Monday, July 02, 2007

Page Chunking, Like Chunky Milk, Is Bad

Search results suck past the first page. Google might have a billion results for some search, but it won't give them all to you in the result page. You are probably only interested in the first five or so results. To be nice, you get a whole ten results on the page. If you want more, you need to go to page after page of ten results at a time, possibly millions of pages worth to get every single result. Obviously, you won't do that, and for two reasons:
  1. You don't care about all ten of the results on the first page, much less the thousands or millions of other result pages.
  2. Refining your search is far easier than going through one page at a time.
Having or bringing the information you want to the top of the listing is better than looking for it further down in the listing. That being the case, our solutions should center around making it easier to bring information up from the mountain of results, instead of finding ways to bury you inside of it.

Some interesting headway has been made with the universal search features launched by Google. You can shift your search focus to their different specialized searches. Ask.com has some of the most interesting result filtering, with their Narrow and Expand search suggestions. Rather than paging through results or manually trying to alter your criteria, they will split the results into logical segments, and point you to what your current results might be a segment of.

Another interesting filter tool could be result voting. I imagine a small - link on each result, which when clicked will remove the result, along with any very similar results in the entire set, and will reorder the remaining ones based on how similar they are to something you have deemed completely irrelevent. This would be a great way to filter similar termed, but logically different concepts. There are rumors that Google is testing such a feature, but I have not seen proof of this yet.

What other ways can we dig through the mountains we are mining?


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1 comment:

Steve Spalding said...

As for the voting thing, Swicki has a very similar sorting method. I suggest giving it a look if you haven't already.

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