Microsoft's research's project Emporia brings people power to information

Image Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft has begun rolling out some of the technical elements of a new collaborative filtering technology called "Matchbox" to its Bing search engine. It hopes the move will bring a more "human perspective' to the stories and information people want to see on the web and thus improve results. The technology is based on a Microsoft Research project called project emporia which uses votes from users as to whether or not a news story (in the model that Microsoft is using to test the technology) and then display results on the basis of that to other users. There is also an element of basic AI behind the technology in addition to human feedback.

The first public test of this new technology has been project emporia's news filtering test where user essentially vote for content which they find useful; demonstrated in the above link. Microsoft's Ralf Herbrich has been keen to highlight the benefits of this new technology:

Rather than looking only at what others like you are interacting with on the web, the Matchbox technology begins to ‘understand’ the Web more like a human might. This enables us to make predictions about what you might want to see, not only based on if someone like you has done something with it but also on what the content says. 

The technology has exciting potential as when applied to web search, it has the ability to filter out junk results by taking into account factors such as the average bounceback rate from the link being clicked in the search engine to the search results.

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the bounceback rate idea is a good one.. so many times i found a promising sounding link in the search results, only to be taken to a useless page containing nothing but keywords

carmatic said,
the bounceback rate idea is a good one.. so many times i found a promising sounding link in the search results, only to be taken to a useless page containing nothing but keywords

Couldn't this be abused by companies using bots to "bounceback" competitors sites?

Using a purely automated system just seems open to abuse to me.

I just wish that one of those days - microsoft's efforts will pay off - they seem to put lot of effort in everything they pursue - but somehow lacking in direction - but in recent times it all seems to be paying off at last!

Mohitster said,
I just wish that one of those days - microsoft's efforts will pay off - they seem to put lot of effort in everything they pursue - but somehow lacking in direction - but in recent times it all seems to be paying off at last!

I guess thats what happens when you are no longer number 1... I hope they push back hard like they are.

Lachlan said,

I guess thats what happens when you are no longer number 1... I hope they push back hard like they are.

in b4 shtstorm.

Lachlan said,

I guess thats what happens when you are no longer number 1... I hope they push back hard like they are.


Microsoft is not #1 anymore where and since when? Its never been #1 in the search engines.

s3n4te said,
Isn't this like reddit or digg where you upvote or digg the stories you like and they show up on the front page?

I think the difference is that this one can start to make predictions after there has been enough human interaction... So it can start using AI to judge how good a story is.

http://www.projectemporia.com/#/topStories

Just tried it and they are really pushing the metro UI which I am happy to see..

s3n4te said,
Isn't this like reddit or digg where you upvote or digg the stories you like and they show up on the front page?

It seems like this site doesn't have comment support though, and it can be argued that a part at least as good as the stories on reddit, is the comments for them. The community. It's a site that has gone so big now, that there are often knowledgable people around that can inform better than the news articles. Especially if it's about tech or science.