Saturday, December 31, 2011

Context based search

Many people say privacy is dead, but in my opinion, users should have full control over their data. This post is about my forward thinking of how the search system should be designed so that users will get assistance based on their need. Designing such systems should also handle privacy issues. In other words search systems are becoming social, collaborative, context aware. Hence users should have full control of their data by using privacy management control panels where they could adjust the settings of data that they share with others (search service providers, other advertising companies, friends, co-workers etc) in search systems.

In my previous post, I have mentioned about context/planning phase of the search. Context aware search system should understand user context. A user’s context can be quite rich, consisting of attributes such as physical location, physiological state (such as body temperature and heart rate), emotional state (such as angry, calm etc), the collection of nearby people, hosts, and accessible devices, lighting, noise level, network connectivity, communication device, communication bandwidth, and even the social situation; e.g., whether you are with your manager or with a co-worker, personal history(such as search queries), daily behavioural patterns (such as watching movies on Sunday evening), and so on. Given such context would make the system assisting users proactively, anticipating users’ needs. In making these decisions, the search system would typically not disturb the user at inopportune moments except in an emergency. Similarly this assistant would filter, abstract, and visualize information to aid the user’s decision making.

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