Danny Sullivan wrote an article about putting humans back into search results. He mentioned how search engines are already using human behaviors in ranking, but I want specifically talk about the latest four places Google uses human factors, and introduce the next place I feel they will do so (gadgets in results).
As a reference, Google provides an explanation of their search results that describes and names the different aspects of their search results. (image on left).
On this document, Google identifies 18 characters of their search results page and labels them by the letters A-R.
Let’s look at the human influenced factors that currently exist….
Top contextual navigation links
These dynamic links suggest content types that are most relevant to your search term. You can click any of these links in order to see more results of a particular content type.
These navigational links are a result of Google examining search behavior of their users. (This feature was created via human factors)
Google’s search technology searches across all types of content and ranks the results that are most relevant to your search. Your results may be from multiple content types, including images, news, books, maps and videos.
These “integrated results” are also human influenced via search behavior, and even though on Google’s explanation page this is represented as image results, if you look at other help documentation, these “integrated results” are several other things including gadgets, like the weather gadget you will see if you search for Honolulu weather…
you will see a movie gadget if you search for a popular movie as well.
Plus Box results
Clicking the “plus box” icon reveals additional info about your search result. You’ll see this feature for pages related to publicly traded U.S. stocks, local businesses, and Google and YouTube videos.
These results are directly human created results this far, particularly when we speak of local business information. This occurs due to human feedback about the difficulty of finding actual local businesses.
Related search terms
Sometimes the best search terms for what you’re looking for are related to the ones you actually entered. Click these related search terms to see alternate search results.
”Related search terms” started off as “search refinements” (created by actual people) from the Google custom search engine results.
Okay that is the round up of current human created or influenced factors, whats next?
Hmmm. Whenever I think of Matt Cutts, I always think of giant teddy bears and whacking through forests, but before you think that is weird you should know about Michel.
Bjork is more than a swan dress.
You see, one time I was getting high in Macedonia (really) and I was in a forest and everyone was talking in French, it all seemed funny to me and I was eating tiramisu out of a bowl with a giant wooden spoon, someone said they knew Bjork, and then another person asked me something in French that I didn’t understand and I didn’t want to admit that I didn’t understand because at that time in my life, I was 21 and and people who spoke French pissed me off.
Zey talked lik dis, and girls lik dem and they sooked and I zidn’t lik them. So instead of saying I didn’t understand, I told them to be quiet because the moon was telling me what to do about the giant teddy bears.
So I was getting high in a Macedonian forest eating tiramisu with a giant wooden spoon, and I told a group of french speakers that I was listening to the moon so that I would know what to do about the giant teddy bears and one of them knew Bjork.
There is definitely, definitely, definitely no logic in human behavior.
I may be paranoid, but less than a year later this video came out and it was directed by a guy with the same name as the person I was getting high with…
Coincidence? My girlfriend told me about this video but I didn’t see it till years later and in any case when I think of Matt Cutts challenge, I think of giant teddy bears and whacking through a forest trying to fight human behavior (spam).
Oh and here is a screen shot of a “subscribed link” being highlighted as though it was an ad (instead of in the forth position which is where the documentation specifically states it shows these things)…
This is probably the next human behavior influenced thing that Google will display.
Google seems to start including stuff from humans quicker.