updated 03:50 pm EDT, Fri April 20, 2012
User following engine patent application surfaces
A patent application from Microsoft for customizing a search engine's results has been made public by the US Patent and Trademark Office. The application from 2010 appears to describe a "user-following engine" which monitors the user and people they follow on social networks, altering the experience and results based on user interests, characteristics and mood.
By checking Facebook, Twitter, and other social network updates, the engine aims to understand a user's preferences, aspirations, current interests, future plans and emotional state. It may also take into account people the user follows and blogs they recently read in order to suggest better search results.
One of the listed examples include emotional state monitoring by looking for word usage in status updates linked towards a specific mood, and then presenting a search background to match. The user's comprehension level could be measured by the system from the collected data and then tailor the results to make it more understandable for the reader. Younger users may get results that are simpler to read, while a college professor may have their results skewed towards more technical language when a search concerns their area of expertise.
Although the technology could make a hefty addition to Bing, there's no guarantee that Microsoft will put such an idea into production. [via Geek Wire]