PlayerSearch Blog

by Ted Kasten, Founder of PlayerSearch

Facebook Rolls Out Microsoft Live Search

More information is available at: http://mashable.com/2008/10/07/facebook-live-search/

Many people have been wondering why Microsoft didn’t do this earlier after they inked the advertising deal with Facebook that included an equity stake.  At this point, the search results are no different than what you get outside of Facebook.  I am assuming this is version one and that MSFT and Facebook will track the searching habits of the users over the coming months and eventually begin building in social features to improve the relevance of search results to users based on what their friends are clicking on.  I am not entirely convinced this will dramatically improve search results, but it will be interesting to see someone try.

Another good post on this is here.  According to the math Mark Hendrickson lays out, MSFT needs every user on facebook to make ten searches a month to increase MSFT’s total search queries by 420 million queries or about 42% of the 1 billion queries already being performed on Live Search.  That is a significant figure.  It won’t happen over night, but improved placement will make it easier for people to use and improved search results will make people want to use it.  It is still so easy to go to Google for a search, so MSFT is smart to bring the search tool to the user.

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October 8, 2008 Posted by | Innovations in Search, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

PlayerSearch Spotlight on Yahoo BOSS

PlayerSearch is spotlighted in a recent Yahoo Search Blog post on “What’s Being Built with BOSS”.

After Yahoo released their latest open search initiatives under Yahoo BOSS, we quickly (and easily) changed the web search component of Player Search to leverage their open search APIs. They have a great tool set that was very easy to build on. Users will never know where we get our web search results as they are seemlessly integrated into our site…which is great for our branding and improves the user experience by minimizing clutter. We can also sell our own ads alongside the results which is critical for our business model.

I am a huge fan of the open search APIs that Yahoo and Microsft provide. I am hoping these innovations enable them to compete better with Google…if that happens, they will be highly incented to continue innovating and supporting other search start-ups such as PlayerSearch.

How we use Yahoo BOSS:

Yahoo BOSS powers our “Web Links” search results. For most player searches, these links end up being for the player’s page on WikiPedia and some other major sports sites such as NFL.com or ESPN as well as the player’s personal website if they have one. The links are great and definitely helpful, particularly for searches that we don’t know (“open search”). Searches for players that we do know (such as Brett Favre), we can add a lot more to the search results such as breaking player news from local and national sources, stats, performance charts, game highlights from NFL Network, clips from ESPN’s SportsCenter, press conferences, fan generated videos on YouTube, photos, fantasy stats and much more. We have existing sports focused products (www.draftanalyzer.com), so we are familiar with the sports market and will continue to build on top of Yahoo BOSS and other APIs to improve our sports focused search.

Additional Coverage:

TechCrunch writes “Yahoo’s Search Blog has posted a list of some of the most promising new web apps being built using its BOSS search platform.”

CNET writessome of the more interesting mashups are aiming to aid niche Web users. For sports lovers, the PlayerSearch sports search engine pulls in content from a host of sources”

SearchEngineWatch.com “There was one app that did just fine – PlayerSearch. This BOSS app is great for sports fans – especially Fantasy Sports fanatics. This site worked just fine. Have at it, sports junkies.”

KillerStartups.com writes Imagine a place where you could go to get the latest sporting news from the best resources on the web. You can stop imagining it, because Playersearch.com is here.”

August 7, 2008 Posted by | Innovations in Search | | Leave a comment

Surprise, surprise…Microsoft acquires another search start-up (Powerset)

As everyone knows, Microsoft has publicly stated many times that they are going to be aggressive in their pursuit of Google (with or without Yahoo). They recently announced they are buying Powerset, a “natural language” search engine that recently released its beta product. While the beta product only searched Wikipedia, and the results weren’t any better than Google’s search of Wikipedia, the UI was innovative and they are one step ahead on natural language search which is apparently worth close to $100 million to Microsoft.

After releasing their Beta product, Powerset was at a major decision point of whether to continue to fight the search battle alone or sell to one of the larger search engines. It would have required another $50-$100 million (on top of the $20mm they already raised) to start indexing the entire web themselves and to remain independent. It was certainly a great move to join Microsoft as they have huge incentive and deep pockets to invest heavily in what Powerset started in order to compete with Google. I hope we see Powerset features in live search very soon (they claim some features will roll-out by year end).

Michael Arrington of TechCrunch interviewed the Powerset Founders here.

July 2, 2008 Posted by | Acquisitions, Innovations in Search, Semantic Search | , | Leave a comment

More innovations in search…

Here is a good TechCrunch article on the latest updates to Wikia Search. Michael Arrington hammered Jimmy Wales on his first release of Wikia Search because it fell dramatically short of incredible hype that Jimmy Wales created for it. This new release still won’t threaten Google for general search, but some of the innovations around the UI and ability for users to add or edit the search results are very cool…well worth watching the video embeded in the post.

This search model is interesting as it really leverages the user base to maintain the quality of the search results (different from employed editors such as Mahalo and certainly different than Googles algorithms).  The user base turned Wikipedia into one of the largest sites on the web, so it will be interesting to see if this will work in search.  The challenge of managing the spam will be huge…

June 4, 2008 Posted by | Innovations in Search | , | Leave a comment