Measuring Personalization of Web Search: Aniko Hannak, College of Computer & Information Science at Northeastern University

11:00 am on Friday, November 22, 2013
12:00 pm on Friday, November 22, 2013
MCS 148
Aniko will be talking about her recent paper in WWW'13 [1] on measuring personalization in Web search. Time permitting, she will also show a few slides on some research currently going on in her lab. Abstract: Web search is an integral part of our daily lives. Recently, there has been a trend of personalization in Web search, where different users receive different results for the same search query. The increasing personalization is leading to concerns about Filter Bubble effects, where certain users are simply unable to access information that the search engines’ algorithm decides is irrelevant. Despite these concerns, there has been little quantification of the extent of personalization in Web search today, or the user attributes that cause it. In light of this situation, we make three contributions. First, we develop a methodology for measuring personalization in Web search results. Second, we apply our methodology to 200 users on Google Web Search and find that, on average, 11.7% of results show differences due to personalization. Third, we investigate the causes of personalization on Google Web Search. Surprisingly, we only find measurable personalization as a result of searching with a logged in account and the IP address of the searching user. Our results are a first step towards understanding the extent and effects of personalization on Web search engines today. [1] Aniko Hannak, Piotr Sapieżyński, Arash Molavi Kakhki, Balachander Krishnamurthy, David Lazer, Alan Mislove, and Christo Wilson, "Measuring Personalization of Web Search" in Proceedings of the 22nd International World Wide Web Conference (WWW'13), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 2013. Bio: Aniko Hannak received her B.S. in mathematics and sociology from Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest. Currently she is a Ph.D. candidate in the College of Computer & Information Science at Northeastern University. Her advisers are Alan Mislove and David Lazer. Her research interests include measurements on online social networks and the Web as well as investigating the impact of personalization in various Web services.