Information Access Seminar

What Do People Do When They Use Search Engines?

Friday, September 15, 2006
3:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Daniel Russell, Google

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.

Daniel M. Russell is a senior research scientist at Google in the area of search quality and user experience. Most recently, Dan was a senior scientist and senior manager at the IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose, California. He is best known for his work on IBM's Blueboard system (a large groupware display system) and for establishing the basis of sensemaking theory while at Xerox PARC with Card, Pirolli and Stefik. In addition to IBM and PARC, Dan has also worked in Apple's Advanced Technology Group, and taught at both Stanford and Santa Clara Universities. He enjoys word play, music, and long distance running, becoming disgruntled when all three can't be in one day.

Last updated:

March 26, 2015