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This is the February 18 2010 edition of Who's Blogging What, a newsletter that closely monitors 1,100 top web marketing blogs for online professionals involved in social media, search marketing, email, user experience and web analytics. Subscribers are updated with highlights and useful new links every Thursday. If you would like to be kept up to date you may enter your email address in the box at the right.

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Humans Inside!

Google's human touch

Google, built upon the principle of the almighty algorithm, put some people in the loop last Friday when it acquired Aardvark, a human powered social search engine. Aardvark users typically wait approximately ten minutes while it finds someone to answer their question. Aardvark has a small user base but highly respected technology as described in the founder's research paper Anatomy of a Large Scale Social Search Engine. EBrandz had a good rundown of how it actually works in practice.

Right now it is difficult to find a person who knows what Google's plan will be with Aardvark. John Batelle suggested that Google's best option would be full integration so that most search queries would have an 'ask a human' option. Search Engine Journal suggested a plan that might be easier to scale - Google could store, index and recycle the human answers to be included in search results. Google's social search tool set is becoming complicated and curious. Chelsi Nakano did a good job in CMS Newsire of explaining how Aardvark will differ from the existing Google Social Search announced last November.

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