The Demographics of Web Search

adaviel sends a link to work out of Yahoo Research indicating that demographics can help Web searches; e.g. a women searching for "wagner" probably wants the 18th-century German composer, while for men in the US "wagner" is a paint sprayer. The Yahoo researchers claim that by taking user demographics into account, "they managed to get the chosen link to appear as the top-ranked result 7 per cent more often than in the standard Yahoo search." New Scientist mentions this research and two other innovative adjuncts to current search practice: following the mouse cursor as a proxy for eye tracking, and taking back bearings on online criminals by studying the searches they make. (The latter raises disburbing privacy questions: would you want Google trolling through your search data? How about governments?)

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