10/17/2010

Thoughts on Demographic Relevant Search

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The other day, researching for an illustration, I did a simple Google Image search for “Cute Bra” and got a mess of largely very erotic, often pornographic images. This, I think, illustrates the need for demographic based search, bringing more relevant information to searchers.

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In 2008, a story broke that RushmoreDrive (now defunct) was being developed as “a search engine for black people.” And, naturally, the internet was there to roll its collective eyes and post pictures of lolcats saying “your doing it wrong.”(sic)

However, this technology is a sound idea and very, very necessary. Google searches are all about relevance, and one search can’t be relevant to us all. Certainly, if I search for “svchost.exe” or “English Wikipedia,” I’m almost certainly going to be looking for nearly the same thing that everybody else is looking for.

But, I did a search for “Cute Bra” on my girlfriend’s pink iPhone and got very similar searches. Women should be able to search for “Cute Bras” and not have to look at pornography. The searches are probably not relevant to them.

The same way Rushmore Drive hoped to bring more relevant searches to black users, Google et. al. should put effort into bringing relevant searches to different demographics. The best illustration I of this was a basic search for “hair care” or “hair product.” Obviously a Black person and nearly every other ethnic group on earth would need a different hair care product, and would have to trudge through pages of hair care results irrelevant to them to find them.

Current search engines marginalize nearly everyone that isn’t searching for what Google thinks is the result people should be looking for. And it is far from perfect. Pages with high “pagerank” can knock more relevant sites off of the first SERPs in an instant.

Basically, I view this as an important step in the evolution of search engines. Whether we are months, years, or decades away from more user and demographic relevant searches, I don’t know. But for now, our blessed internet is full to the brim with pornography, competing for keywords women use to shop for underwear, and nobody wins. We sell less porn, less cute underwear, and users get surprised with orgasming sluts and penises.

1 comment:

Dan said...

Tits or get the fuck out!

Sociable

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