Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Un-Personalize Yahoo With Its New Editorial Algorithm Visualization

Some people get upset about online personalization limiting our access to different perspectives and biasing certain providers’ content.

I say: Bring on the personalization, as long as we can have some control over our settings and can see what else is out there that we’re missing.

To that end, Yahoo has built a visualization of its “CORE” content optimization and relevance engine technology, which helps power story selection on its home page and other verticals.

CORE calculates a personalized mix of stories for Yahoo Today users 13 million times per day. It has increased Yahoo’s home page click-through rate by 300 percent since being implemented in 2008.

Yahoo brags that CORE is a stunning example of “deep science and great engineering,” but the visualization itself is fairly simple. Visitors to the CORE site can see what content is shown to people of different genders, ages and major American cities. They can also scan through the past 24 hours.

Plus, there’s a real-time counter of the number of views of Yahoo’s home page on a particular day — which continues, of course, to be a whole freaking lot.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work