Nav: Home

IU informatics researchers throttle notion of search engine dominance

August 07, 2006

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Search engines are not biased toward popular Web sites, and may even be egalitarian in the way they direct traffic, say Indiana University School of Informatics researchers.

Their study, "Topical interests and the mitigation of search engine bias," in the Aug. 7-11 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, challenges the view of a Web-dominating "Googlearchy" in which search engines like Google push all Web traffic to established, mainstream Web sites.

"Empirical data do not support the idea of a vicious cycle amplifying the rich-get-richer dynamic of the Web," said Filippo Menczer, associate professor of informatics and computer science. "Our study demonstrates that popular sites receive on average far less traffic than predicted by the Googlearchy theory and that the playing field is more even."

Menczer was joined in the study by IU post-doctoral fellow Santo Fortunato; Alessandro Flammini, assistant professor of informatics; and Alessandro Vespignani, professor of informatics.

The IU team pooled their expertise in Web mining, networks and complex systems to collect empirical data from various search engines. In one scenario, users browsed the Web using only random links. In another, users visited only pages returned by the search engines. The researchers also studied the way in which search engines have influenced the Web's evolution.

"A simple ranking mechanism provides an elegant model to understand the genesis of a broad class of complex systems, including social and technological networks such as the Internet and the World Wide Web," Fortunato said. "These networks possess a peculiar 'long-tail'TM structure in which a few nodes attract a great majority of connections."

The long tail structure of the Web is commonly explained through rich-get-richer models that require knowledge of the prestige of each node in the network. However, those who create and link Web pages may not know the prestige values of target pages.

In another study, "Scale-Free Network Growth by Ranking," (May 27 Physical Review Letters), the Menczer, Fortunato, and Flammini showed that for a search engine to give rise to a long tail network, it must simply sort nodes according to any prestige measure, even if the exact values are unknown. If new nodes are linked to old ones according to their ranking order, a long tail emerges.

"By sorting results, search engines give us a simple mechanism to interpret how the Web grows and how traffic is distributed among Web sites," said Menczer.

The ranking model can help understand the dynamics of other complex networks besides the Web. For example, in a social system, one may be able to tell which of two people is richer without knowing their bank account balance. Such a criterion might explain the frequency and robustness of the complex structure observed in many real networks.
-end-
To arrange an interview with Filippo Menczer, please contact Joe Stuteville at (317) 946-9930, or at jstutevi@indiana.edu.

Indiana University

Related Search Engine Articles:

A turbo engine for tracing neurons
Putting a turbo engine into an old car gives it an entirely new life -- suddenly it can go further, faster.
Sensor warns when engine oil in CHP plant is no longer up to the job
Thanks to a new sensor system developed collaboratively by Professor Andreas Schütze and his research team at Saarland University and a group of industrial project partners, unnecessary oil changes could well be a thing of the past.
Four-stroke engine cycle produces hydrogen from methane and captures CO2
When is an internal combustion engine not an internal combustion engine?
ELFI: Engine for Likelihood-Free Inference facilitates more effective simulation
The Engine for Likelihood-Free Inference is open to everyone, and it can help significantly reduce the number of simulator runs.
Sandia forms Spray Combustion Consortium to improve engine design
Sandia National Laboratories has formed an industry-funded Spray Combustion Consortium to better understand fuel injection by developing modeling tools.
Researchers find brain's 'physics engine'
Whether or not they aced the subject in high school, human beings are physics masters when it comes to understanding and predicting how objects in the world will behave.
Ship engine emissions adversely affect macrophages
Ship emissions adversely affect the health of inhabitants of coastal regions.
Think a gasoline-direct injection engine is the green choice? Maybe not
New research out of the University of Toronto's Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering shows that gasoline direct-injection engines aren't necessarily the greener choice.
Researchers harness DNA as the engine of super-efficient nanomachine
Researchers at McMaster University have established a way to harness DNA as the engine of a microscopic 'machine' they can turn on to detect trace amounts of substances that range from viruses and bacteria to cocaine and metals.
Award-winning academic research search engine metaBUS launches in June
A trailblazing online search engine that will save researchers years of time while conducting meta-analysis will be unveiled next week at the University of Calgary.

Related Search Engine Reading:

Information Retrieval: Implementing and Evaluating Search Engines (The MIT Press)
by Stefan Büttcher (Author), Charles L. A. Clarke (Author), Gordon V. Cormack (Author)

SEO 2019: Learn search engine optimization with smart internet marketing strategies
by Unknown

3 Months to No.1: The "No-Nonsense" SEO Playbook for Getting Your Website Found on Google
by Will Coombe (Author)

Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism
by Safiya Umoja Noble (Author)

SEO Fitness Workbook: The Seven Steps to Search Engine Optimization (2019 Edition)
by Jason McDonald (Author), Jason McDonald Ph.D. (Author)

The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine Optimization
by Eric Enge (Author), Stephan Spencer (Author), Jessie Stricchiola (Author)

Search Engine Optimization All-in-One For Dummies
by Bruce Clay (Author)

How to Setup Your Browser as the FASTEST GOOGLE CHROME on the Planet:: Eliminate Chrome Crashing by Cranking Up Your Browser Power

SEO For Dummies
by Peter Kent (Author)

Search Engine Society (Digital Media and Society)
by Alexander Halavais (Author)

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Approaching With Kindness
We often forget to say the words "thank you." But can those two words change how you — and those around you — look at the world? This hour, TED speakers on the power of gratitude and appreciation. Guests include author AJ Jacobs, author and former baseball player Mike Robbins, Dr. Laura Trice, Professor of Management Christine Porath, and former Danish politician Özlem Cekic.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#509 Anisogamy: The Beginning of Male and Female
This week we discuss how the sperm and egg came to be, and how a difference of reproductive interest has led to sexual conflict in bed bugs. We'll be speaking with Dr. Geoff Parker, an evolutionary biologist credited with developing a theory to explain the evolution of two sexes, about anisogamy, sexual reproduction through the fusion of two different gametes: the egg and the sperm. Then we'll speak with Dr. Roberto Pereira, research scientist in urban entomology at the University of Florida, about traumatic insemination in bed bugs.