Microsoft’s Game-Powered Search Engine
Someone dropped me this patent and I instantly loved it because it describes a completely different solution to the problem of IR and does so in a very entertaining way…well obviously. The patent was filed in 2005 and published on the 13th of January 2009. The authors are all brilliant and renowned computer scientists from slightly varied fields.
The idea is that:
The user types in a query
The game participants receive this query
Responses are collected from the game participants – these can be anything from images, text, audio etc…
The game rewards participants with the most suitable responses
The suitability is calculated by analyzing the degree of agreement between the responses. Agreement depends on the level of similarity.
You could think “who on earth is going to bother playing that game?“. Probably the same kind of people who answer questions in forums, on Google answers or such places I imagine. The advantage of the game system is that a machine actually checks all responses and filters them first so you’re more likely to get a correct answer.
You know, the more I think about it, the less I find it quirky and funny and the more I think it could work. It’s a bit like super-users (people who are experts at using search engines) helping out less savvy users.
It would have to be really well marketed and introduced because there have been some human edited engines before like ChaCha that haven’t won the majority over. It would also need to be really swanky looking with a top level of usability. Then it would need to actually give the people answering a motivation for doing so. What do you get, points? For what?