I have accumulated quite a pile of search related ideas over the years, most of which are not new algorithms but just new approaches to searching. Since I am going to be exposed to some NDA protected activities at Microsoft next week and there might be some overlap between their mindset and mine, I thought I should spill some out now just in case. As to why I am helping Microsoft out and not Google: Microsoft asked, Google didn't.
First of these are Search Hats. A 'search hat' is just a metaphor for the 'why' behind searches. When we search for information online, we are searching for a reason. Grouping those reasons by roles, perspectives, or interests, most people should end up with a handful of large clusters.
If each cluster is a hat a person wears when doing a search, a group of people with similar roles, perspectives, or interests should have similar sets of hats. Search hats affect the presentation of search results such that items related to the roles, perspectives, or interests appear more prominently.
For example, if I search for 'Eclipse' while wearing the 'Software Developer' hat, I should get Eclipse IDE related links before links related to the astrophysical phenenomon. If even I was interested in the later, results I get back should be different depending on whether I am wearing a Physicist's hat or a Photographer's hat.
Information on which links are relevant to which hats can be culled by keeping track of which hats searchers are wearing when they do the searches. Same information can be used to recommend hats a searcher might be interested in wearing. Hats can also be shared amonger searchers explicitly.
Like Dr. Seuss's magic hats, there are hats within hats so seachers can browse for the right hat that suits them by diving into hats or grabbing one of the hats returned as part of each search result. Over time, a user's hat collection will be refined and adjusted to meet the user's search needs.
The nice things about Search Hats for search service providers is that a) search results will be more accurate and contain less noise, b) hat collections are great for targeted ads, and c) users will find it difficult to abadon their hat collection.
Oops. I am out of time so I'll have to cover the 'Skydiving' idea later. Now where did I put my hat?