Friday, January 5, 2007

Looking beyond general search engines--Dont Search and filter but Search on filtered results

I dont know how many people's first web stop is google for information they want... but I think its a massive proportion of the web users. Remembering url's is almost passe now. Just type it into to google and off we go. But the problem with the contemporary search engines is that we have to wade to lot of search results to exactly reach our point, I mean the information we wanted. But in the age of web 2.0 which is all about collaboration, there is a better way of getting the most relevant results. The answer is social bookmarking sites.
Wikipedia defines social bookmarking as Social bookmarking is a web based service to share Internet bookmarks. In this system, while surfing the net if a person comes across a highly interesting or useful topic he can submit the link to the bookmarking site with a tag or a set of tags. Other users can search this links with the set of tags users have submitted and directly going through the whole cycle of searching, reviewing and deciding its usability. In this way he can use his time better and also discover obscure but relevant posts. In this way the site can become more accessible. The next advantage is that it automatically ranks the links on the basis of the number of people submitted this link. If more people like the matter in that link more people will submit it and hence it will become more popular and its rank goes up. Thus the next advantage is that most relevant links will always come at the top and also that the relevance is measured by a human and not a machine and hence it will be more useful to the end user.
It has some disadvantages also.
It is still in infancy as people still have to know about this and submit the link to these type of sites for other people to browse.
The tags with which the pages are labelled are not standard and the user may use his own tags for a link which has been tagged with other label by other person. Hence search may not always produce the right results.
Some people may use this to manipulate the popularity of their site by submitting their url many times to such sites thereby increasing the ranking of the site, even if it doesn't contain the best information on the labelled topic.
But on the whole it is a alternative to the contemporary search engines where the ranking is decided by a non-humans. If this technology matures and good checks are in place to filter out manipulations for traffic then I think it can be more useful and may even race with contemporary search engines.!
Famous social book marking sites are delicious and digg. I have placed links for them after the post. If you find this article useful and informative you can submit it to respective sites.
I have also added the feed options on the site. You can subscribe it via a reader or directly subscribe via e-mail.

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