CIL2006, Day 1: Opening Remarks and Keynote by Chris Sherman

First, for Tom Hogan’s opening remarks:

  • 2380-ish attendees this year!
  • 150 speakers and moderators… wow.
  • 60 exhibitors


Keynote: Search Engine Update, Chris Sherman

Starting to see true differentiation and divergence among the major search engines:


  • Jeeves retired. first-class search engine, as good as or better than the others
  • They also have Gary Price
  • Many new tools. Web Answers – a natural laguage search that actually works.
  • great map tool – better than google and yahoo. Even gives driving/walking directions, depending on what you want to do


  • Google is: advertising company, microsoft killer, ISP, Banker, etc, etc, etc…
  • Not just focused on search anymore
  • Suggest, Q&A, Desktop, Video, etc – lots of options


  • still spending money to develop a search engine and a search advertising network
  • You need version 3.0 with all microsoft products… so wait awhile
  • Clustering (sorta like Northern Light used to do)
  • Birdseye and street level imagery – nice satellite imagery


  • Pace seems to have slowed at Yahoo
  • turning into a “people mediated” search – with tagging and personalization
  • Yahoo Mindset – a version of the search engine that has a slider that can be dragged towards shopping or research to personalize search results

Google and Books

  • Google is probably legal
  • Publishers VCR myopia factor – it will probably be better for publishers in the long run – it will help sell more books
  • Publisher will control how much content is displayed – they alwo authorize Google to scan the books
  • You can’t copy or print the text…
  • They plan to link to Worldcat pretty soon
  • Browse full text of public domain materials
  • He thinks they are scanning books so Google can learn and improve search technology…
  • lots of lawsuits

Google’s DoJ Request

  • asked for 1 million random web addresses and records of all Google searches for one week. Other search engines complied! Yikes
  • Google refused because of privacy concerns – good for them.
  • 50k random URLs & 5k queries will be ultimately provided
  • many problems and absurdities with thte request in the first place:
  • won’t show what people are searching for…
  • random URLS don’t show searches, relevance, algorhythms, etc
  • also doesn’t factor in automatic queries

China and search:

  • US is bashing search engines over China censorship
  • But the search engiens are simply obeying the law
  • The Chinese people prefer the censorship to not having search engines at all
  • only a relatively few topics are censored
  • savvy chinese web users know they can reach virtually any web site using a proxy


  • search is getting exciting again
  • new tools are making content more searchable
  • threats to privacy and individual liberties are subtly increasing in the US, while ironically things seem sto be improving in China