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Is this Kaltix?

Awhile back, Google acquired Kaltix. Now Google Labs has launched Google Personalized Search, which adjusts your search results based on a profile that you fill out. Each profile consists of a bunch of categories/subcategories that you indicate that you're interested in (there's even a checkbox for birding).

The actual search is the cool part (it also makes me pretty sure this is Kaltix). When you do the search there is a slider bar that lets you select how personalized the search is. It starts off at "min," but as you slide it, the results instantly change to reflect your profile. I tested this with "armstrong." The top search result was "Armstrong Floor, Ceilings." When I started moving the slider, Lance Armstrong and Neil Armstrong moved to the top of the search results (I had checked "cycling" and "astronomy"). I was disappointed to see Satchmo drop from the results, so I went back and clicked "jazz" and Louis Armstrong stayed in the top search results.

The one question I have with this approach, though, is whether or not a high-level, explicitly declared profile is actually going to get the search results people want. I think one of the canonical examples for personalized search is searching for "Java." There's plenty of checkboxes for computing-related interests, but I don't see any for "Indonesia" or "Coffee" that might help out people who don't want results related to the Java programming language. At the same time, if there were checkboxes for topics as specific as "coffee," it might make filling a profile out a bit overwhelming. Perhaps, instead, there needs to be a ternary state to the high-level checkboxes: not specified, interested, NOT interested.

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» yes, kaltix from heerforceone
kwc notes that Google labs has launched a new personalized search feature and asks if it is the result of Google's acquisition of Kaltix. Indeed, it looks eerily familiar to a very cool demo I saw not long ago. While... [Read More]

Comments (2)

Yep, that's it alright... glad to see it's out in the light of the day. The profile is a bit cumbersome, but I really like the fact that there is no requirement that you start an account - you can just click some categories and get going, no name, e-mail, etc required.

I know that Outride (also acquired by Google) used a personalization system based on user's collected web bookmarks... but I think for now Google is (wisely) steering clear of the privacy/trust issues involved with that.

kwc:

I'm not sure what the right balance is to get "personalization." Perhaps for users of the Google toolbar they could do more without infringing on the privacy boundaries that users want respected (and perhaps they could offer a version of the toolbar for Mozilla/Firefox users).

One disadvantage to the no-account approach that they are using is that my profile is attached to the browser that I'm using. I can't retrieve it from another computer, and if the cookie gets deleted, all my work in building my profile disappears.

Here is my cookie, looks pretty simple. Sad I can't carry it around with me:
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This page contains a single entry from kwc blog posted on March 29, 2004 10:22 AM.

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