The idea of personalization isn’t new; it’s a concept that’s been around for years and has been attracting much attention recently. Personalized search is a promising way to improve the accuracy of web search; however, it often raises serious user concerns.
One of the major deficiencies is that the search is temporal. As such, critics point out that, just because people search for something doesn’t mean that they are genuinely interested in it. That said, the question is: How long will it take before the search engine stops displaying results based on something we user’s were only temporarily interested in. With no clear answer, this is one of the first obstacles that must be overcome for this search to work.
As the scope of the Internet gets larger, personalization becomes the logical next step for search. Personalized search provides marketers with new ways to both identify searchers and target user behavior. Combined with the multiple advertising channels offered by search engines, a marketer’s dream has come to life.
The monetization opportunities are tremendous. AOL has capitalized by showing only relevant ads based on recent queries. MSN allows marketers to increase / decrease bids according to whether or not the searcher fits a certain criteria. Google offers iGoogle, where searchers create a “profile” for themselves based on what they’re interested in. Major engines are now capable of tracking user behavior, and each have applied it in a different way. Imagine what would happen if all of this was combined! You’d have an engine that knows your profile (because you’ve defined it), knows what you’re interested in (based on historical data), and is able to target you accordingly. The possibilities are endless…