July 30, 2009

Page Hunt: Microsoft tries to get Human Computation Service for Free!

Microsoft is trying all that it can to make Bing popular. The latest from its arsenal is Page Hunt. Some say it is a 'clever' twist on 'human computation', meaning to say it is a twist on Google and their Quality Raters. It seems that Google employs people to rate the Search Results it generates and now Microsoft and their Raman Chandrashekhar have come up with Page Hunt [Is the name another twist on Google's Page Rank?] to help Bing rate Search Results.

For starters, Page Hunt is a game! I don't know if you can call it a game or getting your work done by someone else free of cost!

Microsoft says:
This Game is like search in reverse: you are shown a web page which you have to hunt down using queries sent to Live Search.
 Now, the idea is very simple. When you go to the Page Hunt page, you are shown a web page. All that you got to do is type the keyword you will use to reach the page shown to you and hit Bing! If you use one of the most popular keywords used by Bing Users to reach the page in question, you get points. If you don't, you don't get points. Which ever way Microsoft gets what it wants! It will know what key word you will use to reach the page in question.

I tried the Game and let me tell you it was quiet boring. To me it looked more like work than play. Now, helping Microsoft fine tune their Search Engine is serious work. I think they should consider paying people for doing that. After all none of their products are given for free to users and even if they give it free of cost, they do so because they have a competitor. I am sure if Google were ran by Microsoft, we would be paying to use it. Now that Google is there, Microsoft offers Bing for free. And everyone knows that is done with a hope of capturing the on-line advertisement market. The better the search results on Bing, Microsoft hopes that more people will start using it and that means more income from 'sponsored links.' Since Bing is about Revenue Generation, it is not fair that Microsoft seeks to fine tune their search results for free. They should be paying the Page Hunt Users like Google pays its Quality Raters.

Off the Topic 1: As I was reading Microsoft's write-up on Page Hunt on Raman's page, I found Page Hunt connected to Live Search and not Bing. [On Page Hunt Page I see Bing and not Live Search] Is Microsoft still confused if it is Live Search or Bing they go for?

Off the Topic 2: I am just wondering, is not 'Human Computation' equal to fooling people? All the while I was thinking Google Search is completely automated and I was always amazed at this. And now that I know it is human beings who are weeding out bad results, Google's Search Technology does not sound great any more? On the contrary, please read what signor john wrote in reply to a stub that doubted Google's Search Technology:

GoogleGuy (when he used to hang out here) once explained that quality evaluators are used for benchmarking purposes. In other words, the 10,000 evaluators aren't there to weed out sites per se; their job is to help train Google's "black box" by identifying examples of sites that need weeding.
As for why Google would have to keep creating new filters at this stage of the game, I'd say it's because:
1) Search technology doesn't stand still.
2) SEO doesn't stand still, either. 


  1. Very interesting post...!

    I never knew that Google hires people to rate websites...anyway!

    Microsoft has always been aggressive in technique to improvments...PageHung is another gimmick


  2. @ Anmol
    Thanks for the comment. It seems that Google used to keep the whole thing so secretive.:)

    Page Hunt is more than a gimmick. It is Microsoft's Arrogance :)


What do you think of what
I wrote?