Unconference & BoF at Web 2.0 Expo

“The Social Side of Search”, a Micro-Unconference initiated by FAROO, took place on April, 25 in the Oracle Booth at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco.

The day before we presented FAROO at the Birds of a Feather (BoF) Session “People Powered Search”:

People powered search:

Social Networks are very successful, there are social networks for near everything, Only in search you are still on your own? Searching together is natural: Asking friends, family, Experts …

  • Why we haven’t social search yet (on large scale)? Chicken-egg problem, Many users required to be useful, First your plain search must be competitive , than you can add features -> costs!
  • What could be the benefits? Personalization, benefit from search experience of your community …
  • What could be the risks? Spammers, Edit wars, Privacy, locked in community -> alternate opinions get filtered out

Examples of how searching together could benefit – a lot of different flavours:

  • Providing Infrastructure (using P2P technology)
  • Directing the crawler (websites which often appear in results are crawled more frequently/deeper)
  • User generated Ranking (using attention data)
  • Annotating results
  • Editing results
  • Creating results
  • Bringing users with similar search interests together ( FAROO Social Search )
  • Collaborative Searching: Partitioning search among users
  • Personalization using your Social Graph
  • Many more …

Collaboration not only between users, but also between social search projects:

Todays social networks have one problem: walled gardens ( possible workaround: open social, friendfeed api ). Would it be possible to define a standard/protocol to have all social search initiatives to work together from begin?

  • Can the user take its profile with him?
  • Can the user take its attention data/query stream with him?
  • Are the privacy settings standardized?
  • Can the different search projects exchange index and usage data and use them together, to join their forces? Intense discussion on this topic at Alternative Search Engines Day, a conference hosted by Charles Knight


Of course also beyond the unconference the Web 2.0 Expo was a great place to meet interesting people and look what others are heading for.

San Francisco day …

… and night

Alternative Search Engines Day

The first “Alternative Search Engines Day” took place on April, 21  at the Intercontinental Hotel in San Francisco. The conference was hosted by Charles Knight of AltSearchEngines the day before the Web 2.0 Expo.

We were glad to be invited as it was really amazing to see and discuss the diversity of approaches, all dedicated to one common goal – to challenge the current limits of search.

Opening panel, photo by Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten
Opening panel, photo by Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten

 Opening panel, photo by Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten
Charles Knight, Richard MacManus, Nitin Karandikar

Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten from the NEXT web reported live from the event, also covering FAROO.

For a complete coverage of the conference please take also a look at these blog posts: Alternative Search Engines Day – Call For Alts to Band Together , Alternative Search Engines Day, Rock on, Alts! , Alt Search Engine Day Part 1 and Part 2.

Echo in the blogosphere

For a p2p model it is essentially to share a common vision with your users. Therefore it’s always interesting to see how your ideas are discussed and perceived.

A very encouraging and profound example is the ReadWriteWeb blog post “Could P2P Search Change the Game?” by Bernard Lunn.

Additionally here is a short roundup of selected previous blog posts: