, part machine.\"

\"For information scientists who have spent decades refining computer-based search techniques, that is bad news. Introducing the human touch into search engines also means introducing human biases. What the scientists want is a form of artificial intelligence.\"

\"But just as robots are not yet cleaning houses, search engines still have far to go before they start reading people\'s minds. Current computer code is not sophisticated enough to do the job alone, most search-engine founders say.\"

\"Nearly everyone is doing a little of both these days,\" said Bill Bliss, general manager of MSN Search.\"

\"The most popular Web-based search services employ people to do at least some of that mind reading. Rankings from Nielsen/ NetRatings, an Internet research firm, show that Yahoo, a directory created by its employees, is the most popular search service, with nearly 40 million visitors in May.\"

\"The latest figures from the Internet measurement company Media Metrix also put Yahoo first, with about 63 million visitors.\"

\"Both Google and Northern Light rely on computers and software to scan and index the Web, but human judgment is part of the mix. At Google, Web pages that are linked from authoritative Web sites are deemed most relevant. At Northern Light, librarians constantly fine-tune their directory structure and come up with names of categories used for sorting Web sites.\"

\"Some of what scientists consider the possible pitfalls of human interference were on display at a recent meeting at Northern Light\'s headquarters in Cambridge, Mass.\"

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