Silver in the Yahoo YQ Challenge
A few months ago, I blogged about the Y!Q contextual search challenge in which I was participating, and it turns out that I came in second place. The potential for contextual search is incredible, if you have used the Y!Q search on this site, then you know what I mean, and if you haven't you should try it.
Among other cool things about contextual search is that it is much less invasive than asking you about your personal preferences, or tracking your web or search usage. The magic bullet to making it work for everyone is penetration. The more sites to feature the contextual search fields the more successful it will be. Scripting the system was pretty easy, although I did discover that certain types of punctuation threw it off, and selecting different text from disparate parts of the articles yielded different results. It is interesting that the different winners seem to have taken different tacks to success. Particletree appeared to focus intently on design and usability, and did an excellent job on that, where my focus was primarily on relevance. The winner geekextreme seemed to focus equally on prominence and relevance. I think both of the other winners' sites are great, and i'll put them into my bookmarks for sure.
I hope that Y!Q reaches the critical mass it needs to become a raging success because it is a good technology. Thanks to Yahoo for putting the challenge on, and for focusing on developing cool stuff to keep us developers busy! Congrats on top jobs by the other winners, particletree.com, and geekextreme.com.