Search vs. Recommendations

In an interesting blog entry by Seth Godin, he states:

“The fact is that search engines are very good at fairly simple searches, and very good at finding information about single products, services, people and ideas. But they’re terrible at connections, at rankings, at horizontal results… They can’t help me find six products that are viable alternatives to something that was just discontinued.”

These are precisely the problems we are trying to address at Youlicit. Our primary focus is drawing connections between horizontal results, or to put it more plainly providing “recommendations” on topics, through user provided data.

While Google and Yahoo! are “search” engines, Youlicit is a “recommendation” engine.

What’s the difference between search and recommendations you ask? Search is when you precisely know what you are looking for, whereas recommendations are when you aren’t entirely sure and would like some guidance on where to go and what to see. A great example is visiting your local department store. Search is the equivalent of going to the store and saying, “I’m looking for a navy blue dress shirt with thin vertical stripes.” Recommendations are when you walk to the mens department, pick up a blue shirt and say, “Can you show me more like this?”

As applied to web content, when you can accurately guess the keywords that are likely to occur on the pages you’re looking for, use search. But when you’re not quite sure how to describe what you’re looking, but you know it’s related to what you’re currently looking at, that’s when you Youlicit More recommmendations!

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One Response to Search vs. Recommendations

  1. Rishi says:

    Nice post. I’ve never heard this explained so clearly. Thanks!

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