When people have questions they turn to search engines for the answers. Search activity can tell some interesting trends – hottest new gadget, most popular travel destination, or whether it’s going to be a bad flu season. By digging deeper, this activity can be used in more compelling ways. For instance, it can be interpreted to foresee trends and develop news stories as billions of searches lend themselves to many narratives. Figuring out the “what-does-it-all-mean” goes beyond declaring the winner in an ever-changing popularity contest, or what’s on top of everyone’s mind day to day. What does the rise in apocalypse-related searches following natural disasters say about our modern society? Are the lookups following Tiger Woods’ story prurient, or are we repeating our ancient fascination with the morality tale? And can search activity project what the masses will decide, even before the masses know themselves? This session will discuss the predictive nature of search and whether search has the power to drive news. By analyzing what people are searching for, societal trends can be determined and some would go as far as to say that search trends can actually predict the future. Analyzing search trends helps us understand the impulses and processes of why people make their choices at that particular moment in time.
Product guy at Yahoo!, busy bottling up synthetic #TigerBlood. In my free time, work on social/real-time search products at Yahoo! Was the only guy in EE/CS school with a Mac (IICI with cache card)... spent time in Korean caves using refrigerator-sized SGI ONYX computers for warmth... and worked on Wall St for 6 years (software arms dealer, not banker).
A Yahoo! senior editor, Vera Chan dissects news events, Yahoo! search trends and other signals to uncover the why behind what’s hot on the Web. She oversees offline syndication, engages in editorial strategy, writes feature stories, and has been the editorial lead for the Yahoo! Year in Review since 2006. A former entertainment and features print reporter with 20 years media experience, Chan has interviewed Pulitzer Prize winners and sex experts, analyzed pop-fascinations with serial killers to vampires, and helped craft questions for the first online interview with a sitting president.
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