NRI Papers
No.127 April 1 , 2008
  The Rise of Recommendation-Type Search Engines  
Osamu OSHIMA
   According to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the size of the Internet search market in Japan is expected to grow from ¥158.2 billion in 2006 to ¥549 billion in 2011. The search engine market will continue to lead the growth of the information technology (IT) service market in the future. This growth means that search engines constitute the basis of the Internet and that they are coming to play roles that are more significant.
   Previously, search engines have generally operated by displaying results that match an entered keyword. However, these search results do not always provide the exact information the user really wants. Future search engines are, therefore, required to provide the ability of accurately deducing the user's intention and guiding the user to the exact information desired, which can be described as "intellectual navigation."
   Search engines with a "recommendation" function have begun to appear. These search engines offer a higher level of ability by tracking the user's behaviors in the past and referring to feedback provided by the user to better understand his or her preferences.
   Nomura Research Institute (NRI) has developed an "association search engine" that automatically proposes a relationship between one topic and another. This search engine enables the user to discover and learn new knowledge by predicting the user's intentions and presenting relationships of which the user may not be aware.
   Recommendation search engines are also expected to evolve from the proposal of fragmentary information such as keywords and commodities toward the ability to feed "knowledge" to the user. While search technologies have actually been developing in this way, the establishment of the appropriate legal environment including an amendment of the Copyright Act is of urgent necessity in Japan to accommodate such new technologies.
Contents
I Expanding Search Market
II Changes in Search Technology Environment
III Intelligent Search Services
IV The "ASSOCIÉ" Association Search Engine
V Prospects of Recommendation Engines

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