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Saturday, March 12 • 12:30pm - 1:30pm
Chicken or the Egg? What Search Activity Conveys

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When people have questions they turn to search engines for the answers. Search activity can tell some interesting trends – hottest new gadget, most popular travel destination, or whether it’s going to be a bad flu season. By digging deeper, this activity can be used in more compelling ways. For instance, it can be interpreted to foresee trends and develop news stories as billions of searches lend themselves to many narratives. Figuring out the “what-does-it-all-mean” goes beyond declaring the winner in an ever-changing popularity contest, or what’s on top of everyone’s mind day to day. What does the rise in apocalypse-related searches following natural disasters say about our modern society? Are the lookups following Tiger Woods’ story prurient, or are we repeating our ancient fascination with the morality tale? And can search activity project what the masses will decide, even before the masses know themselves? This session will discuss the predictive nature of search and whether search has the power to drive news. By analyzing what people are searching for, societal trends can be determined and some would go as far as to say that search trends can actually predict the future. Analyzing search trends helps us understand the impulses and processes of why people make their choices at that particular moment in time.

avatar for Brian Theodore

Brian Theodore

Director of Search ProductYahoo! IncProduct guy at Yahoo!, busy bottling up synthetic #TigerBlood. In my free time, work on social/real-time search products at Yahoo! Was the only guy in EE/CS school with a Mac (IICI with cache card)... spent time in Korean caves using refrigerator-sized... Read More →

Saturday March 12, 2011 12:30pm - 1:30pm CST
Hilton, Salon H

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