MSN may use Desktop Files to Personalize Search

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Thread Title:
TechFest brings Microsoft's researchers and projects together
Thread Description:

Seattlepi reports on an MS research event that showcased a system to use your desktop files to personalize MSN Search rather than use a user submitted profile, cookies etc:

Projects on display during a Microsoft Research event yesterday included a method for personalizing Web search results based on the contents of the files on an individual user's computer hard drive.

The project reflects a broader push in the industry to improve the relevance of Web search results by tailoring them to the person doing the searching. But other programs, including Google's personalized search engine, have approached the challenge by having users create profiles to define their preferences.

The prototype developed by the Microsoft researchers comes up with those personal preferences automatically by consulting the index generated by MSN Desktop Search, an existing tool for finding files on a hard drive.

Interesting stuff, bit creepy though eh?

Findory's Greg Linden said:

Building a profile implicitly is nice, but it's not clear to me that my desktop files are a good predictor for personalized web search. Are the files on your desktop correlated with what web search results you find most interesting? I'm not sure they are. A better predictor might be previous searches or the web pages you've viewed, not whatever data you have stored in Word and Excel files.

Though he did say it was a great idea, and it is a neat concept...

Comments

I agree

My desktop would be a poor indication of what I would search for simply because I have MSN desktop search also index all my network drives and my home machine is shared. Just like Amazon can not predict what I want to buy because of all my gift purchases ("ok so up till now you have bought; bob the builder dvd, westlife cd, shaun of the dead DVD, blink paperback, petrol driven chainsaw and marilyn manson cd ... customers like you ..^H ERROR ERROR ERROR")

Totally Off Topic

I once went through the scanners to airside at Gatwick behind a woman carrying a very old very rusty petrol driven chainsaw wrapped in rags as hand luggage. Unsurprisingly she attracted a fair bit of attention.

back on topic; my desktop is very not relevant to things I want to find when I search. I dump things I need to have handy temporarily on it. If I was actually interested in the stuff I'd put it somewhere else :)

My desktop.....

has the following on it (besides my nifty winter elk wallpaper): My Computer (otherwise known as Access); Recycle Bin (otherwise known as Area 51); and Show Desktop.

That's it. Not much fodder for a search engine.

My Desktop

My desktop is just that.... mine. Not Microsofts or Suns or Yahoo's or anyone else's. Microsoft has been trying to come in the back door for so many years, I'm not sure if the lock even works anymore (for all I know, with all the virus hackers out there, I might have a screen door). I've got an even better idea for old Bill. How about giving us a search engine that we can setup. Silly idea, but I always felt I knew what I wanted to search for better than anyone else.

Not desktop - it's hard drive

vkaryl, it's the index built by their Desktop Search product, so it's the contents of your hard drive, not the files on your desktop :)

Heh -

well, it's not unusual that I'd be confused, Claus! Thanks for the info....

I'm not into letting anyone have a look at my drives though. Besides, the search function in windows works just fine for me *shrug* Not sure how searching drives will work when I move to linux, but I AM sure that a search engine isn't going to be it.

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