Terry Winograd runs an excellent seminar focused on HCI (at Stanford). I just saw from the mailing list announcement that this Friday (March 10th), the speaker is from Google. Dan Russell who used to be at IBM, is now a research scientist focused on the area of “search quality and user experience” at Google. He will talk about divining searcher intention. In recent months, Yahoo has made a series of high profile hirings of HCI researchers (Marc Davis comes to mind). I had not realized Google was making similar hirings. (I might be wrong here – please correct me if I am).
Here is the abstract for the talk:
” Web search engines have a huge interest in understanding what our users are trying to do. To a certain degree, this means discerning the intent of a search in the queries and patterns of behavior. In this talk I’ll say a little bit about what we do to understand what our users have in mind, giving examples of queries, user sessions. To make this tangible, I’ll discuss some of the techniques we use to analyze the data and outline the size and scope of the problem. In particular, I’ll focus on the problem of combining data in the small (field studies, usability studies) with data in the large (log data analysis of millions of interactions), illustrating how we can improve our understanding of users by combining the best insights from both ends of the spectrum.”
More information here.