Naver searches predict what you want to know

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Naver searches predict what you want to know

Naver, Korea’s top portal site and search engine operator, is employing a technology developed in-house that analyzes mobile users’ search keywords and predicts what they want to find.

The service launched Tuesday for Naver’s mobile service users doesn’t stop at simply coming up with search results, but actually produces the information that users are assumed to be curious about.

Mobile users tend to be more impatient in their queries compared to desktop PC users, and traffic is rapidly migrating from mobile to desktop.

“We will continue offering best-possible search results optimized within the small mobile screen,” said a spokesman with Naver.

Here’s how it works. Enter “London trip” in the Naver site on a smartphone, for instance.

The average temperature range in the city will be produced as well as famous tourist attractions and local restaurant recommendations, automatically derived from related Web documents.

For other destinations, the search will automatically provide vaccination recommendations and security information.

These kinds of results are made possible through the so-called Naver Contextual Knowledge Plus, a new algorithm that predicts users’ behavior by picking up cues from the immediate preceding search. Contextual search services, widely referred to as the next generation of search, are distinguished from ordinary searches, which are usually based on traditional information retrieval and return a list of documents based on their relevance to a query. Google is known as the leader and pioneer in contextual search, although it is struggling in Korea as Naver’s market share hovers above 80 percent.

Naver also began providing a link to weather and fortune-telling information on its mobile system between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m., when users frequently enter cues such as “map” and “bus routes” as they commute to work or school. Between 11 p.m. and 12 p.m., when most people are going to bed, a link to fortunes for the next day will show up.

In a separate move, the No. 1 portal is set to launch on Wednesday a closed beta test for its own photo-sharing social network service that resembles Instagram in that it also relies on hashtags.

Named Pholar, a portmanteau of the English words photo and popular, the new service began recruiting 5,000 beta testers for Android smartphones on Feb. 2 but over 10,000 applicants volunteered in the first day. The scheduled test launch date was Feb. 13 but was postponed to Feb. 25 as Naver had to adjust the test environment for the doubled number of testers. The service is scheduled to go public in April.

BY SEO JI-EUN [spring@joongang.co.kr]

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