A while back I was blogging about the Personalisation Era and it looks as though Google has sat up and taken notice, in fact they’ve decided to take their search results to the next level by introducing a degree of randomness akin to what we experience in our everyday life, they’re thinking of this as the serendipity factor.
Serendipity and Personalisation in Search Results
We’ve been in the personalisation era now for a few years, it’s slowly been creaping into everything we do on the internet and it’s probably a good thing, it helps us find the right things, meet the people we want to meet and generally use the internet in the way we want to use it, it also means that Google and other big advertisers can target ads specifically based on the things we are interested in.
The biggest disadvantage of the personalisation era is the potential for barreling to occur, that is, that you only see the things that you are interested in and you don’t get exposed other things that you might be potentially interested in, in the way you would in ordinary everyday life.
Serendipity, therefore represents a way that the big search engines, and other players that heavily rely on personalisation (such as Facebook and Twitter) will be able to introduce happy accidents into the mix – let’s be honest, it’s till going to be based on your personalised results – they’ll just use their considerable data to introduce outlyers to the mix, that way you’ll feel like you’re not being pigeon0-holed, or barrelled into a certain point of view, group of people etc.
Personalisation is still the future – Serendipity is just a new factor that plays in this same sphere, you’ll be thankful for it although I have a feeling it will just exist to let the big players test out the content they’re pushing to you and the data they’re collecting about your personalised behaviours.
Are we talking about Serendipity in search again?
I’m not the first to talk about this – Michael Gray for example has been barking on about this for a good year and a half and with Google’s use of the word serendipity (although in a slightly different context) for local, mobile search, I think it’s getting to the point where they are going to be seriously looking at introducing it. I wonder if Facebook will do the same – or indeed who will get there first.
Put it this way if they’ve got a big hitter such as Marissa Mayer to start sorting out the serendipity factors in local search for mobile within the next year or two it’s not a big leap to see this kind of technology being moved over to the everyday mainstraem Google search results.