Sunday, October 08, 2006

Here's an idea for the next evolution of search engines.


Concept: A search engine that serves up content based on your personality type... based on your noodle (had to find something to rhyme with google).

I was reading a book on Carl Jung when I came up with this one. Jung's typing of personalities into four primary modes of experiencing the world: two rational functions (thinking and feeling), and two perceptive functions (sensation and intuition) is the foundation from which Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers developed their Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) during WW II. The types the MBTI sorts for, known as dichotomies, are extroversion/introversion, sensing/intuition, thinking/feeling and judging/perceiving. Participants are given one of 16 four-letter acronyms, such as ESTJ or INFP, indicating what their preferences are. I have not heard this for certain, but it's my best guess that this is why there are 16 people on Survivor. I'm not sure they're still sticking with this approach, however I think the first Survivor may have been comprised of one of each type.

The point of MBTI and other personality typing instruments is that there are distinct personality traits that influence how people interact, think and approach life. It follows logic and experience to say that not everyone goes about solving problems the same way. Why not build a search engine that serves up results based on how your personality type thinks? An ESTJ (Extrovert, Sensor, Thinker Judger) and an INFP (Introvert, iNtuitive, Feeler and Perceiver) will, no doubt, go about solving a problem different ways.

So how would it work? If you know which one of the 16 types you are, all you'd have to do is to click your type and start searching. If you didn't know your type you could take a brief type survey and then have at it. Of course there might need to be a little bit of time spent building some kind of algorithm to actually be able to do this, and it would have to learn how the types search to be able to serve up relevant results. I'll leave it to a team at Yahoo! or Google or someplace else to figure out those details.

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