Tuesday July 24, 2007 11:42
Naver Integrated Search
Even though Google, web search giant conquers all search world, there is exceptional country. In Korea, Naver became David against Goliath. What’s different Naver from Google and How’s different Korea from others?
Naver explained their unique characteristics of its search engine and service evolved by Korean user’s requirement over time. It’s different style with Google and foreign search engine.
They called it as ‘Multiple or Integrated Search‘ that shows results by information collections such as own-made databases and web documents together whereas global search engines are based on only web documents.
Of course, other search engine have tried how to give good results by collections such as Yahoo! Alpha, Ask X, Microsoft Imagine Live, even Google’s own Searchmash.
Retuning to Naver, it started a method of Integrated Search in 7 years ago. In 1999, the number of web sites written in korean was under 50,000. It’s very different environment compared with English web sites.
There were search engines but weren’t web sites to be indexed. So Naver decided to avoid crawling based search results and utilize own-made databases cooperated with contents providers with fee such as music, movie, news and book.
Naver calls each one as a collection. If an user query artist name, it shows a result of each collection from artist database as like All Music Guide, music news, blog articles and web results. Each collections were shown in equal divisions with 3 to 4 items in the search result page.
Naver has various collections to find proper results per each search keyword. A number of them may over 30 such as Q&A(Knowledge In), forums (aka Cafe), blogs, image, news, dictionary, video, music, book and shopping etc.
Multiple Ranking Model
Generally search results depend on search modeling and ranking method calculated by mathematical and experienced formula. Google has own page ranking model referring to linking in web page. But, Naver has many collections and their complicated ranking model.
Firstly Naver has the collection ranking model that change the exposure sequence of collections by user’s action per each keyword. It was decided where users who input a same keyword found information in as like clicking a link and page back actions.
For example, if you query for “Summer Time”, because users tend to find the definition and background of “Summer Time”, collections of dictionary and Q&A ranks high. In case of “Britney Spears”, collections of music, shopping and news does high in search results.
Also each collection has own ranking model itself, for instance, the latest is important weight in news collection as well matching and frequency in news sources. In Q&A collection, the credibility of answerers is the ranking factor rather than others. So each collection assigns priority and show items in order by an individual ranking model.
As well it avoids duplicated results by controlling between collection ranking model. It results that an user can find proper items not to be overlapped in each collection. If the similar ranking model is applied in each collection, there will be duplicated results in them.
It is possible that over 16 million users visit Naver’s search and queries 100 millions in every day – i.e. 1,172 query per second in July, 2007. So Naver can find Korean’s general trends why they input that keyword. It means they offer perfect results for Korean. In the other hands, it reflects that Korean has rare diversity and unique habits in life patterns.
I think it’s a result of broadband effect too. People watch popular TV drama and news in everyday and read newspaper and are interested in entertainment gossips. It means Internet is not tools for finding information, but life tools to talk with others in broadband environment. Nowadays many Koreans watch TV program and often query search keyword such as actor’s name, program issues from TV program at the same time.
Basically I think it will be same in abroad environment even though Google’s ranking model is now popular rather than Naver’s. Also most of foreign competitors want to resemble Naver’s success. It depends how many broadband users utilizes search services as life tools.