July 8, 2008 SDF Social Search

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On Tuesday July 8, 2008 SDF hosted Social Search “Will Community Wisdom Take Search and Discovery to the Next Level?” Safa Rashtchy, Piper Jaffrey’s Managing Director for Global Internet Media moderated a panel with Jason Calcanis of Mahalo, Ari Steinberg of Facebook, Nick Sullivan of Wikia and Bret Taylor of Friendfeed. Text from DJCline.com

Safa Rashtchy best known for his expertise on search, Web 2.0, and for his prescient investor analysis on the search space as Piper Jaffrey’s Managing Director for Global Internet Media. What is social search and discovery? Why and how does it enhance the average user experience? Will Google remain the elephant in the room? Are users changing from hunters and gathers to serendipitous discoverers? Text from DJCline.com
Jason Calcanis knows how to manage large distributed workforces. He thinks humans can create more usable search results. An algorithm can find the sushi restaurant near you but a human curator can tell you if the sushi is any good. Useful search results will require hiring thousands of people assessing results. Sixty full time editors supervise people working from home. They are paid fifteen dollars an hour producing a thousand pages a week. The good news is that facts will be checked increasing the amount of trust in the results. It will take four more years and fifty million dollars to scale properly.

Ari Steinberg works on new development at Facebook. What are your friends doing? You can search a Facebook profile and inbox messages. They want to apply social networking tools to search applications. Social groups add meaning to user content. The goal is not to reach a billion people but a few friends at a time.

Nick Sullivan of Wikia, a company based on community sites. Fans of the TV show Lost or the video game Halo can supply detailed information from meaningful search results to other users. Users can add local movie show times, which is relevant to members of the group. The big problem is spam. The solution is human supervisors removing junk.

Bret Taylor co-founded Friendfeed that was revealed at last year’s All Things D. Friends discover a wide range of subject on the web and then share what they have discovered providing a broad query with narrow results. Socially relevant search results add to the experience of belonging to the group. Users are consuming all sorts of content and will use a social group to sort through all of it.

We are at a crossroads in search. Algorithms have limits and humans know what other humans want. Better content draws better traffic. If you add value and build trust, people will find you and pay for the experience. Text from DJCline.com

Here are some pictures from the event.

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Copyright 2008 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

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