Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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Idea: Tags as a Way to Add Context to a Search

Today I was reading a Seattle Times article about search and I ran across this quote:

See how long it takes to find the top five university marine-biology programs, or the store with the cheapest tires in Seattle. You searched for java, but did you mean coffee, the island or the programming language?

Nothing revolutionary, but it got me thinking. What if you added tags to search to add that kind of context that’s missing? Say you search for “Java,” then when you get your results on the right side of the page are tabs with the most popular tags for the pages you returned (minus the most popular, which would most likely be your search term). Say the top tag is “programming,” followed by “language” and then “coffee” (I just totally made that up). Now, if you click one of those tabs you can filter the results to only see those pages with the term “java” and the tag “coffee.” That means the results should be a lot more accurate.

I’m sure someone has come up with this, but when I thought of it this morning I felt pretty smart. Thoughts?

May 3, 2005